Luton Town have gained promotion to the Premier League after winning the Championship playoff final against Coventry. Here are 10 things to know about the Hatters which make their journey inspirational.
Thousands of fans and residents of Luton flooded the streets in celebration of the club’s promotion to the Premier League, completing a remarkable nine-year journey through every division of English football.
The penalty shootout win against Coventry at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, May 27, 2023, sends Luton Town Football Club to the Premier League for the first time in history and marks a return to the English football first division for the first time since they got relegated in the 1995/96 season.
The story is made even more remarkable by the fact that the Hatters suffered three consecutive relegations from the Championship to non-League football between the 2006/07 season and the 2008/09 season.
Luton Town started the 2009/10 season in the Conference Premier Division outside the English Football League following their relegation from League Two the season before.
They would go on to spend five consecutive seasons in the fifth tier of English football trying and failing to gain promotion back to League Two which they eventually achieved in the 2013/14 season when they won the Conference Premier title.
Their return to the English Football League in the 2014/15 season signalled the start of an unprecedented rise through the ranks and a nine-year promotion journey which has now landed them in the Premier League.
If you find the story intriguing so far, strap in, it gets way better; here are 10 interesting facts about Luton Town Football Club.
10 remarkable things to know about Luton Town
Club history and background
1. The club based in Luton, Bedfordshire, England was founded on April 11, 1885, which makes them one of the oldest clubs in English football, older than some of the historical clubs in the country such as Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea etc.
Luton Town was the first club in southern England to turn professional when they joined the English Football League in the 1897–98 season they played in the old division two where they played for three consecutive seasons after which they left in 1900 because of financial problems.
They played in the national league for 16 seasons, fluctuating between South and South 2 leagues before ultimately regaining their professional status by rejoining the Football League in 1920 as a part of the old Third Division.
They remained a professional football club in the English Football League until 2009 when they got relegated from League Two to non-league football.
Luton Town stadium
2. The club plays their home games at Kenilworth Road, an association football stadium in Luton, Bedfordshire, England where the Hatters have been based since 1905.
The stadium sits 10,356 spectators and is renowned for its cosiness which helps the home fans to further intimidate visiting teams.
According to Wikipedia, Luton Town moved to Kenilworth Road in 1905, leaving their previous home at Dunstable Road after their landlord sold the site for housing at short notice.
It was first constructed in 1905 and Luton rented the ground until 1933 when newly appointed chairman Charles Jeyes organised the purchase of the stadium. The club retained ownership of the ground until February 1989, when the freehold was sold to Luton Borough Council for £3.25 million. The club was granted a seven-year lease at peppercorn rent for its continued use. This arrangement has been extended several times, and as of 2015 is due to end in 2028.
Kenilworth Stadium is made up of five stands and the most popular one is Oak Road End, the entrance which went viral because it exemplifies the club’s modest status. Visiting fans from the largest Premier League clubs will have to enter next season through the entrance tucked inside a townhouse structure identical to neighbouring homes that crosses the backyards of said neighbours.
Historical scorelines and transfer activity
3. Luton Town have had some big wins in their history, the club's largest victories have been a 15–0 victory over Great Yarmouth Town on November 12, 1914, in the FA Cup.
They also thrashed Bristol Rovers 12-0 in the Third Division South on April 13, 1936.
Luton's heaviest loss was a 9–0 defeat against Small Heath (now Birmingham City) in the Second Division on 12 November 1898.
4. The Hatters have been known for their conservative spending because of their humble financial status. The most expensive player Luton Town have ever bought was English striker, Carlton Morris who cost a club-record €2m from Barnsley on July 6, 2022.
The 26-year-old scored 20 goals in 44 games in the Championship this season which helped The Hatters seal a playoff spot and ultimately promotion to the Premier League where he will play next season for the first time in his career.
The Hatters will most likely smash their lowly transfer record as they reinforce the squad ahead of their first-ever Premier League campaign.
On the other hand, the highest transfer fee they have received for a player is the €6.7 million fee Leicester City paid to sign full-back James Justin on June 28, 2019.
5. Luton Town supporters maintain a bitter rivalry with Hertfordshire-based Watford. The 2003 Football Fans Census showed that there was also animosity between Luton Town fans and those of West London club Queens Park Rangers.
A supporters' trust, called “Trust in Luton”, owns shares in the club and elects a representative to the club's board.
The club's official supporters' group, Luton Town Supporters' Club, merged with Trust in Luton in 2014 and since March 2014, held the legal right to veto any changes to the club's identity, including name, nickname, colours, club crest and mascot.
