Tag: Luton Town

FA Cup Match Of The Midweek 2: Luton Town 1-3 Charlton Athletic

Luton Town, it’s probably fair to say, go into this evening’s FA Cup Second Round match against Charlton Athletic with a point to prove. It’s not so long ago that the likes of Charlton were the meat and bread of Luton, but the last couple of years have been harsh on the club, a points deduction that was in itself enough to secure relegation into non-league football for the first time since 1920. Their first season in the Blue Square Premier ended in a play-off defeat at the hands of York City amid ugly scenes at Kenilworth Road last season and this season sees them in third place in the table, two points from the leaders, Wimbledon, but with no guarantees of a return to the Football League at the end of this season. If this evening’s match proves anything, it proves that the blurring of the lines between the lower reaches of the Football League and the top of the Blue Square Premier is real, rather than imagined. Charlton Athletic have also suffered a fall from grace of sorts, from the Premier League to League One, but they are also in the midst of a promotion battle to start something approaching a return to happier days. They, however, may look upon this match with a degree of trepidation. They lost at Northwich Victoria in the First Round last...

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Match Of The Week: Luton Town 4-0 St Albans City

It was in March 1983 that I first went to Kenilworth Road. Parents of the children junior school that I had starting attending had recently knitted what they believed to be the world’s longest ever football scarf and we were invited to show it off on the pitch before Luton’s First Division match against West Bromwich Albion, which then featured on Anglia Television’s “Match Of The Week” (from which this weekly article takes its name) that evening. Somehow, I managed to cope with the ensuing celebrity. A lot has changed in the intervening twenty-seven years. Luton are a non-league club now and this brings with it a different set of pressures to those that David Pleat was under during the early 1980s. Every single dropped point layers another heap of pressure upon their manager, Richard Money, and there will no respite from this for Money until the club is back in the Football League. St Albans City sit a division below Luton Town, but these are two clubs that inhabit different universes. While Luton are playing for a place back in the top ninety-two, the Saints are struggling to keep their place in the Blue Square South this season, a job made that may be made that much more difficult if they are docked points by the FA after a recent investigation into financial irregularities. With just one win...

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League Two And The Blue Square Premier: The Blurring Of The Lines

In 1979, when the Alliance Premier League was founded between clubs from the Northern Premier League and the Southern Football League, there was a fairly clear line in the stand. There was no automatic promotion and relegation between it and what was then known as Division Four. Clubs in the bottom four of the Football League stood for re-election against the most ambitious of the non-league clubs, but very few actually went up or down. The Football League remained a closed shop until the 1987 when, faced with decimated league attendances, the APL rebranded itself as the GM Vauxhall Conference, the Football League introduced automatic promotion and relegation, and the lines of demarcation between “league” and “non-league” have been slowly blurring more and more ever since. In the early days of this automatic promotion and relegation, with the GMVC still largely made up of part-time clubs, those that suffered the indignity of relegation from the Football League didn’t, on the whole, find life too tough. The first team relegated, Lincoln City, won their way back at the first attempt, and Darlington and Colchester United had similar success. Since the early 1990s, however, as more and more Conference clubs have turned professional, relegated clubs began to find it more and more difficult to get promoted back and this is a situation that hasn’t improved a great deal in recent years,...

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End Of Season Crowd Trouble Blues – Part One

What to make, then, of the events at Kenilworth Road this afternoon? On the one hand, there are plenty of plenty of supporters of other clubs in the Blue Square Premier that seem to hold the viewpoint that serious crowd trouble at a Luton match has been something that has been waiting to happen for some considerable time. However, although finding more precise documentary evidence for this is obviously difficult, the links between the extreme end of the club’s support and various unsavoury political organisations has been noted elsewhere on plenty of occasions and talk of minor disturbances at Luton matches this season has not been uncommon. Was it a major surprise that there should be significant crowd trouble after a Luton home defeat in a play-off match? The unfortunate answer to this is no, probably not. Still, however, even if there were hundreds of people involved in scenes that cannot be condoned in any way whatsoever (and the predictable claims and counterclaims about what happened this afternoon will undoubtedly go into overdrive over the next few days), the picture is less clear-cut than simply being a matter of shouting for massive points deductions, fines or throwing the club out of football altogether. There will be many thousands of Luton supporters – far more than were involved in any trouble this afternoon – that will have been appalled by...

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Barry Hearn On Administration

Michel Platini, with all of the elegance that one might expect from a man with such a playing career, describes it as “financial doping”. It is, in short, the accumulation of debt to purchase success on the pitch. Some clubs do it as a result of the egos of their chairmen, some do it from the fear of what might happen if they don’t, and some do it in the genuine but misguided belief that somehow everything will be okay if they manage to get the team winning on the pitch. The result, however, is usually the same. The players and the manager leave when things turn sour, there is a desperate rush for new investors and, when these can’t be found, it ends in either administration or a close shave with administration. All of which brings us to the somewhat divisive subject of Barry Hearn. In a recent interview with Talksport, Hearn described clubs that enter into adminstration as “cheats” and stated his belief that all clubs that enter into adminstration should be relegated two divisions. There are plenty of reasons to be cynical of Hearn’s pronouncements on the subject of how to run a football club. Bit by bit, Hearn has sold off areas of the site of Leyton Orient’s Brisbane Road ground (which some people, presumably including Hearn, call “The Matchroom Stadium”), and Orient will be...

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