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Top Facts about Luton Town FC, The Hatters

Sat 12 March 2022 | 5:30

We are here to talk about an old English club which has seen a lot of ups and downs during its lifespan since it was established 136 years ago.

Luton Town Football Club is a professional association football club situated in the town of Luton, Bedfordshire, England, that plays in the Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. Founded in 1885, it is nicknamed 'the Hatters' and linked to the Bedfordshire County Football Association. The team plays its home matches at Kenilworth Road, where it has been headquartered since 1905.

The club's history includes important trophy wins, various financial problems, numerous promotions and relegations, and some times of persistent success. It was likely most prominent from 1982 and 1992, when it was a member of English football's top tier, at that time the First Division; the team won its first major award, the Football League Cup, in 1988. Luton Town has a long-standing rivalry with neighboring club Watford.

It joined the Football League before the 1897–98 season, left in 1900 because of financial difficulties, then rejoined in 1920. Luton reached the First Division in 1955–56 and contested a major final for the first time when playing Nottingham Forest in the 1959 FA Cup Final.

The squad was then relegated from the top flight in 1959–60 and demoted twice more in the next five years, playing in the Fourth Division from the 1965–66 season. However, it was promoted back to the top division by 1974–75.

Luton Town's most recent successful phase came in 1981–82 when the team won the Second Division and so secured 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 troubles led the team to descend from the second tier of English football to the fifth in successive seasons. The final of these relegations happened during the 2008–09 season.

Top Facts about Luton Town FC, An English Club with a Rich History

This article is mainly for those who are a fan of this squad and curious about its roots and the major events it has been through.

Luton Town Records

Bob Morton holds the record for the most appearances for Luton, with 562 appearances in all competitions, one of the Top Facts about Luton Town.

Morton also has the most Football League appearances in the club's history, with 495. With 509 league appearances, Fred Hawkes holds the record for most league appearances for

Luton Town

.

Gordon Turner, Andy Rennie, Brian Stein, Ernie Simms, Herbert Moody, and Steve Howard are among the Luton players with over 100 goals.

Robert Hawkes, a left winger for Luton, was the first player to be capped while playing for the club when he played for England against Ireland at Goodison Park on February 16, 1907.

Mal Donaghy, who has 58 Northern Ireland caps, is the club's most capped player.

Joe Payne, who netted twice in his only appearance for

England

against Finland on May 20, 1937, was the first player to score in an international match.

Payne also retains the Football League record for most goals scored in a game, scoring ten against Bristol Rovers on April 13, 1936.

Another one of the Top Facts about Luton Town is that the club's biggest wins were a 15–0 FA Cup triumph over Great Yarmouth Town on November 21, 1914, and a 12–0 Third Division South victory over Bristol Rovers on April 13, 1936.

Luton's worst defeat came in the Second Division when they were defeated 9–0 by Small Heath on November 12, 1898.

The greatest home attendances for Luton Town were 30,069 against Blackpool in the FA Cup on March 4, 1959, and 27,911 against

Wolverhampton Wanderers

in the First Division on November 5, 1955.

The largest transfer fee paid for a Luton Town player was paid by Leicester City on June 28, 2019, for Luton-born full-back

James Justin

.

On July 19, 2019, Croatian goalkeeper Simon Sluga cost €1.5 million from HNK Rijeka, making him the most expensive player Luton Town has ever purchased.

Luton Town Fans & Rivalries

Luton Town had an average home league attendance of 8,702 in the 2014–15 season, second only to Portsmouth in League Two.

When the club was in the Conference Premier in 2013–14, it enjoyed much greater support than the other clubs in the league, with an average home attendance of 7,387, more than double the second-highest of 3,568.

Average attendance at Kenilworth Road dropped with the installation of seats and the club's decline in stature, dropping from 13,452 in 1982–83 to its 2014–15 level, a 35% loss in 32 years.

Trust in Luton, a supporters' trust, owns shares in the club and elects a representative to the board of directors, one of the

Top Facts about Luton Town.

Luton Town Fans' Club, the club's official supporters' organization, merged with Trust in Luton in 2014. The Loyal Luton Supporters Club, a breakaway supporters' group, is affiliated with the club.

Since March 2014, the Luton Trust has had the legal power to veto any changes to the club's identity, including the name, nickname, colors, crest, and mascot.

Luton Town supporters have a fierce rivalry with

Watford

, who are headquartered in Hertfordshire. Since 1997, Watford has finished each season as the higher-ranked team.

However, one of the Top Facts about Luton Town is that Luton still has the better overall record in the game between the two teams, with 53 Luton triumphs to 37 Watford victories and 29 draws in 119 competitive games.

According to the 2003 Football Fans Census, there was also hostility between Luton Town supporters and

Queens Park Rangers

supporters in west London.

