1. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2006
    Location:
    Peoples Republic of South Texas
    Today, Luton Town FC [the Hatters] qualified for the mini tournament to be the 3rd Championship club to gain promotion to the Premier League.

    Now there's no secret on here that I have a first love in LTFC, although it was kind of one-sided. If there was ANY interest on the part of the club to show interest in the fairly good sized American military present 10 or so miles away from Kenilworth Road, it was certainly a suprise to me. I was a season-ticket holder, and routinely showed up with fellow GIs. Supporters around us enjoyed our company, but the club ... .

    When I first attended a Luton match, they were the bullies of the 4th division. I'm sure they had guaranteed promotion by early April. There were two brilliant players on that side that belonged at least two levels up -- Grahame French and Bruce Rioch. The former faded out after a couple of imprisonments. The latter had several seasons in the old First Division, a decent international careet, and a nice stretch as a top flight manager.

    I left England in 1968 and returned in 1971. By that I missed the short LTFC career of Malcolm McDonald. I did get a chance to see him in my first match back. He was playing for Newcastle then, and he still owned the ground. A while later, I saw him score 5 goals at Wembley for England [Alf Ramsey never chose him again.]

    About a year later, I started taking the train with other Yanks to London to watch the 1st Division. The easiest ground to get to -- and get away from after the match -- Highbury had an adjacent tube station. 99% of folks leaving the match as it ended heading south, and us and about 30 or so other folks, took the tube to Cockfosters where we left our autos. Highbury was always in the top 2 or 3, but were difficult to watch. They had a brilliant defense, and once they scored a goal at home, it was all over. It was after we saw them score in the 3rd or 4th minute and then shut down the pitch for the next 90 or so, that we swore off the Gunners and went back to Fulham.

    It took me until the 90s to get back to England. Luton was in the First Division then and doing well. I saw one match there, and listened to the radio Saturday afternoons to keep track. A short time after I arrived, Luton started their slide. Two seasons in a row they kept their top-flight status on the last day.

    When the Premier League was started, everyone who was in the First Division the previous year was a "charter member." To drop the membership, two extra clubs were relegated -- one of which was Luton. I believe that Luton remains the ONLY Charter Member of the Premier League never to play a minute in the Premier League.

    The town is still looking for a new ground. Expanding rail lines cut a lot of attendance, and a money shark forced the club into forced relegation TWICE on the same charge. By this time I was back in the states, following via the press. Eventually, the club was relegated out of the league all together. They reached the promotion finals a couple of times until they finally made it to the Championship.

    All this is because this is the first time that Luton have an opportunity to enjoy its "Charter Membership." I'm hoping they do well in the playoffs -- although I think Forest is probably going to win. It would be nice to watch Fulham play Luton on the Telly. I wish them well, but I'm always Fulham. Why? Because it was in SW6 where I met people who wanted me to support an English Club.

    Up the Town!!!
     
    #1
    SoCalJoe, nevzter, dtowndough and 2 others like this.
  2. dtowndough

    dtowndough Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2011
    Pulling for Luton!
     
    #2
    SoCalJoe likes this.
  3. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2006
    Location:
    Peoples Republic of South Texas
    that's my lad, sir!
     
    #3
  4. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2011
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    The Hatters are the decided underdogs of the Championship playoffs, behind Sheffield United, Huddersfield Town and favorites Nottingham Forest. I’ll be watching and rooting for them too. I’d love to see the likes of ManUre, Citeh, Scousers and Scum sauntering into the bandbox that is Kenilworth Road. It’ll feel like an FA Cup tie for them every night.
     
    #4
  5. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2011
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    Well Don, not what The Hatters were hoping for in the first home leg. Now they’ve got to find a way to win at John Smith’s Stadium to get to Wembley. A tall order, for sure, but they’ve got the moxy to pull it off. But The Terriers will no doubt be emboldened by the draw at Kenilworth Road today, but you know what Yogi said…it ain’t over til it’s over. Still hoping they can pull it off.
     
    #5
    MicahMan and HatterDon like this.
  6. Simon Grinsted

    Simon Grinsted New Member

    Joined:
    Saturday
    Lets not forget that one of our favorite sons : Malcolm MacDonald, a Fulham native, a Fulham player and a Fulham Manager/Coach also played for Luton (before us). Who wouldn't support them in the playoffs. Its a club that deserves to experience the Premier League. Respect to their fans too.
     
    #6
    BarryWhite likes this.
  7. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2006
    Location:
    Peoples Republic of South Texas
    I left England just before we signed SuperMac. By the time I got back to Old Blighty, he had signed with Newcastle, and ripped us a new one at Kenilworth Road. I was suprised to see how short and squat he was, but he was fast AND quick.

    Welcome aboard, Simon. We're a small, disturbed group, but an entertaining one.
     
    #7
    BarryWhite likes this.
  8. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2006
    Location:
    Peoples Republic of South Texas
    Oh, and I forgot Vic Halom who played for both teams and was idolized by both.
     
    #8
  9. jumpkutz

    jumpkutz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2011
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    Well, shoot. Just couldn’t get one across the goal line. Hopefully they can hang onto Nathan Jones for one more season and their luck will get improve. Tough one Don.
     
    #9
  10. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2006
    Location:
    Peoples Republic of South Texas
    The Luton Town supporters could not be more proud of their side and their gaffer. I know they're a "small side," but they shook things up and gave me the oppertunity to "enjoy" my usual situation: rooting for a small club that really just wants to survive.

    Very pleased with both Fulham and Luton Town. Now, I'm ready for a mid-table finish next season -- for both clubs.
     
    #10
    BarryWhite likes this.
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