Tag: Luton Town

The Twohundredpercent Play-Off Jamboree: Luton Town 0-0 AFC Wimbledon (3-4 Pens)

So it all comes down to ninety minutes. There can, at least, be little debate that this year’s Blue Square Premier play-off final is being played between the two best teams left in the competition, following Crawley Town’s testosterone-fuelled championship win but, as we pan across the banks of empty seats at Eastlands this afternoon, it is difficult not to reflect upon the wisdom of the decision to host the showpiece of this league here – although we are talking here about ticket prices and specifically not about the decision to play the match in Manchester – and wonder what a spectacle the match might have been had it been played in London. The decision was made, however, and we are where we are. It’s also worth pointing out that, while the crowd of 19,000 is clearly a disappointment for this match, it’s worth remembering the fact that even describing it thus is a remarkable comment upon the strength in depth of English football. This, let us not forget, is a match in the fifth division of English football. Both clubs are here this afternoon seeking to take steps towards wronging a right and, while the story of what happened to Wimbledon FC is a well-trodden path, it occasionally feels as if what happened to Luton Town has not received the attention that it deserves. To be clear, the...

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From The Video Archive: Luton Town vs Wimbledon, 1988

AFC Wimbledon play Luton Town in the Blue Square Premier play-off final in Manchester this afternoon and, setting aside concerns about the ticketing arrangements for a moment, there is a definite sense of headiness in the air this morning as supporters of the two clubs head north for the match. For both clubs, there is an obvious sense of injustice that they find themselves in this particular division in the first place. We all know what happened to Wimbledon FC, of course, and that Luton Town were essentially relegated as the result of a punitive point deduction awarded on the basis of the actions of people that had already left the club at the time of the award means that a flame also burns within their supporters, as well. If we rewind the clock by twenty-three years, though, we can see that Wimbledon and Luton Town have been here before. During the 1987/88 season the two clubs had mid-table teams in the First Division and they played each other in the semi-final of the FA Cup that year at White Hart Lane. Wimbledon had beaten West Bromwich Albion, Mansfield Town, Newcastle United and Watford to get there, while Luton Town had beaten Hartlepool United, Southampton, Queens Park Rangers and Portsmouth to get that far. In the other semi-final, Liverpool were playing Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough. We are thrilled –...

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The Twohundredpercent Play-Off Jamboree: Luton Town 2-1 Wrexham (5-1 Agg)

This match was supposed to be a foregone conclusion. Indeed, the final aggregate score perpetuates that feeling. Truth, however, can be stranger than fiction and the supporters of Wrexham FC can be justifiably proud of the performance of their team at Kenilworth Road this evening. In the first leg of this Blue Square Premier play-off, Luton Town put in a display of consumate professionalism at The Racecourse Ground as the home side froze on their big night. This evening, though, a match that should, with all reason, have been little more than a procession for the home side, turned, for half an hour or so into a nervy encounter which threatened to go terribly, horribly wrong for Luton. Unsurprisingly, there was something of a carnival atmosphere around Kenilworth Road tonight. A three goal advantage from the first leg was surely too much to throw away, wasn’t it? The Wrexham manager Dean Saunders – who has already performed outstandingly against a backdrop of unrest which has often spilled over into outright civil war at his club this season – evidently though not, and the visitors began aggressively and positively. After eight minutes, the comeback seemed on course when Adrian Cieslewicz crossed from the right and Andy Mangan poked the ball over the line. The Luton players seemed visibly shaken by this early set-back and Wrexham, with nothing to lose, continued...

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Play-Off Prices And The Nature Of Value

Value is a relative concept, and it is all the more so in the case of sporting events. In recent times, for example, the standard fall-back position for those that defend the increasingly extortionate prices that many football clubs now charge for season tickets has been the size of the waiting list for season tickets at their club. What happens, however, in the case of a match for which the exact numbers that will turn up is, broadly speaking, unknown? What is the cut-off point at which the casual supporter thinks to themselves that they cannot justify this expense to themselves? We may well find out the answer to this in a couple of weeks’ time, after the announcement of the prices for the final of the Blue Square Premier play-offs. The match is due to be played at The City of Manchester Stadium on the twenty-first of May. It would be something of a surprise, to say the least, if it isn’t played between AFC Wimbledon and Luton Town, considering that these two clubs won their away legs in the semi-finals by two and three goals respectively. This would achieve the significant end of season double-whammy of having thousands of supporters from the south-east of England in Manchester for a play-off final whilst thousands of others, from Manchester City and Stoke City, head in the opposite direction for...

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The Twohundredpercent Play-Off Jamboree: Wrexham 0-3 Luton Town

The landscape of the lower divisions has, perhaps, changed more than we have noticed over the last couple of decades. Twenty years ago, Luton Town were in the First Division and had been there for some time, while Wrexham were finishing at the bottom of Division Four. Both teams were, arguably, a little lucky. Luton finished third from bottom in the table but stayed up because only two clubs were relegated that season, while Wrexham were saved because there was no relegation from the Football League because of the expansion of the league. Luton fell from the First Division as the Premier League was being sworn in. Wrexham surivived – and very occasionally prospered – before tumbling into the Blue Square Premier in 2008. Fast forward to the current day, and the two clubs finished the Blue Square Premier season just three points apart. Both fell from the Football League during the last decade, both in no small part due to financial mismanagement. Their supporters are part of a generation that spend their lives in a form of football purgatory. The Blue Square Premier is speckled with such clubs – former Football League clubs that may, to a lesser or greater extent, harbour a sense of grievance at their comparatively reduced current circumstances. If we look at the fixture list in the BSP every week throughout the season, there...

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