Luton Town F.C.

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Luton Town
Luton Town logo.svg
Full nameLuton Town Football Club
Nickname(s)The Hatters
Founded11 April 1885;138 years ago (1885-04-11)
Ground Kenilworth Road
Capacity11,500 [1]
OwnerLuton Town Football Club 2020 Ltd [2]
ChairmanDavid Wilkinson
Manager Rob Edwards
League Premier League
2022–23 EFL Championship, 3rd of 24 (promoted via play-offs)
Website Club website
Soccerball current event.svg Current season

Luton Town Football Club ( /ˈltən/ ) is a professional football club based in Luton, Bedfordshire, England, that competes in the Premier League, the top tier of English football. Founded in 1885, they are nicknamed the Hatters, due to the historical association of the town with the hat making trade, and have played home matches at Kenilworth Road since 1905. The club's history includes one major trophy win, several financial crises, as well as numerous promotions and relegations. Between 1982 and 1992, they were a member of the First Division; they won their first major honour, the Football League Cup, in 1988. Luton Town have a long-standing rivalry with nearby club Watford.

Contents

Luton Town was the first in southern England to turn professional. It joined the Football League before the 1897–98 season, left in 1900 because of financial problems, and rejoined in 1920. Luton reached the First Division in 1955–56 and contested a major final for the first time against Nottingham Forest in the 1959 FA Cup final. The team was then relegated from the top division in 1959–60, and demoted twice more in the following five years, playing in the Fourth Division from the 1965–66 season, before they were promoted back to the top level in 1974–75.

In 1981–82, the club won the Second Division and gained promotion to the First. Luton defeated Arsenal 3–2 in the 1988 Football League Cup final and remained in the First Division until relegation at the end of the 1991–92 season. Between 2007 and 2009, financial difficulties caused the club to fall from the second tier of English football to the fifth in successive seasons. The last of these relegations, in the 2008–09 season, followed a 30-point deduction for financial irregularities. [3] Luton spent five seasons in non-League football before winning the Conference Premier in 2013–14, securing promotion back into the Football League. [4] Luton were promoted from League Two and League One in successive seasons in 2017–18 and 2018–19 before being promoted to the Premier League in the 2022–23 EFL Championship play-off final on penalties against Coventry City. [5]

Luton Town are the first football team to return to the top tier of English football after successive relegations down to the fifth tier of English football.

History

Formation and election to the Southern League (1885–1890)

Luton Town Football Club was formed on 11 April 1885. [6] [7] Before this there were many clubs in the town, the most prominent of which were Luton Wanderers and Luton Excelsior. A Wanderers player, George Deacon, came up with the idea of a 'Town' club which would include all the best players in Luton. Wanderers secretary Herbert Spratley seized upon Deacon's idea and arranged a secret meeting on 13 January 1885 at the St Matthews school rooms in High Town. The Wanderers committee resolved to rename the club Luton Town—which was not well received by the wider community. The local newspapers referred to the club as 'Luton Town (late Wanderers)'. When George Deacon and John Charles Lomax then arranged a public meeting with the purpose of forming a 'Luton Town Football Club', Spratley protested, saying there was already a Luton Town club; and the atmosphere was tense when the meeting convened in the town hall on 11 April 1885. The meeting, attended by most football lovers in the town, heard about Spratley's secret January meeting and voted down his objections. The motion to form a 'Luton Town Football Club', put forward by G H Small and seconded by E H Lomax, was carried. A club committee was elected by ballot and the team colours were agreed to be pink and dark blue shirts and caps. [8]

The Luton Town squad of 1897-98, which won the United League title Luton Town F.C. (1898) (cropped).jpg
The Luton Town squad of 1897–98, which won the United League title

Initially based at Excelsior's Dallow Lane ground, [7] Luton Town began making payments to certain individual players in 1890. The following year, Luton became the first club in southern England to be fully professional. [9] The club was a founder member of the Southern Football League in the 1894–95 season and finished as runners-up in its first two seasons. It then left to help form the United League and came second in that league's inaugural season before joining the Football League (then based mostly in northern and central England) [A] for 1897–98, [10] concurrently moving to a new ground at Dunstable Road. [11] The club continued to enter a team to the United League for two more seasons, winning the title in 1897–98. [10] [12] Poor attendance, high wages, in addition to the high travel and accommodation costs that resulted from Luton's distance from the northern heartlands of the Football League crippled the club financially; [12] it became too expensive to compete in that league. [12] A return to the Southern League was therefore arranged for the 1900–01 season. [10] [12]

Early 20th century (1900–1950)

Eight years after arriving at Dunstable Road, Luton moved again, settling at their current ground, Kenilworth Road, in 1905. [9] Captain and left winger Bob Hawkes became Luton's first international player when he was picked to play for England against Ireland on 16 February 1907. [13] A poor 1911–12 season saw Luton relegated to the Southern League's Second Division; the club won promotion back two years later. [10] [14] After the First World War broke out, Luton took part in The London Combination during 1915–16, and afterwards filled each season with friendly matches. [15] [16] A key player of the period was Ernie Simms, a forward. Simms was invalided back to England after being wounded on the Italian front, [14] [16] but recovered enough to regain his place in the Luton team and scored 40 goals during the 1916–17 season. [14]

