Luton Town FC
Image: Courtesy of Luton Town FC

The football season across the pond is creeping up on us with the EFL leagues kicking off this Saturday, August 7th. That means Vendetta’s favorite Luton Town FC is back in business. While my focus may have been Hockey as of late you never forget your first love and it returns this weekend as Luton host newly-promoted Peterborough United in a season that many pundits have The Hatters pushing for promotion.

I don’t have that same optimism but I will counteract that by saying the last time I wasn’t as optimistic as pundits we finally won promotion back to the Football League. So what do I know!?! I can hear the “nothing” Outlaws chants from here.

One of the reasons I’m holding off claiming promotion to the Premier League is the changing of the guard that has happened this offseason. Out has gone James Collins, Matty Pearson, Martin Cranie, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Kazenga Lua-Lua, and George Moncur. While only Collins and Pearson could be considered regulars the others all played game-changing roles in keeping us in the Championship during the 2019-20 season and a comfortable mid-table finish during the 2020-21 season. Nostalgia can only get you so far though and when it’s time it’s time (see Danny Hylton).

None of the outgoing players left me worried for the future, bar Collins. Pearson would not be ahead of Tom Lockyer and Sonny Bradley in the lineup this season and even if James Bree had another injury-hit season I would prefer to see Peter Kioso at right-back than Pearson. The other four would have to be happy with bit-part roles that none of them deserve. It was the right move for both club and players.

The Collins decision though worries me. He has proven over the past two seasons that this level is not a step too far for him. He’s also been our top scorer both seasons. I understand Elijah Adebayo came in during the January transfer window and looked a real handful but at 23 years old he is still learning and would have benefited from having Collins for at least another year.

The average age of Luton’s eight summer signings is 25.75 years old. However, if you take out journeymen Cameron Jerome (34) and Henri Lansbury (30) it drops to 23.6 years old. This is a clear indication of the direction manager Nathan Jones is going. Young, hungry players, sprinkled lightly with the odd experienced head, who they can develop and sell on for a hefty profit. It’s been the Luton way for years.

The problem comes when points are needed to push into those playoff places. For Carlos Mendes-Gomes and Allan Campbell, this is their first taste of Championship football, while Admiral Muskwe had a brief fling with Wycombe Wanderers as they got relegated last season. There’s still enough talent there to surprise, but the hype may be unwarranted. I’d be more than happy with a top-half finish.

When there are massive changes within a summer transfer window, fans are either extremely excited or extremely worried. I am neither for Luton Town FC. I’ve learned that lesson. Someone once said “Never too high, never too low” and this season is another to take that on board and just enjoy.

If the recent pandemic has thought us anything it’s that while there are more important things than sport, there are few excitements quite like waking up early to watch your team go to battle. That begins again for me this weekend. Maybe I’ll even get Soccer Guy Trey to join me and see how his education is coming along. Either way here’s hoping for a successful season and ‘Come on you Hatters!’

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