Luton Town Football Club. A brief history.
In January 1885 Luton Wanderers changed their name to "Luton Town" at a secret meeting of their committee. Although a “Town” club was needed, the secret manner in which it was achieved was frowned upon. John Charles Lomax and George Deacon arranged a public meeting at the Town Hall for the 11th April 1885 to form a “Town” Club by democratic means. This was opposed by the instigators of the secret January meeting who said there was already a “Town” club and there could not be two. The tense meeting at the Town Hall, attended by most local football lovers, heard from many speakers. The overwhelming majority voted down the secretly formed club and for the creation of the Luton Town we know today.
Early games consisted of friendlies, but a strong committee pushed behind the scenes and took the foresighted decision to pay three players in 1890, the first club in the south to do so.
Founder member of the Southern League in 1894 the Town finished runners-up to Millwall in each of the first two seasons but the ambitious club wanted more and made a bid for election to the Football League. Their initial proposition failed and a season had to be spent in the United League before they were accepted into Football League Division Two in 1897.
Unfortunately after three years of increasing struggle, in a predominantly northern based league, the club took the brave decision to rejoin a, now much stronger, Southern League which eventually formed a new Division Three of the Football League in 1920.
By the mid-1930’s, such was the growth in population in Luton and surrounding area, that the Board of the club felt that they could afford to push the boat out and spend some money on the side, safe in the knowledge that spectator support would be forthcoming.
With this decision taken, great changes were made within the club and players that would normally have been outside their reach were taken on and, as predicted, the crowds increased rapidly. Promotion to Division Two was narrowly missed in 1936 but the team made no mistake the following season when they won the Division Three championship on the back of a superb home record and the 55 goals of Joe Payne.
Further promotion in 1955, buoyed by the goals of record goalscorer Gordon Turner and the versatile talents of Bob Morton, saw the Hatters in the top flight for five seasons which included a trip to Wembley in the 1959 F A Cup final. Sadly, this prefaced a slump which saw the team drop to Division Four by 1965 but they then bounced back to enjoy ten years at the top after winning the championship of the old Division Two in style in 1982, aided by players such as Ricky Hill, Brian Stein and Mal Donaghy under the managership of David Pleat.
April 24th 1988 will forever go down as a red letter day for all Luton supporters as the Town won the first major trophy in their long history with Brian Stein sweeping home a last minute winner as mighty Arsenal were beaten 3-2 in the Littlewoods Cup final.
An artificial surface laid at Kenilworth Road in 1985 was ripped up six years later just as the club was about to be relegated from Division One and the riches of the Premier League, which the Hatters were founder members of but unable to compete in, commenced.
Since that time the club has enjoyed F.A.Cup semi-finals and promotion to the Championship but on the other side of the coin a draconian points deduction saw the club cruelly relegated from the Football League in 2009 and despite valiant attempts to return it proved more difficult to regain past glories than originally anticipated. In 2014, however, after five years away, the team won promotion back to the Football League in glorious fashion.
Since returning to the Football League the Hatters have made strong attempts to achieve further promotions which finally led to a highly successful 2017/18 campaign when the team finished runners-up to Accrington. This was followed by a scintillating 2018/19 season when the championship of League One was achieved and with it Championship football for the first time since 2007.
Being a Luton Town supporter has been anything but dull!