1936: Joe Payne (white shirt, left) scores one of his record-breaking 10 goals in one match Paynevbristolrovers.jpg
1936: Joe Payne (white shirt, left) scores one of his record-breaking 10 goals in one match

The Luton side first played in the white and black colours which it has retained for much of its history during the 1920–21 season, when the club rejoined the Football League; [17] the players had previously worn an assortment of colour combinations, most permanently sky blue shirts with white shorts and navy socks. [18] Such was the quality of Luton's team at this time that despite playing in the third tier, a fixture between Ireland and England at Windsor Park on 22 October 1921 saw three Luton players on the pitch—Louis Bookman and Allan Mathieson for Ireland, and the club's top goalscorer, Simms, for England. [19] [20] However, after Luton finished fourth in the division, the squad was broken up as Simms, Bookman and Mathieson joined South Shields, Port Vale and Exeter City respectively. [20] [21] Luton stayed in the Third Division South until 1936–37, when the team finished top and won promotion to the Second Division, at that time the second tier of English football. [22] During the promotion season, striker Joe Payne scored 55 goals in 39 games; during the previous season he had scored 10 in one match against Bristol Rovers, which remains a Football League record today. [23]

Success under Duncan and relegation (1950–1965)

During the early 1950s, one of Luton's greatest sides [24] emerged under manager Dally Duncan. [25] The team included Gordon Turner, who went on to become Luton's all-time top goalscorer, [26] Bob Morton, who holds the record for the most club appearances, [27] and Syd Owen, an England international. [28] During this period, Luton sides also featured two England international goalkeepers, Ron Baynham and Bernard Streten, [29] [30] as well as Irish internationals Seamus Dunne, [31] Tom Aherne and George Cummins. [32] [33] This team reached the top flight for the first time in 1955–56, after finishing the season in second place behind Birmingham City on goal average. [34] A few years of success followed, including an FA Cup Final appearance against Nottingham Forest in 1958–59; [35] at the end of the season, Owen was voted FWA Footballer of the Year. [36] However, the club was relegated the following season and, by 1964–65, was playing in the fourth tier. [37]

A home match at Kenilworth Road in 1980 Oak Road End at Kenilworth Road, 1980.jpg
A home match at Kenilworth Road in 1980

Back to the first tier and late century success (1965–1992)

In yo-yo club fashion, Luton were to return. A team including Bruce Rioch, John Moore and Graham French won the Fourth Division championship in 1967–68 under the leadership of former player Allan Brown; [10] two years later Malcolm Macdonald's goals helped them to another promotion, [38] while comedian Eric Morecambe became a director of the club. [38] Luton Town won promotion back to the First Division in 1973–74, but were relegated the following season by a solitary point. [10] [39] Former Luton player David Pleat was made manager in 1978, and by 1982–83 the team was back in the top flight. [10] The team which Pleat assembled at Kenilworth Road was notable at the time for the number of black players it included; during an era when many English squads were almost entirely white, Luton often fielded a mostly black team. Talented players such as Ricky Hill, Brian Stein and Emeka Nwajiobi made key contributions to the club's success during this period, [40] causing it to accrue "a richer history of black stars than any in the country", in the words of journalist Gavin Willacy. [41]

On the last day of the 1982–83 season, the club's first back in the top tier, it narrowly escaped relegation: playing Manchester City at Maine Road, Luton needed to win to stay up, while City could escape with a draw. [42] A late winner by Yugoslavian substitute Raddy Antić saved the team and prompted Pleat to dance across the pitch performing a "jig of joy", [42] an image that has become iconic. [43] The club achieved its highest ever league position, seventh, under John Moore in 1986–87, [44] and, managed by Ray Harford, won the Football League Cup a year later with a 3–2 win over Arsenal. With ten minutes left on the clock and Arsenal 2–1 ahead, a penalty save from stand-in goalkeeper Andy Dibble sparked a late Luton rally: Danny Wilson equalised, before Brian Stein scored the winner with the last kick of the match. [10] [45] [46] The club reached the League Cup Final once more in 1988–89, but lost 3–1 to Nottingham Forest. [10]

Luton Town players and staff celebrate winning the Conference Premier title in 2014 Luton Town lift Conference championship trophy 2014.jpg
Luton Town players and staff celebrate winning the Conference Premier title in 2014

Resurgence and fall to non-League (1992–2009)

The club was relegated from the top division at the end of the 1991–92 season, [10] and sank to the third tier four years later. [10] [47] Luton stayed in the third-tier Second Division until relegation at the end of the 2000–01 season. [48] Under the management of Joe Kinnear, who had arrived halfway through the previous season, [49] the team won promotion from the fourth tier at the first attempt. [10] "Controversial" [50] owner John Gurney unsettled the club in 2003, [50] terminating Kinnear's contract on his arrival in May; [50] [51] Gurney replaced Kinnear with Mike Newell before leaving Luton as the club entered administration. [50] [52] Newell's team finished as champions of the rebranded third-tier Football League One in 2004–05. [10] [53]

While Newell's place was taken first by Kevin Blackwell and later former player Mick Harford, [54] [55] the team was then relegated twice in a row, starting in 2006–07, and spent the latter part of the 2007–08 season in administration, thus incurring a ten-point deduction from that season's total. [10] [56] The club then had a total of 30 points docked from its 2008–09 record by the Football Association and the Football League for financial irregularities dating back several years. [57] These deductions proved to be too large an obstacle to overcome, [58] but Luton came from behind in the final of the Football League Trophy to win the competition for the first time. [59]

