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Mixed feelings about the plight of Luton Town

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.



7 thoughts on “Mixed feelings about the plight of Luton Town

  1. So who exactly have the FA punished here then? because the scum ex directors and chairman are the dodgy crooks who have been found guilty of lining their own pockets, which in no way LTFC the club benefited from infact you could say that the crooks have even done LTFC out of a few quid. Now the supporters have over the last year built a consortium with ex players, and driven every last rat out of Kenilworth Road, the consortium are doing everything they can to clean out the club & run it how the FA & FL want to see all clubs run. Unfotunatly the FA are so out of touch that the ruling to deduct Luton an undeserved ten points, knowing that the club will recieve a fifteen point deduction next week from the FL is bang out of order, It means that the supporters of LTFC have been punished the consortium have to now foot the bill for £50,000 out of their own pockets, again bang out of order, the crooks got away scot free, with tiny fines, the total 25 point deduction effectivly kills LTFC’s season as it stands because of administration the club haven’t yet sold a single season ticket, so when they become available sales will be affected, Mick Harford has transfers lined up to bolster the depleated squad, now many of these players wont want to come to a team that is staring non league football in the face for the 1st time in it’s proud history. so the squad will not be competitive enough to make the 70 plus points needed to escape relegation, the sales havent even finished yet either, so the poor innocent long suffering supporters are staring at Championship to Conference in 3 years. Unbelievable. So who really have the FA punished here? also remember it was employees of LTFC that blew the whistle on the crooks at the club so what message does this send out to other employees at other clubs in the future, will they speak out now or will they keep quite and allow the crooks to continue to dirty our great game. FA have scored a huge own goal here, im confident that the FA will wake up on the appeal and give Luton Town their ten points back.

    Posted by Darren Brown | June 7, 2008, 9:01 pm
  2. Leeds were fined 15 points because Ken Bates put them into administration at the end of the previous season when they were already relegated and so the 10 points they were docked then were irrelevant – this was not the case with Luton. The 15 points deduction is not set in stone in the rules (like the 10 point deduction) so hopefully the football league will take pity on Luton (unlike the disgraceful bigwigs of the FA)…

    Posted by Happy Harry | June 8, 2008, 10:05 pm
  3. The FA must be pressed to explain why the mitigating circumstances which were provided to justify not deducting points from West Ham over the West Ham/Tevez affair have not been applied to Luton?

    For West Ham the following reasons were offered-

    1 The club pleaded guilty to the offence
    2 Those responsible for the offence were no longer at the club
    3 It would have been unfair on the fans to deduct points

    These three mitigating factors above all apply to Luton too. Surely Sheffield United will be interested in the reasons for the different treatment too, as it made the difference to them staying in the Premiership?

    Luton brought this to the attention of the FA in the summer of 2006 but the FA took until 2008/09 season to issue its decision. The West Ham decision was issued within days. Is there one set of rules for the Premiership, and another for the rest?

    The FA lay the blame at the door of Directors who no longer have any connection with the Club. Who is being punished here and why? A Club in existence for over 120 years is now facing exit from the league entirely.

    Surely football has turned completely rotten if this decision is allowed to go unchallenged. Unfortunately we will struggle to get national media attention, however I would ask that you attempt to get the 3 questions above answered.

    Posted by John s | June 8, 2008, 10:05 pm
  4. As a (long suffering) Luton Town supporter can I also say that we were not allowed to trade in the normal way last season either. The loan players had to go, they were not released, and other players departed too, some of course to help pay the wages of those left. Readers may note that before everything went wrong LTFC were 4th in the League and had very nearly beaten Liverpool at Kenilworth Road. The punishment was completely out of proportion. After all LTFC owned out. It’s called plea bargaining in the US.

    The rules keep changing. Aldershot had to battle their way back. MK went into administration but at the time the League did nothing about it and allowed all the rules to be bent!

    Posted by malcolm ginsberg | June 9, 2008, 10:49 am
  5. I was born and brought up close to Luton, so Luton were my team. At 15 my whole family upped sticks to south Wales (I even have the accent … )

    I LOVED Luton Town, and NOTHING, relocation, lack of success, rubbish team, would NOT change that !

    Support The Jacks, like all my mates do? Na. I made my choice when I was around 3 years old, and STUCK WITH IT.

    Posted by Dave | June 9, 2008, 11:34 am
  6. I think all the points have been made about Luton Towns own employees reporting to the FA. It’s a very sad day and a terrible thing for the FA to clearly put out the message that if you see something wrong then DON’T report it. If the FA want Luton Town FC to leave the football league, why don’t they come out and just say it. The fans and the club are just sick and tired of being hammered by rogue ex-Directors and now the gutless FA who will stand up to Luton but roll over for the bigger clubs. Come on FA – stand up, make a name for yourselves and reward honesty in the rightful way. Otherwise consider yourselves a cowardly disgrace to the game.

    Posted by John | June 10, 2008, 5:58 pm
  7. the deduction is now 30 pts so the only thing we can do now is fight,fight the fa,fight the fl,fight through the lower div and fight until sol davis gives up!!!

    Posted by lutonhattersince95 | July 23, 2008, 8:59 pm

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