Disclaimer: The views expressed in this piece are of the author and do not necessarily represent Vendetta Sports Media. Please don’t sue us Danny. We don’t have any money. Or Herbalife.
Most teams have that one player all fans agree was a complete waste of space, normally based on a number of poor performances. For instance, Juan Sebastian Veron was a world-beater in Italy’s Serie A, but ask any Manchester United fan and they’ll tell you he was a complete bust. At £28.1 million in 2001 Veron was a British transfer record signing but failed to live up to expectations at United and later on Chelsea before returning to Serie A.
At Luton, that player was Danny Spiller. The difference between Veron and Spiller however was at least Veron played. Danny Spiller joined Luton in the summer of 2012 on a free transfer having left League One Gillingham. It was a marquee signing for manager Paul Buckle along with Ronnie Henry and a number of others as he tried to build a side capable of returning Luton to the football league from the Blue Square Premier as it was then known.
It didn’t exactly work out for Spiller though as he was rapidly injured after signing terms, leading many to believe he had not fully recovered from the injury which ended his time at Gillingham. During his year at the club, he didn’t play a single minute of competitive football and many Luton fans on message boards suggested that he may have used underhanded methods to assist in fooling a medical knowing it would never be a true representation of the extent of his injury, but nothing has ever been proven.
The lack of playing time wasn’t what bothered most Luton fans though. Sure it’d have been nice if he’d played, but his social media parading of Herbalife was what sent most over the edge and when other players started jumping on board Spiller became public enemy number one. The global nutrition and weight management company, which recently had a complaint filed to the FTC after some distributors (independent contractors) claimed it could help prevent and treat the coronavirus by boosting the immune system, was only short of becoming a club sponsor with the amount of players tweeting their product. There was even a rumor he was witnessed sleeping in his Herbalife sponsored vehicle in a gym car park when he should have been working towards regaining his fitness. Again nothing was proven.
Adam Watkins was a young, promising midfielder at the time and jumped on the Herbalife wagon as one of Spillers recruits. However, while Spiller was onstage in Cologne Germany in October 2013 being cheered on for earning £20,000 a month through the company Watkins was dealing with life out of Football after being released by the club. He never made it back to the Pro level and continues to ply his trade to this day in the semi-professional echelon of the English game. Meanwhile, Danny Spiller flies first class to Herbalife events all around the world and is a member of their ‘Presidents Team’.
There were also stories circulating that he was caught laughing about ‘mugging off the club’ during his injury that again can’t be proved, but a lot can be garnered from Luton CEO Gary Sweet’s differing response to Spiller and Garry Richards who also joined Luton in the summer of 2012. Richards was also on the Herbalife train and like Spiller failed to play a competitive game for the club. Sweet said about the defender “We do have a strong duty of care to players who are fully committed to the cause and just because he hasn’t appeared on the Kenilworth Road pitch in a game for us doesn’t mean to say he’s not committed.” Meanwhile, he has this to say about Spiller, “Danny Spiller is on holiday and when he gets back we will sort it out. We’ve got a meeting.” Chalk and Cheese.
There have been a number of twitter polls that have named him the worst Luton player of the decade which is quite the achievement considering Pavel Besta, Collin Samuel and Paul Carden have all played for us in said decade. Carden even had double-digit appearances in Town colors which remains baffling to this day. I do have one slight grievance though about Spiller being named worst player of the decade. He never actually played so how can we call him a player? Maybe it should be changed to the worst Luton signing of the decade. That is probably more accurate.
Editors note: I did try to get a few photos of Danny in action for Luton to accompany this piece but apparently just like the Raiders chances of winning a Super Bowl with Derek Carr as Quarterback they are non-existent.