From non-League to Premier League (2009–present)

Relegation meant that 2009–10 saw Luton playing in the Conference Premier, a competition in which the club had never before participated. The club unsuccessfully contested the promotion play-offs three times in four seasons during their time as a non-League club, employing five different managers. In the 2012–13 FA Cup fourth round, Luton won their away tie against Premier League club Norwich City 1–0 and, in doing so, became the first non-League team to beat a side from England's top division since 1989. [60] In the 2013–14 season, under the management of John Still, Luton won the Conference Premier title with three games to spare, and thereby secured a return to the Football League from 2014–15. [61] After reaching the League Two play-offs in 2016–17, [62] when they were beaten 6–5 on aggregate by Blackpool in the semi-final, [63] Luton were promoted back to League One the following season as runners-up. [64] [65] Luton achieved a second successive promotion in 2018–19, after they won the League One title, marking the club's return to the Championship after a 12-year absence. [66] [67] Luton reached the Championship play-offs in 2021–22, where they were beaten 2–1 on aggregate by Huddersfield Town in the semi-final. At the end of the 2022–23 season, Luton Town secured a consecutive place in the Championship play-offs having finished in 3rd place. [68] Luton Town beat Sunderland 3–2 on aggregate in the play-off semi-finals to reach the play-off final against Coventry City. [69] They went on to beat Coventry City 6–5 on penalties after a tense 1–1 draw to secure promotion to the Premier League for the first time. [70] After collecting only one point in their first five matches of the season, Luton won their first ever Premier League game on 30 September 2023, beating Everton 2–1 away at Goodison Park. [71]

Club identity

Kit left arm.svg
Kit body vneckwhite.png
Kit body.svg
Kit right arm.svg
Kit shorts white stripes.png
Kit shorts.svg
Kit socks twostripes.png
Kit socks long.svg
Luton first wore white and black between 1920 and 1973.
Luton Town badge, late 1980s and early 1990s. Luton Town logo (1987-1994).png
Luton Town badge, late 1980s and early 1990s.
Luton Town badge, 1973-87 LutonTownFCBadge1973-1987.png
Luton Town badge, 1973–87

The club's nickname, "the Hatters", reflects Luton's historical connection with the hat making trade, which has been prominent there since the 17th century. [72] [73] The nickname was originally a variant on the now rarely seen straw-plaiters.[ further explanation needed ] Supporters of the club are also called Hatters. [74]

The club is associated with two very different colour schemes—white and black (first permanently adopted in 1920), and orange, navy and white (first used in 1973, and worn by the team as of the 2015–16 season). Luton mainly wore a combination of light blue and white before 1920, when white shirts and black shorts were first adopted. These colours were retained for over half a century, with the colour of the socks varying between white and black, until Luton changed to orange, navy and white at the start of the 1973–74 season. Luton began playing in white shirts, shorts and socks in 1979, with the orange and navy motif reduced to trim; navy shorts were adopted in 1984. This palette was retained until the 1999–2000 season, when the team played in orange shirts and blue shorts. From 2000 to 2008, Luton returned to white shirts and black shorts; orange was included as trim until 2007. The white, navy and orange palette favoured in the 1980s was brought back in 2008, following the results of a club poll, [75] but a year later the colours were changed yet again, this time to a predominantly orange strip with white shorts. [76] Navy shorts were readopted in 2011. Luton wore orange shirts, navy shorts and white socks during the 2015–16 season. [18]

Luton Town have traditionally used the town's crest as its own in a manner similar to many other teams. The club's first badge was a white eight-pointed star, which was emblazoned across the team's shirts (then a deep cochineal red) in 1892. Four years later a crest comprising the club's initials intertwined was briefly adopted. The shirts were thereafter plain until 1933, when Luton first adopted a badge depicting a straw boater, which appeared on Luton shirts. The letters "LTFC" were added in 1935, and this basic design remained until 1947. The club then played without a badge until 1970, when the club began to wear the town crest regularly, having first done so in the 1959 FA Cup Final. [77]

In 1973, concurrently with the club's switch to the orange kit, a new badge was introduced featuring the new colours. The new emblem depicted a stylised orange football, bearing the letters "Lt", surrounded by the club's name in navy blue text. [77] In 1987, the club switched back to a derivative of the town emblem, with the shield portion of the heraldic crest becoming the team's badge; the only similarity with the previous design was the inclusion of the club name around the shield in navy blue. The "rainbow" badge, introduced in 1994, featured the town crest below an orange and blue bow which curved around to meet two footballs, positioned on either side of the shield, with the club name underneath. [77] This badge was used until 2005, when a replacement very similar to the 1987 version was adopted, featuring black text rather than blue and a straw boater in place of the outstretched arm depicted in the older design. The club's founding year, 1885, was added in 2008. [18] The badge was altered once more during the 2009–10 pre-season, with the red of the town crest being replaced with orange to better reflect the club colours. [78]

The club released the song "Hatters, Hatters", a collaboration between the Luton team and the Bedfordshire-based musical comedy group the Barron Knights, in 1974. [79] Eight years later another song featuring vocals by the Luton players, "We're Luton Town", was released to celebrate the club's promotion to the First Division. [80]

