Saturday 25 December 2010

Luton Town

Luton Town currently play in the Blue Square Bet Premier having been relegated into the Conference, after starting the 2008/09 season on minus thirty points, as a punishment for previous financial irregularities. I went to Kenilworth Road several times in the early eighties to watch a former Dulwich Hamlet player Meka Nwajiobi play for them.

These photos were taken on Friday 21st May, at the end of last season, for the Bedfordshire Cup Final between Arlesey Town & Leighton Town, which went to both extra time and penalties. The ground had changed, in parts, since my previous visit way back in 1985, for a notorious FA Cup game, but some areas still looked the same.

An approach road to the ground, from the town centre, is named after the club.

This is the entrance to the ground, from Kenilworth Road.

In the corner is a club shop, closed for the minor non-Luton match tonight.

Here we are behind the Kenilworth Stand. The ground is not open yet, as I'm here a bit early, so we will go for a stroll around the outside.

Behind the stand to the far right of the above photo is this tight alley.

This is one of the many side streets around th ground. This one I remember, in particular, from the Millwall match, a quarter of a century ago. There were two full builders skips in it, right by the ground, which provided much amunition post-match.

With lots of fans piling back into the ground through this very gate,as I recall.

Round the corner you can see how hemmed in the ground is by this entrance.

And here we turn the next corner, as well.

It has a bar area, named after a famous former director.

Across the round, through the gates on the right, is another entrance.

Here it is, under the road above.

I managed to have a quick peek in the entrance, with lots of old photos adorning the walls.

Here is just one of them.

Club name & crest on display.

Time to turn round, & head back down the alley.

A peek through a small gap, to the stand opposite, from outside.

Blimey, that looks very posh for a small non-league side!

Now we're on our way in, at the Kenilworth Road end.

The turnstiles were not open tonight, just some county FA officials on this gate, only the front section of the main stand was accessible for spectators this evening.

Hmm...not sure how many of their fans will agree with these sentiments from the League..

The 'naughty list' still on display, even though this is supposed to be non-league.

And the list of things you're not supposed to do.

Nice and cheap for the final.

Here we are in the area leading up to & under the main stand. As I am not able to do a circuit of the ground I will just take you round the bits of it I can, in the order I took them.

Here we are in front of the main stand, at the Oak Road Stand end of the ground, which is currently the away end.

From the same spot we turn round & look along the lower section, in front of the main stand.

At the other end is the Kenilworth Stand, the section of stand to the right in this photo is the family section, which is known as the David Preece Stand, he was a former player of the Hatters.

At the other end of the main stand, we look along the front section.

This is the scoreboard, above the Oak Road Stand.

In this shot we see both the Kenilworth Stand, & the adjacent David Preece Stand.

Here we try to look into the upper section of the main stand, I couldn't go up the steps to take some snaps, as a steward had his beady eye on me, & stopped me trying to do if that will deter me!

This is the small part of the stand we saw through the small hole opposite, earlier; with the family stand above it.

Down the side opposite is the Bobbers Stand, which is now all executive boxes.

They run all the way along it.

The dugouts are also on that side of the stadium.

I wander back down to the Oak Road end of the lower main stand, and there are no stewards in sight of me. I walk through an exit, which leads me up into the corner of the main stand above...

From here we look across to the Oak Road Stand, the end in the news only a few weeks before, as York City players cowered, in fear for their safety.

So much for no alcohol in football grounds!

Some views must be rather restricted in this old ground.

This is the view from right at the back.

Looking along the front section again, tunnel in view.

From the same corner, looking over to the Bobbers Stand.

And across the Oak Road Stand again.

Here I am in the corner of the Oak Road Stand.

From this corner we look across the pitch.

Moving across this is the closest picture I get of the Bobbers Stand.

Here I move toward the back of the Oak Road Stand.

Behind the goal we look over to the main stand.

And directly down the pitch.

Left again, to the Bobbers.

Moving back to toward my designated main stand area.

Now in the lower area I lift my camera up, & take a snap of the upper section.

Similar shot, but pointing the other way.

Looking over to more of the executive boxes.

Teams lining up before kick off.

Some of the well-known London based groundhoppers jotting down the teams.

It might be on a notebook...

...or on a newspaper...but NEVER in the actual programme! ;-)

Up above were what I like to term the 'freeloading blazers'!

The meet & greet...

Pre-match huddle, as the lights go on.

A reasonable crowd spread across the lower section, as kick off is nigh...

& the other way.

Pre-match posing...

And now it's kick off.

Pylon lit up high over the local streets.

With another pylon offering a bit of a restricted view.

Extremely restricted, depending on your seat! ;-)

The game in progress.

At half time I go awandering again, this is the Kenilworth End.

From that corner I look back along the main stand.

Under the main stand is this grandly named establishment, after their club chairman.

Proud to be associated with MY favourite airline too!

Here is the inside of the Nick Own Lounge.

Back out for the second half, as night sets in.

And the Oak Road Stand by night.

Now for a few shots of the game:

That's the end of extra time!

Looking very tired before the penalties.

Come on, up you get!

And the winners are....

..not Leighton Town, by the look of things!

But the Arlesey lot look happy enough.

This is the official photographer from the County FA. Hope he's been CRB checked! ;-)

The victorious Arlesey Town side.

It's been a long night...would the last person turn off the lights!


Anonymous said...

Nice photo's, not nice is the continued non league jibes, but I forgive you, as hopefully we will be back in the league this year, Luton have been looking for a new sradium since the end of World war 2, but I do love the old ground once your inside, it's got history inside it, players like Malcolm Macdonald, Syd Owen, Graham French, Mick Harford have played there, teams like Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs, Leeds, Chelsea etc have been beaten numerous times, Joe Payne scored a record TEN goals on that pitch in 1936 against Bristol Rovers in a 12-0 win. 30,069 officially attended the 1959 FA cup final tie between Luton Town and Blackpool, the club has played in the top flight for 16 seasons in that ground, going from the Southern League in 1905, through all divisions before falling out of the football league in 2009, it's a great club, Eric Morecombe probably haunts it, lol!

Unknown said...

Thanks for your thorough tour of the old place, I still love it for all it's faults.

Rabbler said...

Anon: Thanks for the reminiscing...but you ARE non-league! ;-)
Paul: Glad you enjoyed them too, I know how you feel... "It's a dump, but it's MY dump!" sort of thing!

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