A view from the basement. Luton Town. Looking up?
4:48pm, Saturday 2nd May 2009. A day etched in my memory. My team, Luton Town, had just been relegated out of the Football League to the basement that is the Conference.
“The Conference!” I thought, the Vauxhall Conference. The last results to be read out on a Saturday afternoon, and not even a highlights show where I would be able to see the goals if I couldn’t make it to the match. Jeez, did Football Manager even include the Conference?
The cycle was complete, from seventh in the Championship to relegation out of the Football League, all in the space of about 1000 days. To say that experience was tough to take would be an understatement.
Fast forward to August 2010. The gloom and dread of the last four years is starting to lift. We have our club back, and 20-20 consortium who own the club have done wonders in turning Luton Town FC around.
After finishing second in the 2009/10 season, losing to York in the playoffs, Luton now enter their second season in The Blue Square Premier as firm favourites. The Hatters will face stiff competition from former league teams Grimsby, York, Darlington, Wrexham, and Cambridge. Added to the mix are the emerging non league team, AFC Wimbledon, big spending Crawley and newly promoted Newport. Promotion back to the promised land of league football will be no easy task, but since joining midway through last season Richard Money has instilled a toughness in the side of which we haven’t seen since the early days of Mike Newell, and before him Joe Kinnear.
For a 10 game spell towards the end of last season we were unstoppable, and so we should have been with the players we had at our disposal. Richard Money seems to have the ability to get the best out of the players in a way that Mick Harford didn’t.
Who knows what would have happened if he had taken over sooner. The close season acquisitions of Danny Crow from Cambridge and Adam Drury from Stevenage (Drury choose to play for us instead of renewing his contract to play at newly promoted Stevenage in League Two) show ambition, and bring real quality to the side.
The Luton team we see now is arguably the best set of players we have had in the last three years, so big things are expected from them this season, but only one outcome will do for the fans, and that’s promotion. Anything less this season and it will be a complete and utter failure.
There is never a dull moment in the life of a Luton fan, and no doubt this season will take us on another roller coaster ride. But the future is bright…..the future is orange….. Up the Hatters!!