Shirt sponsors

The first sponsor to appear on a Luton Town shirt was Tricentrol, a local motor company based in Dunstable, who sponsored the club from March 1980 to 1982; the deal was worth £50,000. [81]

A list of subsequent Luton Town shirt sponsors are as follow:

Stadium

The view from the Kenilworth End in 2007. To the left is the Main Stand, and to the right is the Oak Road End. Kenilworth Road.jpg
The view from the Kenilworth End in 2007. To the left is the Main Stand, and to the right is the Oak Road End.
Luton Town's average home league attendances at Kenilworth Road from 1946-47 to 2016-17. Attendances rose with Luton's promotion in 1955 before plummeting during the early 1960s as the club suffered three relegations. Spectators returned with the promotions of the late 1960s and mid 1970s, before seeing a decline with the introduction of an all-seater stadium in 1986. LTFCattendancespostwar2017.png
Luton Town's average home league attendances at Kenilworth Road from 1946–47 to 2016–17. Attendances rose with Luton's promotion in 1955 before plummeting during the early 1960s as the club suffered three relegations. Spectators returned with the promotions of the late 1960s and mid 1970s, before seeing a decline with the introduction of an all-seater stadium in 1986.

Luton Town's first ground was at Dallow Lane, the former ground of Excelsior. [7] The ground was next to the Dunstable to Luton railway line, and players regularly claimed to have trouble seeing the ball because of smoke from the trains. [11] A damaging financial loss during 1896–97 forced Luton to sell the stadium to stay afloat and, as a result, the club moved across the tracks to a stadium between the railway and Dunstable Road. [11] The Dunstable Road ground was opened by Herbrand Russell, 11th Duke of Bedford, who also donated £50 towards the £800 building costs. [11] When the site was sold for housing in 1905, the club was forced to move again at short notice, [11] to its present Kenilworth Road site, in time for the start of the 1905–06 season. [9] [11]

The stadium now has an all-seater capacity of 11,500 and is situated in the Bury Park area of Luton. It was named after the road that runs along one end of it, although the official address of the club is 1 Maple Road. Opposite the eponymous Kenilworth Stand is the Oak Road End, which has evolved from a stand first used exclusively by Luton supporters, then later by away supporters, and now used by both except in times of high ticket demand from away clubs. The Main Stand is flanked by the David Preece Stand, and opposite them stands a row of executive boxes. These boxes replaced the Bobbers Stand in 1986, as the club sought to maximise income. [100]

The original Main Stand burnt down in 1921, and was replaced by the current stand before the 1922–23 season. The ground underwent extensive redevelopment during the 1930s, and the capacity by the start of the Second World War was 30,000. Floodlights were installed before the 1953–54 season, but it was 20 years before any further modernisation was carried out. In 1973 the Bobbers Stand became all-seated, and in 1985 the grass pitch was replaced with an artificial playing surface; it quickly became unpopular and was derided as "the plastic pitch". [20] [100] [101] [102]

A serious incident involving hooliganism before, during and after a match against Millwall in 1985 led to the club's then chairman, Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) David Evans, introducing a scheme effective from the start of 1986–87 supposedly banning all visiting supporters from the ground, and requiring home fans to carry membership cards when attending matches. [103] Conversion to an all-seater ground also began in 1986. [100] Away fans returned for 1990–91, [104] and grass a year later. [105] The David Preece Stand was erected in 1991, and the conversion of the Kenilworth Stand to an all-seater was completed in 2005. [100]

New stadium

The club first expressed an interest in building a new stadium away from Kenilworth Road in 1955, the year it won promotion to the First Division for the first time. Even then the ground was small compared to those of most First and Second Division clubs, and its location made significant redevelopment difficult. The team has since made several attempts to relocate. [34] Leaving Luton for the nearby new town of Milton Keynes was unsuccessfully proposed several times, most notably in the 1980s. [106] The club sold Kenilworth Road to Luton Council in 1989, and has since leased it. [107] A planning application for a new 20,000-seater indoor stadium, the "Kohlerdome" proposed by chairman David Kohler in 1995, was turned down by the Secretary of State in 1998, and Kohler left soon after. [108]

In 2007, the club's then-owners proposed a controversial plan to relocate to a site near Junction 12 of the M1 motorway, near Harlington and Toddington. [109] A planning application was made on the club's behalf by former chairman Cliff Bassett, but the application was withdrawn almost immediately following the club's takeover in 2008. [110] [111] In 2009, the club began an independent feasibility study to determine a viable location to move to. [112] [113] The club did not rule out redeveloping Kenilworth Road and, in October 2012, entered talks to buy the stadium back from Luton Borough Council. [107] By 2015, these plans had been dropped in favour of a move to a new location, with managing director Gary Sweet confirming that the club was in a position to "buy land, secure the best possible professional advice ... and to see the [planning] application process through to the receipt of consent." [114]

In April 2016, the club announced its intention to build and move into a 17,500-capacity stadium on the Power Court site in central Luton. [115] Outline planning permission for this ground, with potential to expand to 23,000 seats, was granted by Luton Borough Council on 16 January 2019. [116] In March 2021, the club announced that it intended to make a number of changes to the initial scheme to reflect changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but that the capacity of the new stadium was still to be 23,000 and had a target opening date of 2024. [117] This plan was revised in 2023, to delivering the first phase, a 19,500-seat stadium, by 2026, followed by the second, a further 4,000 safe standing seats, at a later date. [118] [119]

