Now it is rather churlish I know to kick a little person when down, so laying into Luton Town may look a trifle unbecoming.
But they give me bad memories, and they have clearly done a lot that is wrong. So I think it is time if not for a kick, then at least a little nudge in the groin.
Luton have been given a 30 point fine for next season, which means they are certain to go down to the Conference or whatever it is called this week. This is all to do with going into administration in the wrong direction and paying agents via third parties.
So why (you may ask if not already asleep) do I welcome this.
Three reasons. The first is that I was at the League Cup final Arsenal v Luton town when we went 2-1 up through wonderful play by the great Alan Smith, and then lost 3-2. I was living in the Midlands (as I still do) and had to drive with mates up the M1 and see the banners across all the bridges around by the towers of flats that mark out Luton Land. I can’t forgive them for that.
Second, during their spell in the top division I naturally went to the Arsenal away games there, and it was, believe me, the worst, the very worst, the utterly absolutely completely worst ground in the universe. I have been to non-league grounds that are better.
We got one end behind the goal, complete with hopelessly overcrowded outdoor toilets, and a home support that had such a limited knowledge of the game that it was hard to comprehend that they were in fact sentient human beings.
OK I know that little teams can’t upgrade their ground overnight, but still, it was so awful, that it should have been shut on health and safety grounds.
Third, the Millwall affair. Some people (I use the word lightly) from the Den threw cushions from the stand onto the pitch. This was described as the worst outbreak of football violence the world has ever seen by an overheated chairman of Luton.
I hold no brief for Millwall, and I have to admit that when they were in the top division I declined to go to the away game there after having been once and getting done over down one of those little alleyways. But it was what happened next that annoyed me. The chairman of Luton raised this event to megadodo proportions and it was his insane outbursts that encouraged Thatcher to start on her idiotic march towards all seater stadia and all football fans carrying identity cards.
The chairman of Luton then announced that Luton would never play Millwall again. Which to me was a clear declaration that they would refuse to complete their fixtures next season, and thus they should have been thrown out of the league. They have now, just 20 or so years too late.
After the Millwall incident Luton stopped allowing away fans into the ground – another good reason to deride the silly little club.
Fair thee well you bunch of mad hatters, overwhelmed by the fumes of boiling mercury that was used for centuries to make hats. It is clearly in the genes.
Can I thank in one go all the people who have kindly written in either as replies, or to the “contact us” address, to express the fact that they like these pieces. As the title says, we cover the bits others don’t – and as such we could be well off the mark in terms of what anyone wants to read. But last month 50,000 different people came to the blog, and a couple of days back we had 3752 visitors in one day – the biggest ever.
The little group of us that put Untold Arsenal together are really knocked out by the readership – which apparently is world-wide. Thank you so much – and given that you seem to like this alternative approach we are going to continue.
Additionally in a day or three a new blog will open up at a site called Woolwich Arsenal (don’t look now its not there yet), which will run the diary of a journalist who covered the story of the purchase of the old club by Norris, and his subsequent move of it to Highbury. The diary covers the whole period from the buying of the club by Norris to the first championship under Chapman. We hope you enjoy that as much as this bit of fun.
Tony, on behalf of the Untold Arsenal team.
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