memories of the hatters

mick ogden

I feel privileged to have so many memories of Luton Town F.C. One I would like to share concerns an absolute legend - John Moore. I was a founder member of the Bobbers Stand and Supporters Club/Junior Section. We had our own room at the top section of the Bobbers club.

Len Hawkins was a Director of the Football Club and at the time Chairman of the Bobbers Club. He later became Chairman of the Football Club following in the footsteps of his father-in-law Charles Jeyes. Len was a wonderful man totally dedicated to both the Football Club and Bobbers Club. It was a pleasure to have known and worked with him.

On this particular night in May 1965, our members were enjoying a night at the Club. The door opened and Len Hawkins, together with our Manager at the time, George Martin, entered the room with another person we did not recognise. That person was John Moore. George said that he had signed a player for us junior supporters. After some general chat Len and George left leaving us with John. Despite the fact that he had travelled down from Glasgow that day, John spent the whole evening with us, firstly playing billiards against our members and then later we sat around listening to John talking about his life and obvious love of football. He told us he had signed from Motherwell and how he sat for many hours during the week talking football with his father, who was a Rangers fan. Apparently, these chats would often carry on until the early hours of the next day. John clearly had a great love and affection for his father.

John always has a special place in our hearts at the Bobbers and of course had a great career both on and off the pitch. Thank you John, for being such a wonderful and dedicated "Hatter".

peter cheshire

My love affair with Luton Town started in the late 1950s, when as a young lad of 9 my dad used to take me to games. We had always lived in Essex but he had family in Dunstable and so we used to watch the matches, then go on to visit his brothers and sisters who still lived there. I was bought up watching Ron Baynham, Syd Owen, Billy Bingham etc. As I grew up, I wanted to watch as many games as I could and as my dad was still at work he could not always go. So, I decided to buy Red Rover bus tickets, which at that time allowed you to travel on any Red bus route all day for 3 shillings (fifteen pence in today's money).

Times back then were more innocent and safer. I cannot believe that any parent today would allow their young teenager to do that now. I must have only been 13 or 14 but I was determined to go. So, I had to leave home at about 8 am and start my journey which would take hours. My route began from my house and took me to Romford, then change to get to Ilford, change again to Arnos Grove, and another change took me to St Albans. I had to do yet another change onto a Green Line bus which would take me to Luton. My mum would make me cheese and onion rolls for my lunch. I had to pay a fare for the Green Line bus. I would watch the games but then of course I had the return journey and would eventually get home about 9.30 pm. Great when we won, but not so good when we lost. However, I used to love it, although most people thought I was mad.

When I got older and had a car these bus journeys ceased of course. One of the games that I remember was just an ordinary league game against Portsmouth. We were 3 -0 down at half time, but by the end we had won 4 – 3, with Brian Lewis scoring all four! Great day!

I have many happy memories but probably the most memorable was this year. I was 70 in February and for a complete surprise my wife had booked a box at Kenilworth Road and when we arrived all the family were there - our sons, daughters in law and grandchildren. Apart from the result (we lost 0-1 to Cardiff) it was the perfect day and we were lucky we just beat the lockdown!

dick robinson

Watching Luton Town for the first time

I was taken to Kenilworth Road for the first time to watch Luton Town play by my Dad on 10 September 1955. Luton had, that season, been promoted to the old First Division for the first time and Dad, coming from the North East, took me to see his favourite club: Newcastle United.

Dad did not very often go to game, but we were joined on the Kenilworth Road terrace by my Uncles Cyril, Fred, Jim and Tom, plus my cousin David. Because there was such a large attendance, all of the children like me went down to the front and sat on the cinder track surrounding the ground in front of the railings (the bottom of my trousers got dyed red, much to my Mum’s annoyance).

The Newcastle team had recently won the FA Cup and were a top team, boasting great players like Jimmy Scouler and Bob Stokoe. Their star player was Jackie Milburn (the uncle of Bobby and Jackie Charlton, but who also owned the bungalow opposite to where I now live in Crowthorne, when he later worked as a sports coach at Wellington College - long before we moved here).

Everyone nationally expected Newcastle to win comfortably, but Luton won 4-2 and included two goals by Luton’s highest-ever goal-scorer, Gordon Turner. I was immediately a committed Luton Town supporter. It was not until many years later, in fact after my Dad had died, that I realised of course that he had taken me to see Newcastle United, not Luton Town. His plan hopelessly back-fired!

gary mcpheat

I had the pleasure of meeting Andy Dibble last season. I told him how much I and all the Luton supporters love the man for that one penalty save.

I started watching Luton back in 1968. The highlight for me was being at Wembley in 1988.

Always a rollercoaster ride but once Luton Town is in your blood you just hold on tight and enjoy the ride. COYH.

My worst memories have to be losing at Forest Green, the play off final at the Ethiad against Wimbledon, or the FA Cup semi final when we lost to Everton at Villa Park."

karen robertson

My dad first took me to watch Luton when I was four years old, so LTFC is in my blood! I could not support any other club and was hooked from day one! My dad Fred Jardine played for the Hatters for ten years, so I’m very proud of him and he loved the club too throughout his life, as I still do. I have great memories of Wembley '88, see the picture of dad and me.

The Bristol City game after my dad passed away last October was a very memorable day when they had a minute's applause before kick-off. It was so very emotional and moving and we got a good win for him that day. I’ll never forget that.

david boutwood

On April 15th 1899, my grandad John Boutwood took to the field for the Hatters. This was a league two game versus New Brighton Tower. This was to be his only football league appearance, but it goes down in family folklore. He did however make six appearances in the United League. We are very proud of his name being in the record books.