Supporters and rivalries

Luton supporters at Wembley Stadium, May 2012 Luton fans at Wembley 2012.png
Luton supporters at Wembley Stadium, May 2012

During the 2014–15 season, Luton Town had an average home league attendance of 8,702—the second highest in League Two behind only Portsmouth. [B] In the 2013–14 season, when the club were in the Conference Premier, the club had significantly higher support than the other clubs in its league, with an average home attendance of 7,387; more than twice compared to the second highest of 3,568. [C] Average attendances at Kenilworth Road fell with the installation of seats and the club's reduction in stature, dropping from 13,452 in 1982–83 to their 2014–15 level—a slump of 35% over 32 years. [120] A supporters' trust, Trust in Luton, owns shares in the club and elects a representative to the club's board. [121] [122] The club's official supporters' group, Luton Town Supporters' Club, merged with Trust in Luton in 2014. [123] The club is associated with another supporters' group, the breakaway Loyal Luton Supporters Club. [124] Trust in Luton has, since March 2014, held the legal right to veto any changes to the club's identity, including name, nickname, colours, club crest and mascot. [125]

Luton Town supporters maintain a bitter rivalry with Hertfordshire-based Watford. [126] [127] [128] Watford were the higher ranked team at the end of every season from 1997 until 2022. However, overall Luton still hold the superior record in the fixture between the two clubs; out of 120 competitive matches there have been 55 Luton victories and 38 for Watford, with 29 draws. The 2003 Football Fans Census showed that there was also animosity between Luton Town fans and those of west London club Queens Park Rangers. [126]

The club produces an official match programme for home matches, entitled Our Town. [129] A character known as Happy Harry, a smiling man wearing a straw boater, serves as the team's mascot and appears on the Kenilworth Road pitch before matches. [130] In December 2014, after the seafront statue of Eric Morecambe in his birthplace Morecambe was restored, Luton and Morecambe F.C. jointly announced that the winners of future Luton–Morecambe fixtures would be awarded the "Eric Morecambe Trophy". [131]

Records and statistics

Luton Town's yearly performance from the club's election into the Football League to the present. Luton Town FC League Performance.svg
Luton Town's yearly performance from the club's election into the Football League to the present.

The record for the most appearances for Luton is held by Bob Morton, who turned out for Luton 562 times in all competitions. [132] Morton also holds the record for the most Football League appearances for the club, with 495. [132] Fred Hawkes holds the record for the most league appearances for Luton, having played in 509 league matches. [133] Six players, Gordon Turner, Andy Rennie, Brian Stein, Ernie Simms, Herbert Moody and Steve Howard, have scored more than 100 goals for Luton. [134] [135] [136] [137]

The first player to be capped while playing for Luton was left winger Robert Hawkes, who took to the field for England against Ireland at Goodison Park on 16 February 1907. [13] The most capped player is Mal Donaghy, who earned 58 Northern Ireland caps while at the club. [138] The first player to score in an international match was Joe Payne, who scored twice in his only game for England against Finland on 20 May 1937. [139] Payne also holds the Football League record for the most goals in a game—he hit 10 past Bristol Rovers on 13 April 1936. [23]

The club's largest wins have been a 15–0 victory over Great Yarmouth Town on 21 November 1914 in the FA Cup [140] and a 12–0 win over Bristol Rovers in the Third Division South on 13 April 1936. [138] Luton's heaviest loss was a 9–0 defeat against Small Heath in the Second Division on 12 November 1898. [138]

Luton's highest home attendances are 30,069 against Blackpool in the FA Cup on 4 March 1959 [138] [141] and 27,911 against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the First Division on 5 November 1955. [142]

The highest transfer fee received for a Luton Town player is the fee Leicester City paid for Luton-born full-back James Justin on 28 June 2019. [143] The most expensive player Luton Town have ever bought was wing-back Ryan Giles, for a reported fee of £5 million from Wolverhampton Wanderers on 27 July 2023.[ citation needed ]

The youngest player to make a first-team appearance for Luton Town is Connor Tomlinson at 15 years and 199 days old in the EFL Trophy, replacing Zane Banton as a 92nd-minute substitute in a 2–1 win over Gillingham on 30 August 2016, after the club were given permission for him to play from his headteacher. [144]

Players

As of 30 January 2024 [145]

Current squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No.Pos.NationPlayer
1 GK Flag of England.svg  ENG James Shea
2 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Gabriel Osho
3 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Dan Potts
4 DF Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  WAL Tom Lockyer (captain)
5 DF Flag of Denmark.svg  DEN Mads Juel Andersen
6 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Ross Barkley
7 FW Flag of Ireland.svg  IRL Chiedozie Ogbene
8 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Luke Berry
9 FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Carlton Morris (vice-captain)
10 FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Cauley Woodrow
11 FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Elijah Adebayo
12 DF Flag of Burkina Faso.svg  BFA Issa Kaboré (on loan from Manchester City)
13 MF Flag of Zimbabwe.svg  ZIM Marvelous Nakamba
14 MF Flag of the Netherlands.svg  NED Tahith Chong
15 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Teden Mengi
No.Pos.NationPlayer
16 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Reece Burke
17 MF Flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.svg  COD Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu
18 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Jordan Clark
19 FW Flag of Scotland.svg  SCO Jacob Brown
23 GK Flag of the Netherlands.svg  NED Tim Krul
24 GK Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  BEL Thomas Kaminski
27 DF Flag of Japan.svg  JPN Daiki Hashioka
28 MF Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  BEL Albert Sambi Lokonga (on loan from Arsenal)
29 DF Flag of Jamaica.svg  JAM Amari'i Bell (3rd captain)
30 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Andros Townsend
39 MF Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  WAL Elliot Thorpe
45 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Alfie Doughty
MF Flag of Nigeria.svg  NGA Fred Onyedinma
FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Taylan Harris