For home matches, the club produces an official match program called Our Town. Happy Harry, a smiling man in a straw boater who serves as the team's mascot and appears on the Kenilworth Road pitch before matches, is the team's mascot.

Following the restoration of Eric Morecambe's seafront statue in his birthplace of Morecambe in December 2014, Luton Town and Morecambe F.C. agreed that the winners of future Luton–Morecambe fixtures would be awarded the "Eric Morecambe Trophy."

Luton Town Home Stadium

Luton Town's first home was at Dallow Lane, which had previously been the home of

Excelsior

. The pitch was adjacent to the Dunstable to Luton railway line, and players frequently stated that smoke from the trains made it difficult to see the ball, one of the Top Facts about Luton Town.

Luton had to sell the stadium to keep afloat after a devastating financial loss in 1896–97, and as a result, the team relocated across the tracks to a stadium between the railway and Dunstable Road. Herbrand Russell, the 11th Duke of Bedford, opened the Dunstable Road pitch and donated £50 toward the £800 construction costs.

When the club's original home was sold for housing in 1905, it was obliged to relocate quickly to its current Kenilworth Road location in time for the start of the 1905–06 season.

In 1955, the year it earned promotion to the First Division for the first time, the club expressed interest in establishing a new stadium away from Kenilworth Road.

Even back then, the stadium was modest in comparison to other First and Second Division clubs, and its location made major redevelopment problematic, another one of the

Top Facts about Luton Town.

Since then, the club has made repeated attempts to relocate. Leaving Luton for Milton Keynes, a nearby new town, has been proposed multiple times without success, most recently in the 1980s.

Kenilworth Road was sold to Luton Council in 1989, and the club has since leased it. 

The Secretary of State rejected a planning proposal for a new 20,000-seater indoor stadium, the "Kohlerdome," suggested by chairman David Kohler in 1995, and Kohler left shortly after.

The club's then-owners announced a controversial plan to relocate to a site near M1 Junction 12 near Harlington and Toddington in 2007.

Former chairman Cliff Bassett filed a planning application on the club's behalf; however, it was withdrawn nearly soon after the club was taken over in 2008. The club initiated an independent feasibility assessment in 2009 to find a suitable place for relocation.

The club did not rule out redeveloping Kenilworth Road and began talks with Luton Borough Council in October 2012 to buy the stadium back.

By 2015, these plans had been abandoned in favor of relocation, with managing director Gary Sweet stating 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."

The club revealed in April 2016 that it would build and move into a 17,500-seat stadium on the Power Court site in central Luton. On January 16, 2019, Luton Borough Council granted outline planning permission for this stadium, which had the potential to expand to 23,000 seats.

The club said in March 2021 that it would make a number of revisions to the original plan to reflect changes brought on by the Covid-19 epidemic, but that the new stadium's capacity would remain at 23,000 and that it would open in 2024.

Luton Town Colors & Logo

Luton's nickname, "the Hatters," recalls the town's long history with the hat-making industry, which has been thriving there since the 17th century. Originally, the nickname was a variant on the now-rarely observed straw-plaiters. Hatters are the nickname for the club's supporters, one of the Top Facts about Luton Town.

The club is known for two distinct color schemes: white and black (first adopted permanently in 1920) and orange, navy, and white (first used in 1973 and being worn by the squad in the 2015–16 season). Prior to 1920, when white shirts and black shorts were initially used, Luton wore a combination of light blue and white.

Luton wore these colors for over half a century, with the color of the socks changing between white and black, until the start of the 1973–74 season, when they switched to orange, navy, and white. In 1979, Luton switched to white shirts, shorts, and socks, with the orange and navy design reduced to a trim; navy shorts were added in 1984.

The squad wore this color scheme until the 1999–2000 season when they switched to orange shirts and blue shorts. Luton wore white shirts and black shorts from 2000 to 2008, with orange as a trim until 2007.

Following the results of a club poll, the white, navy, and orange color scheme of the 1980s was brought back in 2008, although the colors were changed again a year later, this time to a mostly orange strip with white shorts. In 2011, navy shorts were reintroduced.

During the 2015–16 season, Luton wore orange shirts, navy shorts, and white socks. A new emblem reflecting the new colors was introduced in 1973, coinciding with the club's move to the orange kit.

The new logo featured a stylized orange football with the letters "Lt" surrounded by navy blue text spelling out the club's name. The "rainbow" badge, first adopted in 1994, had the town crest beneath an orange and blue bow that curved around to meet two footballs on either side of the shield, with the club name beneath.

This emblem was used until 2005, when it was replaced by one that was very similar to the 1987 version, but with black text instead of blue and a straw boater instead of the outstretched arm portrayed in the previous design.

