Sign up to Miguel Delaney’s Reading the Game newsletter sent straight to your inbox for free
Sign up to Miguel’s Delaney’s free weekly newsletter
Thanks for signing up to the
As I sit here writing this, I’ve just seen a post seemingly confirming that the muddled assortment of orange and navy seats in a section of the Kenilworth Road main stand have been replaced by some brand-new, but uniform, replacements.
Luton writer Kevin Crowe describes this as “like seeing a dead family pet” immediately underneath.
The almost 120-year-old stadium has become something of a novelty in the Premier League, with the Oak Road Entrance slowly becoming a tired joke as the summer progressed and promotion was confirmed.
Away fans will still take pictures and make TikToks as they make their way through “back gardens” to watch top-division English football.
Luton Town and chief executive Gary Sweet have spent around £10m upgrading the ”old girl”, to make it “fit” for the top division.
The changes have left the ground almost like a live art-exhibition for the clash between the corporate Premier League and the traditional roots of the beautiful game.
VAR cameras are crammed into any available nook or cranny, and almost every room or cupboard inside the ground has been claimed for media purposes.
Promotion has brought the demise of the towering blue metal turnstiles erected in front of the Kenilworth Stand in the 1980s, but a new food area now lives nearby serving £4.50 craft ale from a nearby brewery and curried goat from local legend Norm.
A big piece of corrugated metal has been put up to block the view of the pitch in a section of the concourse, presumably to prevent any sight of the pitch when potentially carrying a beer.
This particular change has especially aggrieved the match-goers who met for their half-time match analysis at this precise spot for the whole time I’ve been going to games, before heading back to their seats spread out across the stand.
A wholly positive change is that a section previously used in the concourse for food and drink has been flipped round in order to create a section for disabled supporters, with improving accessibility in the ground one of the key aims of the improvements.
There is also of course the brand new Bobbers Stand, which has increased capacity and restored The Kenny to having four proper sides for the first time since 1986.
On the pitch, the ground again hosts top-division football after not seeing it for over 30 years.
The Oak Stand at Kenilworth Road had an unusual entrance
Luton were relegated from the old Division One on the final day of the 1991-92 season, with two points enough to prevent The Hatters from participating in the inaugural Premier League season.
After initial niceties and pleasantries about our miraculous promotion, calls now echo about potentially rivaling Derby’s points record, or if the club can even be taken seriously given our relative lack of spending.
Our spending, labeled modest by many, saw us repeatedly break our transfer record and invest more into our squad than all our other transfers ever combined.
Some have even suggested our business or performance so far somehow mean we don’t “deserve” to grace their hallowed division.
It would be easy to think we’d be able to count the number of games we have played this season on more than one hand.
After being on a rollercoaster from the Championship, to non-league, to Premier League, and after nearly seeing the club cease to exist on more than one occasion, Luton fans make no secret that we are here to simply enjoy the impossibility that Gary Sweet and Luton Town 2020 have delivered us.
To achieve what we have, in the timeframe we have, and with our budget – this is a feat which sits among the most impressive in the whole of English football and which surely will not be repeated any time soon.
This year, no matter our points tally, will deliver us a new stadium and improved infrastructure alongside our calculated investment into our playing squad.
Make no mistake though, manager Rob Edwards won’t be seeing this purely as an experience-building exercise before an inevitable relegation. His Luton side have improved in each game they have played, and are used to being written off at every turn.
We might go down, but certainly not without ruffling a few feathers at least. And we’ll be a better side even if we do.
Source: Read Full Article