As anyone who has read this blog for a while will know, I used to be a season ticket holder at Kenilworth Road when I was a kid (if you’re interested, this describes how I became a Norwich fan) and still have some good (and some very, very bad) memories of the place.
This week the Hatters were found guilty of misconduct by the FA and deducted 10 points for paying agents via a third party (the then-Chairman’s company if memory serves) rather than going through the books of the club, but they were not found guilty of paying bungs.
They are expecting to come out of administration shortly, and I believe are facing similar charges than Leeds which resulted in Yorkshire club being deducted 15 points, meaning Luton may well start the season on -25 points.
Looking at the final table in League Two in 2007/08, 25 points was the difference between 10th-placed Bradford and 22nd Chester. Twenty five extra points for relegated Mansfield would have left them 9th. In other words, the Hatters might have to find promotion form throughout the season to stay in the Football League.
Luton’s prospective new owner Nick Owen said in an interview with the BBC:
We made a plea for a suspended sentence to show how seriously the FA viewed the charges, but to avoid making innocent people suffer.
Compare this with West Ham. They breached the rule book and appeared to create an advantage on the field of play.
Although they received a fine, they were not docked points.
Why hit little old Luton with a 10-point deduction when the regulation they have transgressed is a mere technicality, with no advantage to any individual or the club?
Although you can’t really compare the “crimes” of both clubs, I’d say West Ham’s indiscretion was by far the more serious, and they definitely created “an advantage on the field of play”. When you weigh-up what each club gained, the level of penalty handed-down to Luton seems harsh.
Owen also said that should they receive the same 15 point penalty as Leeds (and there will be a lot of unhappy people in Yorkshire and beyond if they don’t) then they will had 35 points deducted in seven months, and “isn’t that a trifle harsh? We think so”.
I think that’s a little naughty. They were deducted 10 points for entering administration, which is the standard penalty for doing so. There can be no arguments about that. If Town get the same penalty as Leeds then the precedent has been set so they can hardly argue about that either. As far as I’m concerned the only point of contention are the 10 points that have just been deducted. Simple as that.
I know I said no more polls but I’m interested to hear what other people think about it. Click here to vote, or leave a comment. Let me know what you think.