The year the club was founded, 1885, was added in 2008. The emblem was changed again during the 2009–10 preseason, with the town crest's red being replaced with orange to better reflect the club's colors.

Another one of the Top Facts about Luton Town is that the song "Hatters, Hatters," written by the Luton team and the Bedfordshire-based musical comedy group the Barron Knights, was released by the club in 1974.

Eight years later, "We're Luton Town," a song featuring Luton players' vocals, was published to commemorate the club's promotion to the First Division.

Luton Town History

On April 11, 1885, Luton Town Football Club was founded. Prior to this, the town had many clubs, the most notable of which were Luton Wanderers and Luton Excelsior. George Deacon, a Wanderers player, proposed the formation of a 'Town' club, which would include all of Luton's greatest players, one of the

Top Facts about Luton Town.

On the 13th of January 1885, Wanderers secretary Herbert Spratley jumped on Deacon's suggestion and organized a secret meeting at the St Matthews school rooms in High Town.

The Wanderers committee decided to rename the club Luton Town, which did not go well with the general public opinion. The club was known as 'Luton Town (late Wanderers)' in the local press.

When George Deacon and John Charles Lomax called a public meeting to organize a 'Luton Town Football Club,' Spratley objected, claiming that there was already a Luton Town club, and the mood was hostile when the meeting took place in the town hall on April 11, 1885.

The meeting, which was attended by the majority of the town's football fans, learned about Spratley's private January meeting and voted against his objections.

G H Small's proposal to form a 'Luton Town Football Club,' seconded by E H Lomax, was carried. A club committee was formed by ballot, and the team colors of pink and dark blue shirts and caps were agreed upon.

Luton relocated eight years after arriving at Dunstable Road, settling at their current home, Kenilworth Road, in 1905.

When the captain and left winger Bob Hawkes was selected to play for England against

Ireland

on February 16, 1907, he became Luton's first international player.

Luton was demoted to the Southern League's Second Division after a disappointing 1911–12 season; the club was promoted back two years later.

Luton played in The London Combination from 1915 to 1916 after the First World War broke out, and then filled each season with friendly matches. Ernie Simms, a forward, was a key player at this time.

Under manager Dally Duncan, one of Luton's best teams emerged in the early 1950s. Gordon Turner, who went on to become Luton's all-time leading goalscorer, Bob Morton, who holds the record for most club appearances, and England international Syd Owen were all on the team.

Luton also had two England international goalkeepers, Ron Baynham and Bernard Streten, as well as Irish internationals Seamus Dunne, Tom Aherne, and George Cummins during this time.

This team made its first appearance in the

Premier League

in 1955–56, finishing second on goal average behind Birmingham City.

Following a few years of success, including an FA Cup Final appearance against Nottingham Forest in 1958–59, Owen was named FWA Footballer of the Year at the end of the season.

The following season, however, the club was relegated, and by 1964–65, they were playing in the fourth division.

The club was back in the top tier in 1973 and relegated again at the end of the 1991–92 season, and four years later was relegated to the third tier. Luton stayed in the Second Division until the end of the 2000–01 season, when they were demoted.

The squad earned promotion from the fourth division at the first try under the supervision of Joe Kinnear, who had come halfway through the previous season.

In 2003, "controversial" owner John Gurney shocked the club by canceling Kinnear's contract shortly after his arrival in May; Gurney replaced Kinnear with Mike Newell before departing Luton as the club entered administration. In the 2004–05 season, Newell's team won the new third-tier Football League One.

While Kevin Blackwell and then former player Mick Harford took Newell's position, the team was demoted twice in a row, beginning in 2006–07, and spent the final months of the 2007–08 season in administration, resulting in a ten-point reduction from the season's total. 

The Football Association and the Football League then deducted the team a total of 30 points from its 2008–09 record for financial irregularities extending back several years.

These deductions proved to be too much to overcome, but Luton came back from a late goal in the Football League Trophy final to win the cup for the first time.

Luton was relegated to the Conference Premier in 2009–10, a tournament in which the club had never previously competed. During their time as a non-League team, the club attempted the promotion play-offs three times in four seasons, with five different managers.

Luton Town defeated Premier League club

Norwich City

1–0 in the fourth round of the FA Cup in 2012–13, becoming the first non-League team to defeat a Premier League side since 1989, one of the Top Facts about Luton Town.

Luton Town won the Conference Premier title with three games to spare in the 2013–14 season, securing a return to the Football League for the 2014–15 season under the guidance of John Still.

Luton was promoted back to League One as runners-up the next season after reaching the League Two play-offs in 2016–17 when they were beaten 6–5 on aggregate by Blackpool in the semi-final.

Luton Town won League One for the second consecutive season in 2018–19, sealing the club's return to the Championship following a 12-year absence.

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