13th of April 2009 is a significant day in the history of Luton Town FC. This was the day that Luton Town F.C got relegated from the Football League Two to the Football Conference. The result ended three years of pain for the club and the fans that have involved consecutive relegations from the Football League Championship to the Football Conference and numerous doubts about the future of the club. This is their story.
Having finished a creditable 9th in the Football League Championship – the league below the English Premier League- in 2005/06 many people thought that Luton Town would remain in the Football League Championship past 2006/07. This season however provided the catalyst for Luton Town’s slide down the English Football League System.
After selling most of their best players for club record fees, Mike Newell the manager demanded replacements in order to have a team capable of staying up in the league. This did not happen as more players were sold off while the replacements came few and far between. This prompted Newell to write a letter to the board about the issue. When nothing came back he went to the media and demanded the journalists to investigate the club about what is happening to it. Newell was promptly sacked but the Football Association decided to look into it.
A month after the incident, Chairman of the club Bill Tomlins, resigned after admitting to the Football Associations that he made illegal payments to player agents.
During this time Luton was slipping deeper and deeper into relegation trouble through the loss of their best players and off field troubles. Their relegation to League One was confirmed on the 13th of April when they were defeated by Derby County.
At this time David Pinkey arrived the as Chairman and fans at the club thought that he would be the saviour after promising them a new stadium and funds for players.
This was false hope as the club entered administration on the 22nd of November incurring a 10 point penalty in the league for entering administration.
Through Luton’s administration they couldn’t pay their players and as a result they had to sell them off. This resulted in Luton falling down the league ladder and being relegated from Football League One to Football League Two.
Worse was to follow as the Football Association fined the club and handed them a 10 point deduction for 15 misconduct charges as a result of the illegal payments to player agents. Things then got worse as Luton got deducted a further 20 points after failing to complete a Company Voluntary Arrangement with the new administration, Luton Town Football Club 2020.
This meant that Luton Town started the season with negative 30 points and hardly any players as a result of the forced sell off. It took until January for Luton Town to get off negative points and their fate to the football conference was sealed when they drew with Chesterfield 0-0 on April 13th 2009.
This ended the horrible chapter of Luton Town but the worst thing is this could be a sign of things to come.
Currently many clubs have either gone into administration or are that far in debt that they may never recover. This includes Premier League clubs as currently the top 4 are all in debt while other clubs like West Ham and Portsmouth have had to reduce their wage bill in order to survive in this current economic climate.
It just goes to show that money and finance are ruling factors in what people call the beautiful game.