Tag: Luton Town

Match Of The Midweek I: Oxford United 2-0 Luton Town

We have three Matches Of The Week for you this week. Tomorrow night, it’s England vs Croatia in the World Cup qualifiers and on Thursday night the England Ladies Team take on Germany in the final of the European Women’s Championship in Helsinki. Tonight, though, we kick off with Oxford United vs Luton Town in the Blue Square Premier. Oxford United and Luton Town met this evening as non-league clubs for the first time, and it was an event. The two clubs were both in the First Division during the 1980s, and their subsequent relegation from the Football League have been the result of neglect on the parts of the people that owned their clubs. This is Oxford’s fourth season in the Blue Square Premier. They led the table for much of their first season before tailing off and losing in the play-off semi-finals against Exeter City. The following year they stayed in mid-table for much of the season and eventually settled in eleventh place, and last season finished just outside of the play-off places, four points off a play-off place after they were deducted five points for fielding an ineligible player. Luton Town started this season as the favourites to win the Blue Square Premier title, but things haven’t gone their way so far and the pressure is already starting to build upon manager Mick Harford. Their biggest...

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John Hartson

That retirement comes at such a young age is one of the curious contradictions of football. No sooner has a professional player reached his prime than he is sliding down the other side of his career arc. The overwhelming majority vanish quietly into the distance to retrain as sports scientists, run pubs, or do any one of a myriad of other jobs out of necessity after the end of their playing careers. Thirtysomething men are suddenly cast as rookies again as they start their managerial careers in earnest. Relatively young men, thanks to the over-exposure of the media, seem older than they are. All of which brings us, albeit in a slightly roundabout way, to the terrible diagnosis that has befallen John Hartson. Hartson had what could be described as a typical top flight career. He started at Luton Town, before a big money move to Arsenal that never quite worked out. West Ham United, Wimbledon and Coventry City all followed, but it was a move to Celtic that finally allowed him to find himself as a player and eighty-nine goals in less than one hundred and fifty matches followed over a five year period. A brief return to England followed, with his playing career closing after short spells at West Bromwich Albion and Norwich City before retiring as a player last summer at the age of thirty-three. In...

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Six FA Cup Semi-Finals

It seems almost difficult to believe in this day and age, but there was a time that FA Cup semi-finals mattered. Getting to Wembley was an end to itself. The big day out and the traditions involved with that Saturday in May were so important that getting to the final and being a part of it was almost as good as winning it. Now, of course, it’s an inconvenience. Three of this year’s FA Cup semi-finalists are also in the semi-finals of the Champions League and, as such, this is the part of the end of season bum rush that they can arguably all afford to lose. Also, the mystique of the visit to Wembley is gone. In their desperation to cover the cost of building it in the first place, they’re holding the semi-finals there as well. So, it’s time to have a look back at six FA Cup semi-finals from the dim and distant past. 1. 1987 – Tottenham Hotspur vs Watford: The media loves an underdog, and underdogs didn’t come much bigger that Watford’s Gary Plumley. After Watford’s two goalkeepers, Tony Coton and Steve Sherwood, both injured themselves in advance of their 1987 FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park, rather carelessly got themselves injured in the fortnight before their biggest match of the season, it looked briefly as if they might have to play with an...

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Match Of The Week: Luton Town 3-2 Scunthorpe United

It is fifty years since Luton Town made their first appearance at Wembley, and twenty years since they lost the League Cup final. This weekend, however, in a show of defiance that must even have reddened the faces of the fusty old buffoons of the Football League and the Football Association, they took 40,000 supporters to Wembley for the final of the Football League Trophy and walked away with the cup. Luton, over the years, have found themselves much derided. Whilst local rivals Watford cultivated an image as a “family club”, Luton, under their now deceased chairman David Evans, became a byword for all that was wrong with football during the 1980s – the ID card scheme, the plastic pitch and the occasional bouts of hooliganism did their image damage which still hasn’t been completely rectified. This may have been part of the thinking behind the draconian points deduction that they received last summer, a deduction which has effectively become a death sentence on their ninety year stay in the Football League. They certainly received less sympathy than many others likely would have when the sentence was passed last summer. Never mind that those in charge of the club had been nothing to do with the trouble that the club had got itself into, many were (and indeed still are) happy to kick this club while it was down....

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Match Of The (Mid)Week – Luton 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion

When one thinks of pitch invasions at Kenilworth Road, one might be inclined to think of the infamous mass fight between Luton and Millwall supporters at an FA Cup match in 1985. Last night, there was a pitch invasion at Kenilworth Road but there was no violence involved this time, merely an explosion of anger, defiance and celebration at one of the more unlikely cup final appearances in the recent history of English football. Last night, in what will almost certainly be their last season (for now) in the Football League, Luton Town booked a Wembley appearance in the Football League Trophy with a penalty shoot-out win against Brighton & Hove Albion. Luton’s plight has been covered on here before. In a measure so punative that it borders on being sadistic, the club was docked thirty points at the start of this season. It was a hammer blow to the club and, moreover, it wasn’t even the fault of the people currently in charge at Kenilworth Road. Over the last two seasons, they suffered at the hands of a boardroom who were either amazingly incompetent or deliberately negligent (their can be no other reason for their behaviour). At the start of this season, they had a completely threadbare squad and an uphill battle to retain their league status which has proved to be insurmountable. Even now, they sit at...

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