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MEET THE OPPONENTS: Luton Town

We take a closer look at the Hatters

6 September 2017

Luton Town are next up as we continue to inspect this season’s opponents.

Nickname: The Hatters

Club Colours: Orange & White

Who are they?

Formed in 1885 after a merger of Luton Town Wanderers and Excelsior, the Hatters were founding members of the Southern League before moving into the Football League in 1897. Financial pressures saw them drop out shortly after, before they rejoined the league in 1920.

Luton slowly climbed the leagues and eventually reached the top flight in 1995. This spawned a few years of success, which also saw the Hatters reach the 1958 FA Cup final, but relegation followed the following year with the club finding themselves in the fourth tier by 1965. A similar climb back up the divisions followed and Luton were back in the top flight by 1982.

Cup 1958

They stayed there until 1992 before a decline started, with Luton finding themselves out of the Football League by 2009. They bounced back into League Two in 2014 and have stayed there ever since.

Did You Know?

+ Luton’s only major honour came in 1988 as they lifted the League Cup following a late comeback victory over Arsenal.

+ The club’s nickname - The Hatters - comes from the hat-making trade which has been prominent in Luton since the 17th century.

+ In 1935/36, Luton striker Joe Payne netted ten goals during a game against Bristol City which re-mains a Football League record for goals in a game.

Joe Payne

How did they get on last season?

The Hatters reached the League Two play-offs last season, missing out on promotion by eight points but sealing a fourth place finish. They faced Blackpool in the play-off semi-final and in an entertaining encounter missed out on a place in the final thanks to a late comeback from the Seasiders.

Who’s in charge?

Nathan Jones is in charge at Kenilworth Road after taking over the reigns in 2016. A former full-back, Jones played for Southend, Yeovil and Brighton among others before retiring in 2012.

Nathan Jones

His first step into coaching came when he took over as U21 coach at Charlton, before joining Brighton as Assistant Head Coach. He briefly took charge of the Seagulls on a caretaker basis in 2014, before being handed his first permanent manager’s job two years later at Luton.

How has their summer transfer business looked?

Three key players have departed Kenilworth Road, with midfielder Cameron McGeehan, striker Jack Marriott and winger Jake Gray all moving on to pastures new.

But Jones has brought in several new faces, including the experienced Alan McCormick and prolific striker James Collins, Marek Stech has joined from Sparta Prague with former United loanee Jack Stacey also moving to Kenilworth Road. The Hatters also swooped to sign Cambridge United midfielder Luke Berry only a day after he handed in a transfer request. Andrew Shinnie, James Shea and Elliott Lee are Luton’s other additions this summer.

Jack Stacey

They’ve Played For Both

Winger Alex Gilliead spent time on loan at both United and Luton where he impressed with some lively performances. The Newcastle United man joined the Blues in September 2015 and stayed with the club until the end of the 2015/16 season. Gilliead made 35 appearances and scored five times at Brunton Park, before joining Luton on a half-season loan in 2016. He played 18 times for Luton, scoring once.

Alex Gilliead

Current Hatters striker Jordan Cook also spent time with the Cumbrians as he scored four times during a loan spell in 2012.

Memorable Meeting - Luton 3-4 Carlisle (24 November 2015)

A late comeback saw United pick up a valuable three points at Luton. Jack Marriott handed the Hatters the lead with Charlie Wyke levelling on the stroke of half-time. Josh McQuoid and Danny Green then put the hosts in the driving seat before the Cumbrians fought back. Strikes from Alex Gilliead, Jabo Ibehre and Derek Asamoah saw the Blues snatch the three points at the death.

Watch the amazing highlights from that game here:

When Did We Last Meet?

Our last meeting came on 14 March 2017 as the two sides played out a goalless draw at Brunton Park.

Earlier in the season, we drew 1-1 at Kenilworth Road after Jason Kennedy’s opener was cancelled out by Danny Hylton.

When Do We Meet Next?

We make the trip to Kenilworth Road on Tuesday 21 November before the Hatters visit Brunton Park on 21 April.


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