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No.Pos.NationPlayer
20 MF Flag of Ireland.svg  IRL Louie Watson (on loan at Charlton Athletic until 31 May 2024)
21 FW Flag of England.svg  ENG John McAtee (on loan at Barnsley until 31 May 2024)
22 MF Flag of Scotland.svg  SCO Allan Campbell (on loan at Millwall until 31 May 2024)
25 FW Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  WAL Joe Taylor (on loan at Lincoln City until 31 May 2024)
26 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Ryan Giles (on loan at Hull City until 31 May 2024)
No.Pos.NationPlayer
GK Flag of England.svg  ENG Jack Walton (on loan at Dundee United until 31 May 2024)
DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Tom Holmes (on loan at Reading until 31 May 2024)
MF Flag of Antigua and Barbuda.svg  ATG Dion Pereira (on loan at Dagenham & Redbridge until 31 May 2024)
FW Flag of Zimbabwe.svg  ZIM Admiral Muskwe (on loan at Exeter City until 31 May 2024)
FW Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  CAN Aribim Pepple (on loan at Inverness until 31 May 2024)

Youth team

The club operates a Development Squad, made up of contracted senior players, youth team scholars and trialists, which plays in the Southern Division of The Central League. [146] The club also fields an under-18 team in the Football League Youth Alliance South East Conference. [147] Luton's youth set-up consists of ten Soccer Centres across Bedfordshire and North Hertfordshire, two Centres of Excellence (one in Luton, one in Dunstable), and an academy in Baldock that caters for players in the under-9 to under-16 age groups. [148]

Development squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No.Pos.NationPlayer
38 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Joe Johnson
40 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Aidan Francis-Clarke(on loan at St Albans City)
43 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Zack Nelson
47 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Jayden Luker(on loan at Woking)
GK Flag of Australia (converted).svg  AUS Henry Blackledge
GK Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  WAL Oliver Camis
GK Flag of England.svg  ENG Jameson Horlick(on loan at Dorchester)
DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Jack Bateson
DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Josh Odell-Bature
DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Jacob Pinnington(on loan at AFC Sudbury)
DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Ben Tompkins(on loan at Braintree)
No.Pos.NationPlayer
MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Jake Burger(on loan at St Albans City)
MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Archie Heron
MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Tyrelle Newton(on loan at Hemel Hempstead)
MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Axel Piesold
MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Josh Phillips
FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Josh Allen(on loan at AFC Sudbury)
FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Tobias Braney(on loan at Bishop's Stortford)
FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Oliver Lynch
FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Millar Matthews-Lewis(on loan at Farnborough)

Under 18s squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No.Pos.NationPlayer
GK Flag of England.svg  ENG Oliver Pipa
GK Flag of England.svg  ENG Cai Hockey
DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Tyrell Giwa
DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Claude Kayibanda
DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Max Scott
DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Charlie Emery
DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Isaiah Harvey
MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Jack Lorentzen-Jones
MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Marcus Warren
No.Pos.NationPlayer
MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Charlie Trustram
MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Dominic Dos Santos Martins
MF Ulster Banner.svg  NIR Dylan Stitt
MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Zacharias Ioannides
FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Will Houghton
FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Jamie Odegah
FW Flag of Zimbabwe.svg  ZIM Matthew Takawira
FW Ulster Banner.svg  NIR Sam Anderson
FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Tate Xavier-Jones

Notable former players

Backroom staff

Mick Harford.png
Mick Harford, Luton's chief recruitment officer, seen in 2009.
Nick Owen at Kenilworth Road, 21 April 2014.jpg
Nick Owen, former Luton chairman and current vice president, talking to fans before a home game in 2014.
As of 24 October 2021 [149]

