Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Nice Knowing You!

Remember Luton Town? Remember them winning the League Cup against Arsenal in 1988 and making the final again in '89?

Remember how gutsy they were in the top flight?

Remember having a giggle as you climbed the stairs to the away section between terraced houses? Waving to people inside as they had their tea?

Remember Ray Harford, Joe Kinnear, Paul Walsh?

Remember the club that nurtured young talent before being forced to sell to the big boys? John Hartson, Matthew Taylor, Steve Howard, Carlos Edwards and Curtis Davies?

Well, remembering Luton Town could become the a nostalgic topic of conversation for football fans, as Luton could soon be reduced to the odd quiz question..."I know, I know... uhmmm that team that disappeared... mascot was a hatter... LUTON!!!"

It is entirely possible. You see, today Luton Town FC failed in an appeal to overturn a 10 point deduction awarded by the Football Association for paying agents via a third party. To this point, Luton had already been deducted 20 points for "financial irregularities".

What does this mean for the Bedfordshire club? They will start League 2 on Aug 9th 30 points behind the rest. Overturning that and accumulating the 47 points necessary for survival will take a season of play-off form... some 77 points or so! A tough challenge for a side that was forced to put it's entire team up for sale as administrators took the reigns of a side that has been mismanaged for years.

I for one doubt that Luton Town will come close, which means that they'll drop from the Football League into the Abyss of non-league football. They will no longer be able to pay professional wages and will have to scrap around for talent that spend their days working like the rest of us*.

It's a dump, but some folks love Kenilworth Rd. You enter the away stand between the houses to the right, and you can actually see into peoples' humble abodes as they go about their business.

But why should we care, Bigus? They broke the rules didn't they? Shouldn't they be punished?

All of the mismanagement, dodgy dealings and back-handed business was conducted by the previous owners of the club! After nearly closing the gates after 113 years, LTFC was saved by a consortium headed by bland local news presenter Nick Owen. What does he get for his trouble? He gets to bend over while the Football Association shoves a rule book up his backside.

What they should have done is recognize what this consortium has done to keep a struggling local side afloat, and to save a side that is the heart of a small town. No-one makes money from running a football club, and a club like Luton is a bottomless pit. The Football League should be doing all they can to help the supporters after years of mismanagement and false dawns. Isn't that what football is all about? It could be your club next!

As you can imagine Mr Owen is quite upset about the whole thing. Speaking after the initial proceedings...

"We can't believe the tribunal can be so vindictive. What on earth are they thinking of, trying to destroy us like this?"
And ahead of today's appeal?
"We feel we have a very strong case because these misdemeanors were carried out by people who are absolutely nothing to do with the club now."

On yer bike Owen....The F.A will do sweet F.A.

Think again Nick. The Football League are sticking to their guns. After today's failed appeal, an official statement read:

"The FA Regulatory Commission's responsibility was to decide the appropriate punishment for Luton's admitted breaches of the FA's own rules and regulations.

The deduction of 10 points was a heavy sanction, as it was intended to be, but was not excessive as a reflection of the seriousness of the breaches and the need to deter such conduct within football clubs."

Heavy indeed! The punishment will surely see Luton disappear from professional football next season. It's good to see that in a summer of high-priced transfers and approved planning permission for new multi-million pound stadiums, in a year when the sequacious whims of a certain Portuguese footballer will make all the headlines and Ronaldinho will earn $400,000 a week for making Sol Campbell look old, that football can turn it's back on the very foundation of the game.

The F.A should go after the previous owners and impose fines. That would set a precedent to all of the dodgy folks who like to play fantasy football with the hearts of real football fans. Instead, they punish the punters. Also without teams like Luton, young players will have nowhere to flourish and learn. If Luton are to be relegated, it should be based on the merit of their football. At least the supporters can understand that concept.

R.I.P Luton Town. It was nice knowing you.


PS *Did you know that Barry Hayles was a carpenter when he played for non-league Stevenage Borough? Well he was!


Mike Georger said...

what we learned: its okay to be corrupt as long as you play in italy or portugal, then we'll let you play in the champions league

fuck porto

The Fan's Attic said...

i still think they should strip Porto of its title during that time. why punish the current squad 5 years removed? that would be the harshest punishment of them all.

plus, it might make the Special One cry.

Mike Georger said...

it would hit the club harder than it would hit the players. but its not like players arent punished all the time for the actions of their clubs.

ΓΌ75 said...

It's like last week all over again.

/smiley emoticon

Mike Georger said...

there is no emoticon to express the rage luton is feeling right now!

Bigus Dickus said...

Poor ol Luton. Porto can spin..They encourage diving and sleeping in the afternoon, Both evil.