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Luton Town

Luton Town

Luton Town Football Club are based in Luton which is in Bedfordshire in England about 30 miles north of London. Luton is a large town with a population of 286,000. The town was founded by the Anglo-Saxons in the 6th century on the banks of the river Lea. In the 17th Century, the town became a centre for hat making and in the 1930s, the town was producing 70 million hats per year. Today, there are still a handful of hat makers, but the hat-making district has been developed into a creative quarter and the old factories have been taken over by filmmakers, architects, artisans and artists.

Factsheet

  • Stadium: Kenilworth Road 
  • Stadium Capacity: 11,265
  • Location: Luton, Bedfordshire
  • Founded: 1885
  • Nickname: The Hatters
  • Manager: Rob Edwards
  • Kit: Orange shirts, black shorts and orange socks

Supporters hold up placards and flags as they gather to welcome Luton Town football club players and staff at the start of a parade through the streets of Luton

Today, Luton is best known for having an international airport. It’s often called London Luton Airport, but it’s actually 30 miles from London. The other thing that Luton is famous for is its football club.

Luton Town Football Club was founded in 1885 from the best players from several local teams including the Luton Wanderers and Luton Excelsior. In 1891, Luton became the first fully professional club in southern England and was a founding member of the Southern Football League and then the United League and then the Football League.

Luton Town’s original ground was at Dallow Lane. The ground was next to the Dunstable to Luton railway line and players used to regularly complain about having trouble seeing the ball because of smoke from the trains. They sold their ground and moved to a stadium on Dunstable Road and then moved again to their current home, Kenilworth Road, in 1905.

An aerial picture taken on May 31, 2023 shows Luton Town's Kenilworth Road stadium, in Luton

Kenilworth Road stadium has a capacity of 10,356 and is situated in a residential area of Luton called Bury Park. The ground is surrounded by houses. In fact, the visitors’ entrances are on Oak Road and the gates to the stadium go through houses.

People sit by the entrance of the Oak Stand entrance at the Luton Town's Kenilworth Road stadium, in Luton

Luton Town’s nickname is the hatters because of Luton’s historical connection with the hat-making trade and the club badge has a traditional straw hat above the town’s crest.

The club has traditionally played in black and white or orange and blue. The kit for the new season hasn’t been released yet, but the home kit will most likely have a bright orange shirt.

Luton Town fans show their support for their club

Luton Town's biggest rivals are Watford. Watford have a better league record than Luton, though are in the league beneath them this season. However, Luton are ahead of their rivals in the M1 Derby or the Beds-Herts Derby as the matches between the clubs are known, having won 53 of the 120 competitive matches between the two clubs. Watford have only won 38 times.

Luton Town are the first professional football club to return to the top tier of English football after successive relegations down to the fifth tier of English football. Before the Premier League, the top four tiers of English football were the English Football League. Teams that played in lower leagues were described as non-League. This is a bit confusing today as the top tiers have different names, but we still use the term non-League to refer to the National League and the lower levels.

Luton was relegated from the First Division, which was the top tier in English football in 1992, the season before the Premier League was formed. This will be their first season playing in the Premier League and their first season back at the top level of English football.

The club spent four years as a non-league team. In 2013, Luton defeated the Premier League team Norwich City in their away tie and became the first non-League side to defeat a Premier League team and the first non-League side to beat a top tier team since 1989.

Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu of Luton Town

That year, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu joined the club on loan from West Ham United. He was only 19 at the time and had only made one appearance for the Hammers in the League Cup. Mpanzu was born in England to Congolese parents and represents DR Congo internationally. Luton welcomed the young midfielder and Mpanzu must have enjoyed the extra football as the following season, he signed for Luton and made the move permanent.

In 2014, Mpanzu helped Luton win the Conference Premier title and secure promotion to the Football League. That year, one of Mpanzu’s old teammates from West Ham, Dan Potts, joined the Hatters. They fought their way up through League Two and were promoted to League One in 2018. They won a second successive promotion to the Championship the following season where they grew in strength over four seasons, making the play-offs in 2022 and 2023.

Dan Potts of Luton Town celebrates after Fankaty Dabo of Coventry City misses a penalty

The top two teams from the Championship are promoted to the Premier League and the third place is won by the winner of the play-offs which sees the 3rd to 6th places play against each other. In 2022, Luton finished in 6th and were beaten in the play-offs by Huddersfield Town. In 2023, the Hatters finished in third and first beat Sunderland to face Coventry in the play-off finals. After a tense 1-1 draw, Luton beat Coventry 6-5 on penalties and Mpanzu and Potts were set to play Premier League football.

Where is Luton?

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27/11/2023
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