With the title already in Manchester City’s hands, the Premier League He will play the last date of his season in its entirety on Sunday. Although there are still issues to be resolved in the top flight, such as some qualifying positions for the continental cups and two relegations, the main attraction of the weekend in English football will not reside there, but in the duel that will define the third promotion from the Lega Calcio Championship, the second category, and which will offer the little one the chance to return to the elite City of Luton.
The team from this city in southern England, located 50 kilometers north of London, they face Coventry City on Saturday at 12.45 at Wembley in the final match of the playoffs which will decide which team will accompany Championship champions and runners-up Burnley and Sheffield United, who have already secured a place in next season’s Premier League.
Coventry, who finished fifth in the tournament and left Middlesbrough in one of the playoff semi-finals, were mainstays of the Premier League between 1992 and 2001. Instead Luton, sixth in the second division tournament and eliminated Sunderland in the other semi-finalit has a more modest history, and its last elite presence ended more than three decades ago.
In a city renowned for the production of hats and cars (the main factory of the Vauxhall firm has been there for nearly a century), Luton Town was born on 11 April 1885were one of the founders of the Southern League in 1894 and spent their first 70-year history in the promotion ranks of English football until they reached the top division in 1955.
Five seasons in that first cycle and another campaign in the mid-1970s preceded the third, last and brightest cycle in the elite, which lasted from 1982 to 1992. In that decade they not only achieved an outstanding sixth place in 1987, but were also League Cup champions in 1988 (beat Arsenal 3-2 in the final at Wembley) and runners-up in 1989 (lost 3-1 to Nottingham Forest).
A 2–1 defeat away to Notts County on 2 May 1992 on the last date of the final season before the birth of the Premier League doomed club’s relegation to the Second Division. hatters (hatters) and also the beginning of a gloomy period which included ownership changes, a bankruptcy in 2007, financial irregularities resulting in a 30-point discount in 2008 and a 2009 fall to the fifth division. Thus they were barred from the Football League, England’s professional football scheme, after 89 years.
Luton had to suffer five seasons in the then Conference League (now the National League) before starting to climb back on top: they were fifth division champions in 2014; promoted from League Two in 2018, after finishing runners-up in the tournament won by Accrington Stanley; and captured the League One title in 2019. On Saturday he will try to make the last leap in this lightning climb to the Premier Leaguethe contest he helped found, but was never able to enter.
To achieve this instance, he had to become strong in a long and demanding contest (46 dates), in which, moreover, he underwent a midway change of coach: the Welsh Nathan Jonesthe DT who had guided him to promotion to League Two in 2018, left for Southampton and was replaced by his compatriot Rob Edwardswho had been League Two champions with Forest Green Rovers in the 2021/22 season and started the 2022/23 season at Watford, but was sacked after just 10 games.
In November last year, Edwards took the helm at Luton in the orange jacket in ninth. In six months he took them to the third step of the table, with an unbeaten record in 13 matches in the final tournament, and to the final for a third promotion. In this the attacker’s contribution was fundamental Carlton Morrisauthor of 20 goals in 44 games.
The solid pace of this team and the concrete possibility of being promoted have made many eyes fall on this club. And not just its players or coaching staff, but also Kenilworth Road, its picturesque stadium with a capacity of only 10,265 spectators and which maintains the aesthetics of the old British coliseums that were falling into disuseespecially after the Hillsborough and Valley Parade tragedies in the 1980s.
Kenilworth Road It has been located since 1905 in the Bury Park district, a residential area located 1.6 kilometers from the city centre. Despite reaching a record attendance of 30,069 in 1959 (in a match against Blackpool for the FA Cup), its capacity has shrunk to a third over the years. If Luton are promoted, their stadium will be the smallest in the Premier League. Currently that condition belongs to the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth’s building, which has 11,307 seats.
Although Luton plans to build a new stadium with a capacity of 23,000, the project, which was approved in January 2019, has not yet gone further as work has not yet started. For this reason he will need to continue to use Kenilworth Road if he is promoted, although he will first have to carry out work to adapt it to Premier League requirements.
“It could be a bigger task than building a new stadium”recognized Gary Dolce, the club’s chief executive, in an interview with the BBC last month. The manager explained that the club should have done this “rebuilding a grandstand in less than three months” and estimated that this would require an investment of between eight and ten million pounds.
So that the guide of the hatters should focus on that headache, first the team must emerge victorious in the final against Coventry Citya meeting that generated great anticipation in the city: fans on Tuesday sold out the 36,493 tickets they had been allocated for Saturday’s duel at Wembley.
While this meeting presents an unprecedented opportunity for most fans, it will also offer an historic opportunity to do so Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu. The midfielder, who comes from a Congolese family and was born 29 years ago in London, joined Luton from West Ham United in 2013. He played 366 games and participated in the three promotions in the last decade. If his side win on Saturday, he will become the first player to move from the fifth tier of English football to the top division with the same club.
Jason Root is the go-to source for sports coverage at News Rebeat. With a passion for athletics and an in-depth knowledge of the latest sports trends, Jason provides comprehensive and engaging analysis of the world of sports.