Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Have Paint. Will Paint?

This post is an attempt to reverse the Luton league curse that strikes the beleaguered club every time my keyboard types anything remotely related to their survival. But they seem to be helping themselves. Last Sunday Luton won the Johnstone Paint trophy! Get in Luton. A trophy is nice but if 'Town' get relegated to non-league football, some of their players may be using Johnstone's paint in their REAL day jobs!

Non-league football these days, is filled with semi-pro teams and amateur ones. Some clubs can afford to have a few players who are solely footballers on the books and many can't. Non-league football is where you will find grafters, those who are not good enough for professional football, supplementing their dream careers with day jobs such as being builders and painters and decorators. Then there are those at the end of their careers, trying to keep the dream alive a little longer. Younger players who have a future are usually affiliated to a league club and part of a youth system by 17/18 if they are going to make it.

Phillips: Late bloomer.

Not to say that certain players don't make it back from the depths of the non-league system. Both Kevin Phillips and Barry Hayles were both non-league players before playing in the Premier League and Championship. Hayles was a builder when he played for Stevenage Borough and Phillips was rejected by Southampton and playing at Baldock Town when Watford came calling. Dreams do come true for sure. Norwich City's 22 year old forward Cody McDonald was working as a scafolder in the London underground when Bryan Gunn plucked him from non-league Dartford. One month later and he would step onto the pitch at Carrow Road as a substitute and mark his arrival and BIG chance at the BIG time, with a well taken goal against Cardiff City.

So If Luton go down, what happens next?

Well, there are two real options. They keep the team together and find enough money to try for an immediate rebound, or they keep who they can afford to and scour the non-leagues for new players. The Blue Square Premier is an extremely tough league to escape from with only 2 promotion spots up for grabs. The former method, keeping the wage structure and going for it, will only be an option for one year and likely the route Luton will take should they lose their league status. Fail at the first attempt and it is likely that there will not be enough cash around to hire the current players or pay league loanees.

Survival is even tougher for Luton now, since my last update on the Hatters, they lost in the league and made the mountain taller. Luton are 12 points from safety with just 6 games to go. Just 3 of those at home. Grimsby are catchable but Town would likely need 5 wins and a draw. A huge ask for a team that lost at home 4-2 to Rotherham last week.

Wembley winners.

Sunday's Trophy win over Scunthorpe may, however, have a part to play in the run-in. Luton will feel invincible right now and will certainly have confidence going into Saturday's must win match at Lincoln.

Lose it and they may be needing their new friends at Johnstone's to send them some paint brushes.



Kopper said...

If Luton didn't have Noriwch reserves Chris Martin, Michael Spillane as well ax ex-canary Rossi Jarvis, they would have been relegated long ago. Hopefully they can find some similar talent next year as Martin is coming back to Norwich, and Spillane is out of contract, but is in negotians with Norwich and has turned down an offer from Luton already.

King Garry I Of Swandanavia said...

You forgot Bullard. Ol' Sicknote was playing for Gravesend(maybe, I'm too lazy to look it up) and working as a painter/decorator for his dad when he was picked up by some clown outfit.

Now look at him, made it to the dizzying heights of the Hull City FC physio's office.

Bigus Dickus said...

Hehehe. I forgot a few. Love the rags to riches story. Sean Bean will play him in the movie...Oh wait!