The club is associated with another supporters' group, the Loyal Luton Supporters Club, a group of supporters who broke away from the official supporters club.
Recent managerial history
6. The club is currently managed by Rob Edwards, a 40-year-old Welsh coach who was appointed on November 17, 2022, following the departure of Nathan Jones.
Jones in his second spell at Kenilworth Road left the club mid-season to join Premier League club Southampton who were attracted by his impressive work with Luton.
Current boss Rob Edwards has an interesting past in the sense that his last job was with Watford, Luton’s main rivals.
Edwards’ first major managerial position was as an interim coach for Wolves after the sacking of Walter Zenga, he stepped up from managing the youth team to taking charge of the senior team for two games.
He has since gone on to coach AFC Telford United, England under-16, Forest Green Rovers, Watford and now Luton Town where he will make his Premier League managerial debut next season.
Nigerian players at Luton Town
7. There are three players of Nigerian descent and origin in the current team all of whom played a part in a memorable season to secure promotion. These players are Gabriel Osho, Fred Onyedinma and Elijah Adebayo.
22:51 - 28.05.2023
Senior man Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi said goodbye to the Premier League earlier today with Leicester City joining Southampton duo Joe Aribo and Paul Onuachu in the Championship.
Gabriel Jeremiah Adedayo A. Osho is a 24-year-old central defender who was born in Reading, England on August 14, 1998, to Nigerian parents and currently plays for Luton whom he joined in 2020.
Osho played 35 games across all competitions for Luton and scored three goals from central defence this season to aid the promotion charge.
Wilfred Oluwafemi Onyedinma is a 26-year-old midfielder who was born in Lagos, Nigeria on November 24, 1996, and currently plays for Luton since joining from Wycombe in 2021.
Onyedinma was a bit-part player in the just-concluded season as he only played 21 games across all competitions, starting seven of those.
He has spent his entire career in the English Football League, shuttling between Millwall and Wycombe before leaving for Luton.
Elijah Anuoluwapo Oluwaferanmi Oluwatomi Oluwalana Ayomikulehin Adebayo is one of Luton’s key players and the second-highest scorer for the team this season.
The 25-year-old was born in England to Nigerian parents on January 7, 1998, and has just finished his third season at the club in which he scored 10 goals in 49 games across all competitions as opposed to last season when he scored 17 goals in 42 games for Luton.
FA Cup history
8. On January 26, 2013, Luton Town made history by becoming the first non-league team to knock a Premier League team out of the FA Cup since the rebranding of the first division.
26,521 people witnessed a huge shock at Carrow Road when Premier League side Norwich City were beaten at home by non-league Luton Town thanks to an 80th-minute goal by Scott Rendell.
Luton Town also became only the seventh team post-World War II to qualify for the FA Cup fifth round.
Luton Town 30-point deduction
9. Luton Town had a woeful 2007/08 season which led to them finishing bottom of League One and relegating into League Two due in no small part to the chaos behind the scenes at the club.
The club went into administration on November 22, 2007, and a 10-point deduction followed as punishment. Multiple fines followed and Luton were eventually relegated to League Two.
But further investigation revealed more financial malpractice that led to the club being handed another 10-point deduction, this time ahead of the 2008/09 campaign in League Two along with a £50,000 fine.
However, the situation soon went from bad to worse as they were hit with a further 20-point deduction.
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Born in Luton, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom, Nigerian boxer Linus Udofia celebrates promotion to Premier League.
Luton appealed against the decision, but their appeal was thrown out and as a result, were made to begin the 2008/09 season with an unprecedented −30 points.
The club tried to outplay the 30-point deficit but it proved too big of a mountain to climb despite finishing the season with 13 wins, 17 draws and 16 losses which would have been enough to be safe but the deduction saw them relegated to non-league football with 26 points.
Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu’s amazing journey
10. Congolese midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu was one of the very few constants in Luton’s nine-year journey through all the divisions of English football.
20:36 - 27.05.2023
Luton Town midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu has made history by becoming the first player ever to stay with the same club and gain promotion from non-league football through the ranks and all the way to the Premier League.
Mpanzu joined Luton in the 2013/14 season initially as a loanee from West Ham but eventually signed on permanently.
He played 23 games in his first season for the club in his one and only season of non-league football as Luton Town won the Conference Premier title.
Mpanzu helped the club attain promotion to League One after four attempts and followed it up with an immediate promotion to the Championship and has once again been instrumental to the Premier League journey.
As a result, Mpanzu became the first player to go all the way from the National League to the Premier League with the same club