Shareholders

Directors

Management

Managers

Joe Kinnear, seen in 2009, was Luton manager from 2001 to 2003. Joe Kinnear Hull City v. Newcastle United 1.png
Joe Kinnear, seen in 2009, was Luton manager from 2001 to 2003.
Richard Money (2007 photograph), a player for Luton during the 1982-83 season, managed the club from 2009 to 2011. Money, Richard.jpg
Richard Money (2007 photograph), a player for Luton during the 1982–83 season, managed the club from 2009 to 2011.
As of 18 February 2024. Only managers in charge for a minimum of 50 competitive matches are counted. [150] [151] [152]
Key: M = matches; W = matches won; D = matches drawn; L = matches lost
NameNationFromToMWDLWin %
John McCartney Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 14 September 192721 December 1929151573856037.7
George Kay Flag of England.svg  England 23 December 192913 May 193171291626040.8
Harold Wightman Flag of England.svg  England 1 June 19319 October 1935198854964042.9
Ned Liddell Flag of England.svg  England 13 August 193626 February 193879421126053.2
Dally Duncan Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 13 June 194716 October 1958503192133178038.2
Sam Bartram Flag of England.svg  England 18 July 196014 June 196295351842036.8
Bill Harvey Flag of England.svg  England 24 July 196221 November 1964121372658030.6
George Martin Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 16 February 19653 November 196682341632041.5
Allan Brown Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 4 November 196617 December 1968111562431050.5
Alec Stock Flag of England.svg  England 20 December 196827 April 1972172715645041.3
Harry Haslam Flag of England.svg  England 4 May 197223 January 19782751106996040.0
David Pleat Flag of England.svg  England 24 January 197816 May 1986393158108127040.2
Ray Harford Flag of England.svg  England 16 June 19873 January 1990133513448038.3
Jim Ryan Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 11 January 199013 May 199163181629028.6
David Pleat Flag of England.svg  England 7 June 199111 June 1995207557082026.6
Lennie Lawrence Flag of England.svg  England 21 December 19954 July 2000250906694036.0
Joe Kinnear Flag of Ireland.svg  Ireland 8 February 200123 May 2003122562838045.9
Mike Newell Flag of England.svg  England 23 June 200315 March 2007200834968041.5
Mick Harford Flag of England.svg  England 16 January 20081 October 200991252937027.5
Richard Money Flag of England.svg  England 30 October 200928 March 201183452117054.2
Gary Brabin Flag of England.svg  England 28 March 201131 March 201262292211046.8
John Still Flag of England.svg  England 26 February 201317 December 2015148693841046.6
Nathan Jones Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 6 January 20169 January 2019170874637051.2
Nathan Jones Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 28 May 202010 November 2022133543742040.6
Rob Edwards Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 17 November 2022Present61241720039.3

Honours

Luton Town's major honours are detailed below. For a list of all club honours, see List of Luton Town F.C. records and statistics : Honours and achievements . [10]

League

Cup

Footnotes

A.  ^ The only other club from the south of England in the Football League at the time was Woolwich Arsenal.
B.  ^ Calculated by adding together all the home league attendances for the 2014–15 season to calculate the total attendance (200,157) and then dividing by the number of home league matches (23) to reach an average of 8,702. Attendances taken from BBC report for match that day and Soccerbase statistics. [153]
C.  ^ Calculated by adding together all the home league attendances for the 2013–14 season to calculate the total attendance (169,906) and then dividing by the number of home league matches (23) to reach an average of 7,387. Attendances taken from BBC report for match that day and Soccerbase statistics. [154]
D.  ^ Before the start of the 2004–05 season, Football League re-branding saw the First Division become the Football League Championship. The Second and Third Divisions became Leagues One and Two, respectively.
E.  ^ On its formation for the 1992–93 season, the FA Premier League became the top tier of English football; the First, Second and Third Divisions then became the second, third and fourth tiers, respectively.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kenilworth Road</span> Football stadium in Luton, Bedfordshire, England

Kenilworth Road, known affectionately as The Kenny, and The Old Girl, is an association football stadium in Bury Park, Luton, Bedfordshire, England. It has been the home ground of Luton Town since 1905. The stadium has also hosted women's and youth international matches, including the second leg of the 1984 European Competition for Women's Football final.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mick Harford</span> English footballer and manager (born 1959)

Michael Gordon Harford is an English football manager and former professional player. He is the chief recruitment officer at Luton Town, a club where he has spent a large portion of both his playing and non-playing career. In addition to two separate spells as a player at Luton, including as part of the team that won the League Cup in 1988, Harford has been the club's director of football, first-team coach and manager; the latter role saw him lead Luton to victory in the Football League Trophy in 2009 and win League One in a separate spell in 2018–19.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of Luton Town F.C. (1885–1970)</span>

Luton Town Football Club is an English professional football club based in the town of Luton, Bedfordshire. Founded in 1885, Luton Town were the first professional team in the south of England, fully professional by 1891. Luton were also one of the first southern Football League clubs, joining in 1897 before leaving again in 1900 due to financial instability. The club rejoined the League for the 1920–21 season. George Thompson became the club's first manager four years later, but only lasted eight months before leaving, and wasn't replaced until 1927. 1936–37 saw Luton promoted to the Second Division, and the first post-war seasons saw a strong Luton team begin to emerge. Record goalscorer Gordon Turner's arrival into the first team in 1950 helped Luton to promotion to the First Division for the first time in 1954–55, and the team remained there until relegation in the 1959–60 season. Luton also reached the 1959 FA Cup Final, where Turner's absence and the team's questionable preparation for the game meant that Luton lost 2–1 to Nottingham Forest. The club was subsequently relegated three times in six seasons, reaching the Fourth Division by 1965–66. However, players such as Malcolm Macdonald ensured that the club was then promoted twice in three years and was back in the Second Division by 1970.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of Luton Town F.C. (1970–present)</span> English football club history

Luton Town Football Club is an English professional football club based in the town of Luton, Bedfordshire. Rising back to the top flight of English football for a season in 1974–1975, the remainder of the decade was spent in the second tier. David Pleat's appointment as manager in 1978 prompted the development of a strong team that won promotion after the 1981–1982 season; Pleat consolidated Luton's position in the top tier before leaving in 1986. Ray Harford's Luton team subsequently achieved a 3–2 victory over Arsenal in the 1988 League Cup Final, before settling for runners-up medals at the next year's Final after losing 2–1 to Nottingham Forest. Luton Town were relegated from the top flight after the 1991–1992 season, after ten successive seasons as a top division club.

