Wednesday, April 12, 2017
My latest Luton Town FC-related book is now out on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format. Here's the introduction.
Introduction to Luton Town FC in the 1970s
Luton Town FC in the 1970s was, for the most part, like any other decade for a Town supporter - great highs, great lows, financial difficulties, and waiting for the inevitable sale of the club's best players.
There were, however, two things that made the 1970s slightly different. Firstly, with Eric Morecambe as a Luton Town director, the Hatters could expect a mention on the Morecambe & Wise Show every Christmas! Bearing in mind that half the country's population would be tuning in, any mention was welcome publicity and made Luton seem like a cool club to support. Secondly, in Harry Haslam and David Pleat, Luton appointed two managers who knew how to spot and nurture young talent (Haslam even tried to sign a 17-year-old Diego Maradona, when manager of Sheffield United). While, under Pleat, the likes of Ricky Hill, Brian Stein and Mal Donaghy blossomed, and they would become the base of Luton's greatest side in the 1980s. Consequently, when appointed in 1978, David Pleat became the most significant managerial appointment in Luton's history.
A best of Luton XI from the 1970s would probably have won the League, too! But Malcolm MacDonald, Don Givens and Paul Futcher were never likely to have career-long stays at Kenilworth Road. But, here is a tasty XI made up of players who played for the Town in the '70s: Jake Findlay; Kirk Stephens, Mal Donaghy, Chris Nicholl, Paul Futcher; Ricky Hill, Andy King, Peter Anderson; Malcolm MacDonald, Brian Stein, Don Givens.
In this book, you'll find my personal recollections of the 1970s from a fan who watched in awe games at Kenilworth Road as a 10-year-old, but had become cynical at promotion near misses by the end of the decade. Luckily, I also wasn't really a victim of the rampant hooliganism of the 1970s, apart from getting clobbered with a bicycle chain when a teenager, by another teenager, in a random act of violence when coming out of a testimonial game!
Anyway, if you want to support a team where everything is nice and safe then don't support Luton! Enjoy.
- Paul Rance, April, 2017.