Luton Town FC win the Johnson's Paint Trophy in April 2009
By Greg Keane
Luton Town FC fan
With Luton Town set to embark on the Blue Square Premier in a few weeks, thus playing their football outside of the Football League for the first time in 89 years, some may suggest that the very existence of the club is in some jeopardy.
However, the Hatters' entire club history is made up of on-and-off the field fiascos which have ultimately made Luton Town the most unprecedented and unpredictable club in the entire Football League.
Luton fans are used to these, what would appear to be 'catastrophic' events to most sides, becoming the norm with their club and Luton will undoubtedly bounce back stronger as they've made a habit of doing, down the years.
The Bedfordshire side have now suffered three back to back relegations and now find themselves a big fish in a pond full of footballing strangers such as Hayes & Yeading, Ebbsfleet United and Eastbourne Borough.
This calamitous fall from grace, starting from the 06/07 season in the Championship, is not a daunting or harrowing experience for long persisting Hatters' fans, however.
Luton is the only team to have plummeted from the First to the Fourth Division twice, and have managed to crawl themselves back up to experience some lasting period of success.
This first occurrence saw Luton being the early pace setters in the 1958/59 season being top of Division One in October; but by December 1966, found themselves 90 places worse off, and finding themselves second from the summit in Division Four. A feat achieved after 1-8 hammering from the only club below them in the league!
This seemingly would go to show why Luton fans are in such high spirits in anticipation for the current and fresh challenge.
Over 4,000 season tickets have already been shifted to Luton's proud and loyal fan-base. They are ready to stand tall in their town's first dabble in the Fifth Division.
Luton has always faced adversity and mostly come way with the last laugh. Which other club would have their star winger Graham French be accused of attempted murder and end up destroying their career by being sent down?
Who on earth would ever manage to stumble upon such maverick owners/chairmen as the Hatters have?
From David Evans (1984-89), who introduced Kenilworth Road's famous plastic pitch and banned away fans from attending the games, to David Kohler, the man who's immodestly named 'Kohlerdome Scheme' would have seen a moveable grass pitch implemented as well as relocating the club to Milton Keynes.
And who can forget loveable old John Gurney. Firstly sacking fan favourite managerial duo, Joe Kinnear and Mick Harford, two days after taking control. He then started an 'X-Factor' style vote, where everyone from the players, fans, board and the tea ladies had their own categories, to decide on the next man in charge.
Stunningly, Joe Kinnear failed to win the overall vote and Mike Newell (who just happened to be Gurney's choice) was appointed Town's new manager.
Gurney's other plans included elevating Luton's new proposed stadium, onto poles, over the M1, with a racetrack going around it. He was serious!
Luton Town have been in administration three times (a record) and were docked 40 points over a nine-month period - more than any other professional outfit.
Now under the stewardship of club legend Mick Harford, last season Luton were set the almost impossible task of chewing away at a 30 point deduction which at no point ever seemed realistically likely.
However much against the odds, the team from Kenilworth Road managed to reach the final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy - and won in undeniably the most thrilling and gripping final of new Wembley thus far; 3-2 in extra-time against League 1 Scunthorpe!
A very proud Mick Harford in April 2009
They managed to pull at the heartstrings of many football fans that day, not just because of the 40,000 Lutonians that filled their end of Wembley stadium, but because of the whole fairytale, or nightmare behind it.
There have been successes; beating Arsenal to win the League Cup in 1988 is the club's proudest moment, spending many seasons in the top flight including a 10-year stint from 1982-92, an FA Cup final appearance in 1959 and countless number of promotions.
The plight of Luton Town is one in which no other side would, or could, hope to rival and it results in there never being a dull moment for the fans of this much bruised but proud club.
Surely there is no side in the history of English football, more eventful to follow than Luton Town FC?
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