South-eastern English football clubs Luton Town and Watford have been rivals since their respective formations in the late 19th century. The clubs are respectively from Luton, Bedfordshire, and Watford, Hertfordshire, and for this reason a match between the two teams is sometimes called a "Beds–Herts Derby". Another name occasionally used in the press is "M1 Derby", which comes from the M1 motorway, which passes both towns.

Ernest Simms was an English footballer, who was best known as a Luton Town centre forward. He was the first forward to play for England while playing for a Third Division club.

The 2008–09 season was the 123rd season in the history of Luton Town Football Club. The team's 24th-place finish in League One in 2007–08 meant the club competed in League Two. The club was docked 30 points at the start of the season; 10 by The Football Association for irregular matters involving player transfers, and 20 by the Football League for breaking rules on exiting administration. As a result, the club finished bottom of the league and were relegated to the Conference Premier. The season was not, however, without success – Luton beat Scunthorpe United 3–2 at Wembley to win the Football League Trophy for the first time.

The 2009–10 season was the 124th season in the history of Luton Town Football Club. Luton's 24th-place finish in Football League Two in 2008–09 meant that the club competed in the Conference Premier for the first time in its history, and in a division outside of the Football League for the first time since the beginning of their second spell as a member in 1920. Although tipped as favourites for the title and promotion before the season had even begun, the club struggled to immediately adapt to life in the new division, ultimately costing manager Mick Harford his job. Richard Money was appointed as new manager soon after, eventually leading the club to an unbeaten run of 14 games towards the end of the season that propelled them to a second-place finish in the league. However, defeat in the play-off semi-finals to York City meant Luton were to remain in the Conference for the 2010–11 season.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1985 Luton riot</span> 1985 football riot in England

The 1985 Luton riot occurred before, during and after a 1984–85 FA Cup sixth-round football match between Luton Town and Millwall on 13 March 1985 at Luton Town's Kenilworth Road ground in Luton, Bedfordshire, England. It was one of the worst incidents of football hooliganism during the 1980s, and led to a ban on away supporters by Luton Town which lasted for four seasons. This itself led to Luton's expulsion from the Football League Cup during the 1986–87 season. The club also began to enforce a membership card scheme, which Margaret Thatcher's government attempted to have adopted at grounds across England. Kenilworth Road was damaged, along with the surrounding area, and a year later was converted to an all-seater stadium.

The 1885–86 season was the first season in the history of Luton Town Football Club. The club had been in existence for less than three months on the season's start, and as Luton did not enter any league competition the team's first competitive match came on 31 October, an FA Cup tie against Great Marlow which was lost 3–0.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Luton Town F.C. league record by opponent</span>

Luton Town Football Club is an English football club based in Luton, Bedfordshire, which competes in the Championship, the second tier of English football, for the 2020–21 season. Formed in 1885 as the product of a merger, Luton Town became the first professional team in the south of England six years later and joined the Football League in 1897. After leaving the League in 1900 because of financial difficulties, Luton Town settled at their Kenilworth Road ground in 1905 and competed in the Southern League until 1920, when the club rejoined the Football League. The team was relegated to the Football Conference in 2009, after 89 consecutive years of League membership, following a 30-point deduction imposed by the football authorities. Five seasons later, the club won promotion back to the Football League.

The 2012–13 season was the 127th season in the history of Luton Town Football Club. The club competed in the Conference Premier for the fourth consecutive year, finishing in their lowest ever position of seventh place.

The 2004–05 season was the 119th season in the history of Luton Town Football Club, and club's 84th consecutive year in the Football League. Luton ended the season as champions of the rebranded League One competition, formerly known as the Second Division, with 98 points, achieving promotion to the Championship; the club's first elevation to that level since the 1981–82 season.

The 2013–14 season was the 128th in the history of Luton Town Football Club and the club's fifth consecutive season in non-League football following a mid-table finish in the 2012–13 campaign. In manager John Still's first full season in charge, Luton won promotion to the Football League and were crowned Conference Premier champions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu</span> Congolese footballer (born 1994)

Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu is a professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Premier League club Luton Town. Born in England, he plays for the DR Congo national team. He is the first footballer to climb from the non-league tiers of English football to the Premier League with the same club, having played for Luton since 2013.

The 2014–15 season was the 129th in the history of Luton Town Football Club and the club's first back in the Football League since the 2008–09 season following its promotion from the Conference Premier during the previous season. Luton finished in eighth position, one place and three points outside the play-offs.

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Bibliography

  • Ellis, Brian; Shury, Alan; Bailey, Steve (1997). The Definitive Luton Town F.C. Nottingham: Soccerdata. ISBN   978-1-899468-10-2.
  • Collings, Timothy (1985). The Luton Town Story 1885–1985. Luton: Luton Town F.C. ISBN   978-0-9510679-0-1.
  • Hayes, Dean P. (2002). Completely Top Hatters!. Dunstable: Book Castle Publishing. ISBN   978-1-903747-27-8.
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