Home ground is Luton’s advantage.
Luton, who has been promoted to the Premier League, does not hide it himself. The club’s facilities are so far from the past that you can no longer see the same in top football, which is always being modernized with the help of the money brought in by sportswear.
– This is the entrance to our stadium. Unbelievable to think this ground will be in the Premier League next season, Luton tweeted on Saturday after the team secured promotion to the top flight after 31 years.
The photo shows an old brick house with a sign above the garage door-like entrance saying that you can slip through it to the Kenilworth Road side of the sanctuary.
The view from the steps leading to the groves is the local backyard. On social media, Luton’s update of course took on a life of its own and the entrance was shown, among other things as a drainage well and totally as a dilapidated room.
The former credit anchor of Huahkaji Markus Heikkinen was Luton’s men in the seasons 2005–07. He recalls that Kenilworth Road, which was then a hundred years old, was a personal attraction even at that time.
– When the guys used to watch my games there, they said that the benches were so cramped that there was no way to sit in them. On the other hand, they were quite big boys, Heikkinen enthuses.
The Finnish fighter, who lived his dream abroad, was not bothered by the lack of bravado. What Luton lost in resources, it made up for in atmosphere. According to Heikkinen, everyone in the club knew everyone and the atmosphere was warm.
He says Kenilworth Road felt like home.
– It wasn’t a terribly big club then and it isn’t now either. The conditions were by no means ideal, but the crowd at the home stadium was extremely well involved in the games.
The stadium, which opened its gates in 1905, is not one of the oldest on the island, but in its current state it really looks like it.
It can hold a little more than 10,000 spectators when all seats are filled. Last season in the Premier League, the arenas with less than 20,000 seats were Bournemouth’s Dean Court (11,379) and Brentford’s Community (17,250).
The home field is Luton’s strength, because it’s not something the stars of the Premier League are used to.
– There is certainly something useful to be extracted from it. Especially when the game has changed in the direction that the players are not so traditional British working class. There are people from all over the world there and many are used to really good conditions. You might think that the guest dressing room is not exactly the most pleasant experience in the world, Heikkinen mutters.
An amazing achievement
During Heikkinen’s time, Luton operated with the meagerness of a small club. The rink was narrow and the best quickly changed scenery.
In the latter season, The Hatters played a shockingly bad spring season and at the end of the season fell from the Championship Series to First.
Heikkinen remembered that, despite the poor results, the support of the locals never wavered.
– I had to play in quite a few clubs, so it was different in terms of the supporters. They didn’t turn their backs and tried to support the players even when it was going badly.
It also went poorly on the office side, because later the club was given points losses due to financial mess. The bottom stop of the stormy lower league cycle was the country’s fourth league level, League Two, only five years ago.
– Without knowing anything about what has been done there over the years, it’s a pretty confusing feat to play in the Premier League next season, Heikkinen says.
– I personally saw and experienced the direction the club was going. Not the darkest times, but just before them.
Heikkinen, 44, who currently works as the sporting director of his hometown AC Oulu, has seen exactly one match from his former club since his Luton years.
The statistics will change soon.
– You have to watch at least one of Luton’s home games. There’s certainly something about that that sets them apart from the Premier League’s billions in its own right. When Manchester City and Newcastle go to that stadium, it’s sure to be nice to watch, Heikkinen tastes and at the same time hopes that the visit to the Premier League won’t last for one season.
Soon to be a thing of the past
Kenilworth Road’s Victorian-era landmark will undergo renovations over the summer as the club prepares for its first top-flight season and visits from the sport’s world stars since 1996.
CEO of Luton by Gary Sweet according to the report, the pot of nearly ten million pounds will be used to improve the stadium to meet the requirements of the Premier League. An important part of the work is the fitting of various TV and media facilities in the small club premises. In addition, the field’s lighting, toilets and canteen are on the list of most urgent renovations.
Meanwhile, Sweet cares little about the desecration of Keningworth Road’s sanctuary and reminds us of the soullessness of massive modern stadiums.
– This is real life, football, history and tradition. This is not a sterile bowl, a man who fills the glittering homes of big clubs.
– White knuckles, tears and joys belong in this stadium. This is a horn boiler. If you don’t understand this, you don’t love football.
Despite Sweet’s declaration, the stage for old-time soccer is about to suffer the same fate as many other brick stadiums before it, as plans for Luton’s new home ground, Power Court, are finally moving forward.
According to the latest information, the brand new stadium, which will attract 23,000 spectators and is located 1.5 kilometers from Kenilworth Road, is due to open for use in three years.
Heikkinen remembers that drawings of the new cabin were already presented in his time.
– The project has been in the works for quite a long time.