top 10 - one of our own!

By Will Foster
(with thanks to Roger Wash and Brian Webb)

Luton is experiencing a renaissance. Forget the Campari advert. A return to top-flight football, a new stadium on the way, Radio 1 Weekenders. Songs by Coldplay....

So it feels like a good time to look at the ten Luton-born players (and places that would eventually become Luton) with the most competitive appearances.

1. fred hawkes (625 appearances, 35 goals)

A Luton legend and a one-club man, Fred would surely have even more appearances but for the Great War. A half-back who spent his entire career at the club, he made his debut as a forward in 1900 and played until 1920. Becoming a hat-manufacturer in later life, he passed away in his hometown in 1952.

2. mitchell thomas (341 appearances, 6 goals)

Mitchell joined from school and the elegant full-back was capped by England U-21s in his time at Kenilworth Road, being thought of as a future international and unlucky to miss out on Mexico 1986. After following David Pleat to Spurs, he returned to Town under his former boss in the 1994 and became a players' agent upon retirement.

3. alan slough (312 appearances, 32 goals)

A cultured and tough tackling midfielder, Alan Slough was a mainstay in the side that rose up the leagues in the late sixties and early seventies, becoming a fan favourite along the way. A move to Fulham would lead to an FA Cup Final appearance before Alan moved to the Torquay area where he was involved in many local projects before his sad death in 2021. A true Luton legend.

4. keith keane (285 appearances, 8 goals)

Keith was just 16 when he made his Town debut and went on to win the Young Player of the Season award in 2005/2006. A versatile player comfortable across the back four or in midfield, Keith was unlucky to slide down the divisions during a tumultuous period for the club, though his goal from a corner against Oxford will live long in the memory for those present. Since retirement he's trained as an electrician and still plays local football.

5. dave pacey (280 appearances, 19 goals)

The only player to score in an FA Cup Final for the Town (to-date, of course), it might have been very different but for director Tommy Hodgson travelling to Dave's army station to make sure he signed for the Hatters ahead of Arsenal. Working at Vauxhall in later life, his son Mick was in the Luton youth set-up in the late seventies. Dave passed away in 2016.

6. herbert moody (266 appearances, 106 goals)

Another who worked at Vauxhall in later life, in terms of competitive goals there's no Luton-born player who comes close to Bert's 106 for the club (next highest is 47!). A fan favourite, he finished as top scorer for four out five seasons after returning home from a spell at Leicester Fosse and it was met with great sadness when he moved on to Millwall following Town's Southern League relegation in 1912. He passed away - in Luton - in 1959.

7. sid hoar (244 appearances, 38 goals)

Born in the Leagrave area in 1895, Sid was the outstanding local player of his generation and while only slightly built, possessed rapid pace and an excellent first touch. Not expected to play again after being gassed in the Great War, he incredibly went on to play 244 games for Town before a £3,000 transfer to Arsenal in 1924, where he would play in the 1927 FA Cup Final. A hat stapler by trade, he passed away in 1969. This picture above was found by Hatters' Heritage volunteers at Wardown Museum and is likely from the Luton News.

8. arthur 'jack' durrant (199 appearances, 47 goals)

Born in 1880, Jack was a skilful winger who joined Town from Luton Stanley and made the vast amount of his appearances from 1898 to 1903, before returning to Luton just before the Great War after spells at Leicester Fosse and Leyton. He served in the Royal Navy from 1916 to 1919 and worked as a confectioner, assisted by his wife Sarah, after his playing days ended, passing away in 1927.

9. keith barber (158 appearances)

Keith was born in Luton but had a roundabout trip to Kenilworth Road, being spotted playing local league football in London and initially being loaned out to Dunstable, before signing professional forms in 1971. Sharing 'keeping duties with Tony Read at first, the 'Barber Bravery' would make him a terrace favourite and help him see off competition from others, including Graham Horn. Keith ran the Rose and Crown pub in Harpenden for a spell after retirement and also worked for a racecourse starting stalls firm.

10. kingsley black (156 appearances, 31 goals)

Kingsley grew up in the Farley Hill area and attended Cardinal Newman High School before signing professional terms with Luton at 18, making his debut just a year later and then, seven months after that, being part of the Littlewoods' Cup winning side. A left-sided midfielder with an eye for goal, it was no surprise with Brian Clough came calling in 1991 to take him to Nottingham Forest, nor that he played 30 times for Northern Ireland, the country of his Luton season-ticket holding Father.

Just Missing Out.....

Terry Kelly : 149 apps, 1 goal (1954-1963)
Liam George : 124 apps, 25 goals (1997-2001)
James Justin : 114 apps, 6 goals (2016-2019)
Dean Brill : 109 apps (2003-2013)
Wayne Turner : 102 apps, 3 goals (1979-1985)