Up until the age of six we lived with grandad Boutwood in Hampton Rd just behind Oak Rd. I can remember dad talking to players that we would meet in the street. A couple of players l remember meeting are Bud Aherne and Wally Shanks. This was made possible as back then a lot of players lived in houses on Oak Rd.

Back in 1949, at the age of three, l would be taken to my first Hatters’ game. My dad Leslie was not only a supporter but also a programme seller. He would take me along with him and this is how l got hooked on the Hatters. When the programmes were sold we would watch the game from the old triangle area until half time. We would then go to the offices for dad to cash up. We then returned to the triangle for the second half. When l became old enough l started selling programmes myself, this was on the Oak Rd end.

Dad and l then took up the job of setting up the half time scoreboard high above the Kenny, oh my - what a view of the game this gave us! During half time we would climb the ladder up to the inside of the scoreboard. The scores were dropped to me on a piece of paper from the office window. We would then enter the appropriate scores to the adjacent alphabetical letter which would correspond with the list in the match day programme.

Now reaching my teenage years, l would continue to support the Hatters with my best friends. We would watch the games from all sides of the stadium over the years, ending up in the Main Stand Enclosure. This is where l have remained since the seats were installed in 1984, with season tickets for myself and my wife Sue.

C.O.Y.H. (Below: John Boutwood, Leslie Boutwood's 1959 Wembley Attire)

andy king

Like many Luton families, mine was always full of conversation about the fortunes of Luton Town although no one was, at that time, what I’d describe as a fully paid-up member! My Grandmother was one of the tens of thousands who claimed to have seen Joe Payne score his ten goals against Bristol Rovers on Easter Monday in 1936. It’s probably true – she used to accompany her next door neighbour to matches in those times, he was in the St. John Ambulance service and got them both in free!

My Dad took me to a few games in the early ‘60s. Romford and Corby Town FA Cup matches come to mind but it was the thrill of seeing the 1966 World Cup on our black & white TV that confirmed my passion for football. An abiding memory of that World Cup Final is my Mother being so engrossed in the match that she left a saucepan on the stove to boil dry and melt!
I had already started going to every Kenilworth Road match with school mates and queued up at the Newsagent’s every Saturday night for the Green ‘Un to get the match report from ‘Chiltern’.

The 1967-68 season was truly unforgettable. After dropping to the 4th Division from the 1st in rapid succession Allan Brown built a wonderful team that stormed to the title with a record 66 points. The players in that superb side are etched in my mind. The brilliant Tony Read, one of few League goalkeepers who can claim to have scored a League hat-trick. Freddie Jardine a great left back with solid and reliable Max Dougan on the right. Terry Branston, hard-as-nails centre half and skipper, the legendary John Moore at left half with Stopsley boy, Alan Slough at number 4. The poor-man’s George Best, AKA Graham French, on the right wing, Derbyshire cricketer Ian Buxton inside right, Keith Allen the beanpole centre forward, the incomparable Bruce Rioch, also a Stopsley schoolboy, at inside left and Ray Whittaker at 11, one of a long line of great Luton left wingers.

A typical Bruce Rioch left-footed 35 yard screamer won promotion away at Halifax Town. HATS OFF TO LUTON! was the back-page headline in the Sunday Express the next day. The following Wednesday night, under the lights, Luton hammered Crewe Alexandra 4-0 in front of a massive Kenilworth Road crowd to become Champions – ecstasy………. Actually, not!

For one fourteen year old Luton boy that Crewe game remains an agonising memory that has left a scar to this day - over fifty years later!

After school, on the Wednesday afternoon of that match, I had a big argument with my brother - something about a bike - that ended up in a fight. My Mother warned of dire consequences when my Dad got home from work. I readied myself for a good hiding. Instead, when he came in he simply banished me to my bedroom, without dinner, for the rest of the evening!!

The drainpipe was too far away from the window, so plan A was out! The bed sheets were too short to knot into a rope! So, there I was, marooned three miles from the 19,000 crowd watching the biggest Luton game for nine years.

I don’t normally hold grudges, one learns to move on. There are exceptions to every rule. My Dad, bless him, has no idea of course; he’s in his 90’s now, we’ve never talked about it. Every true Hatter will put themselves in my place, understand, and share my pain.

Below Picture: "20 years later I (third left) had sufficiently come to terms with my Dad’s (2nd left) ‘crime’ to take him to the Littlewoods Cup Final at Wembley."

gemma maccabe

My dad, Jim McCabe, started at Luton Town in 1978 as kitman and coach driver for the first team. He loved manager Ray Harford and Mick Harford and remembers Marvin Johnson starting at Luton at age 16.

He drove the team to Wembley for the Littlewoods Cup final in 1988 on a Shorey’s coach and sorted their kit out at the stadium. He had an awesome day and night after the 3-2 win. The players were all great through the years but they drew the line at the Charley Pride songs and country music he used to play!

He used to take my brother and I to the club Christmas parties with dad playing Santa. Dad was Santa for the children’s ward at Luton and Dunstable hospital and also drove the team coach while dressed as Santa.

Dad got the sad call to say that Darren Salton and Paul Telfer had been in a traffic accident in 1992 and had to go to get their belongings out of the car and was very upset as Darren Salton nearly lost his leg.