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Things have changed for the Hatters
Luton Players celebrate a goal against Reading recently. The future looks as bright as their orange shirts for the Hatters. Image: PA

Things have changed for the Hatters 

Things have changed for the Hatters
Luton Players celebrate a goal against Reading recently. The future looks as bright as their orange shirts for the Hatters. Image: PA

Things have changed for the Hatters 

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013: Managerless Luton Town have traveled to Braintree Town in the Blue Square Bet Premier League looking for their first league win since January. Incoming Boss, John Still, is in the crowd. Despite an amazing FA Cup run that saw them beat Premier League Norwich City, Luton were struggling in the league. Paul Buckle had left his post a few weeks earlier to follow his wife Rebecca Lowe to the United States as she was preparing to become the face of the Premier League. To say they were dark times would be an understatement. Boy how things have changed for the Hatters.

Saturday, February 26th, 2022: After masterminding a 2-0 away win against his former team Stoke City on Wednesday, Nathan Jones rallied the troops and snatched a 1-0 home win over Derby County thanks to a Danny Hylton goal (Yes this same Danny Hylton). In the context of the season, it wasn’t much of an upset. Derby, managed by former Manchester United great Wayne Rooney, are struggling both on and off the field. Financial difficulties have seen them hit with two separate point deductions that force them to be battling against Relegation instead of lounging around mid-table. Luton on the other hand have been hanging around the upper end of the table and flirting heavily with the playoff places. Things have changed for the Hatters

Most Luton fans at the beginning of the season (and still now) would bite your hand off for a top ten finish given the budget the club work on. The fact that they now sit sixth and in the playoffs after the Derby result is bordering on the wildest dreams scenario. Suddenly the mood amongst the camp has gone from “yeah that’s a nice dream” to “Why not us?” The budget screams out “that’s why” but budgets don’t win you things. Players, belief and tactical nous do and right now Luton has all three going in their favor.

On Wednesday night the Hatters host World Club Champions Chelsea in an FA Cup fifth-round tie. For most teams the size of Luton, this would be the biggest game of their season. Instead, when you browse Twitter a huge chunk of the fans are looking past that to next weekend’s clash with Middlesborough. To keep the league momentum going is imperative in their eyes. That’s not to say the Chelsea clash doesn’t have its upside. The cash brought in from a packed Kenilworth Road and potential TV money will go a long way to balancing the books and helping the build of a new stadium in Power Court. Add to that the fact Chelsea just lost a grueling Carabao Cup Final to Liverpool 11-10 on penalties after neither team could legally score in 120 minutes and the match is possibly winnable, leading to more cash flow within a cup run. But if Luton can keep the league momentum going and pull off a massive coup by earning promotion suddenly money doesn’t become as big of an issue for a club that’s never really had any.

The Championship Playoff final is often dubbed the richest game in football due to the financial implications involved. Winning that game has seen a bump of around £150 million to £200 million in terms of TV revenue and prize money in the past. To put it into context Luton Town’s record signing was Simon Sluga for £1.1 million. Then there are the parachute payments put in place to help promoted teams with wage demands should they be relegated back to the Championship. Ultimately, Luton Town could go up and come straight back down and be financially stable for years to come given how the 2020 board has run the club since their takeover in 2008.

For a club the size of Luton that is comparable to a Hollywood movie ending given the financial woes they went through in the 2000s, where it was feasible the club would collapse. The current board stopped that from happening and while dark days followed the future looks bright for the Town. Things have changed for the Hatters. The Premier League was a dream of epic proportions in 2008, now they are firmly on the doorstep. In true Luton fashion they aren’t knocking though. They are just waiting for the right time to kick the door down and announce they are here to crash the Premier League party.

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