If you ever saw Luton Town as being one of our rivals, it was due to fortune, circumstance, and convenience if anything. Our first-ever encounters with the Hatters came in the LDV Trophy; them somewhere up there in the Football League and us middling around in the Conference. While they were keenly-fought contests, there was nothing to suggest animosity or anything like that. No, that started to emerge during the 2009-10 Blue Square Premier; Boro’ daring to stand in their way of an instant return to the Football League.
The Hatters took a while to regain their League status, to be fair. When they did, it was the same year that we were relegated from League One. So, we took up residence together in League Two for a handful of seasons; renewing what felt like a rivalry. The problem is that, historically, we don’t have any beef with them. With them being only down the A505, locality added some interest to proceedings. As did Ben Kennedy‘s 2017 scorcher at Kenilworth Road. We won’t talk about our 2017-8 trip there, however…
And now, as you read this, they could well be a Premier League side.
Luton Town: The Facts
1 Maple Road, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU4 8AW
Formed in 1885, the Hatters have the interesting honour of becoming the first southern football team to become 100% professional; taking the momentous step of paying all their players from 1891 onwards. It was a rapid rise to prominence for the club too. Two years in the Southern League and one in the United League (whatever that was) preceded them joining the Football League in 1897. Mind you, they kept the United League presence going at the same time for two further seasons concurrently.
In 1900, Luton Town failed in its bid for re-election and had to rejoin the Southern League. It wouldn’t be until 1920, when the new Divisions Three North and South were created, that the Hatters got their return to the League fold. After that, it was plain sailing for the rest of the 20th century. In the following years, it was a mixed tale for the club; a tale with, to be fair, more highs than lows.
In 1955, the Hatters were promoted to the top flight for the first time; adding an FA Cup final appearance into the mix in 1959. The following year saw them relegated, however, and the club had to suffer the woe of relegation as far down as Division Four during the 1960s. By the time the 1970s arrived, they were now back in the second tier and returned to Division One again in 1974. It was also by this point that the iconic Eric Morecambe became a director of the club. Not that relevant, but noteworthy.
After an instant return to Division Two, Luton Town won their third promotion to Division One in 1982. The 1980s were a bit of a purple patch for them if we’re truthful; an FA Cup semi-final outing (1985), a League Cup success (1988), and another League Cup final appearance (1989) all notable occasions. They stayed in the top flight in 1989 on goal difference too. But their sense of timing was well off in 1992 when, on the eve of the Premier League’s formation, the Hatters were relegated to the second tier.
How do we know the Hatters?
We’ll skip forward to the late 2000s and a period of turbulence for the Hatters. By this point, admittedly, we’d already met them a couple of times in the LDV Trophy. But off-field issues saw them hit with a 10-point deduction during the 2007-8 League One campaign. Such a thing never helps a team’s cause and, naturally, they were relegated to League Two. Worse would follow when, the following season, they were walloped with a 30-point deduction and pretty much condemned to non-league football.
How to get to Luton Town – Travel Information – Distance: 16 miles
Getting to Luton by road isn’t as much as ordeal as actually being in Luton. But local traffic can have the potential to ruin the best-laid plans. From Stevenage, it’s a short hop across the North Herts/Beds divide; going to Hitchin on the A602 and following it to the A505.
You can, if you wish, cut off a corner by turning left onto Charlton Road. This will lead onto Willow Lane, which then bears left out onto the A505. At the next two roundabouts, remain on the A505 and then – at the third – take the third exit for the A5228.
After about a third of a mile, it’s a slight right at the Jolly Topers pub and the first exit at the roundabout that follows straight away afterwards. Go across the next roundabout and then turn right onto the A6 as you approach the railway. Keep on the A6 until you get a chance to rejoin the A505. This involves two right turns at a sort-of-roundabout-type-thing.
You’ll pass the EG VIVA petrol station on your left, after which you need to turn left onto Hazelbury Crescent. The ground is down here.
There are a number of parking options for Luton Town; many (if not all) of which are in the centre of town. You can find out more about the options open to you on their offy site.
Services to: LONDON ST PANCRAS (for LONDON KINGS CROSS)
It’s around a mile to walk from Luton station and see the sights. Leave the station and head north, taking the stairs. After crossing over the railway from whatever platform you arrive on, turn left onto Midland Road. As you come down here, take a slight right and continue onto the A6.
Unlike the car directions, you aren’t constrained by the road layout. Turn left under the railway and get yourself onto the right hand side of the road. That’s because you’ll be taking Gas Works Way to cut through past Lidl. This brings you out onto Francis Road in front of the EG VIVA petrol station. Cross here and head down Hazelbury Crescent.
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