Clubs In Crisis
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www.ClubsInCrisis.com 08 April 2009 - 21:01

Luton Town

Luton Town fail in points appeal

15-Jul-2008

Luton Town have lost their appeal against a 10-point penalty for financial irregularities.

From BBC Football:

Luton, who were also deducted 20 points after failing to satisfy the Football League's insolvency rules, will begin life in League Two on minus 30 points.

The Football Association has now ruled the club's 10-point deduction and 50,000 fine for making irregular payments to agents stands.

The Hatters were relegated from League One last season.

"I am absolutely shattered by the decision, as we all are in the 2020 consortium," prospective chairman Nick Owen told BBC Sport.

"But it will not detract from our determination to save our football club and drive us back up the league.

"It will take a lot to avoid relegation, but that is our aim, despite the obstacles thrown at us by the League and FA."

Luton were hit with the 10 point deduction in June after the FA found the club guilty of paying agents via a third party, but not of paying bungs.

The club argued that the old owners were responsible and that the club should not now be punished for their mistakes, but at a hearing in London on Tuesday the FA rejected their appeal.

An FA statement said: "The FA Regulatory Commission's responsibility was to decide the appropriate punishment for Luton's admitted breaches of the FA's own rules and regulations.

"The deduction of 10 points was a heavy sanction, as it was intended to be, but was not excessive as a reflection of the seriousness of the breaches and the need to deter such conduct within football clubs."


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Luton to face 30-point deduction

10-Jul-2008

Luton will start next season on an unprecedented minus 30 points after a ruling by the Football League.

From BBC Football:

The Hatters had already been deducted 10 points by the Football Association after being found guilty of misconduct for paying agents via a third party.

And the company which will take over the club has now been told it must accept a further 20-point deduction in order to be allowed in the League.

The penalty came after Luton failed to satisfy the League's insolvency rules.

The combined 30-point deduction is the biggest in Football League history, giving Luton an extraordinarily difficult task in trying to avoid relegation for the third season in a row. Bookmakers have already made them 10-1 on favourites to drop down to the Blue Square Premier League.

But the club is appealing against the FA's 10-point deduction for financial irregularities in regard to its dealings with agents, with the case set to be heard next week.

The 20-point additional penalty related to the club's inability to agree a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) to exit administration, with the Football League pointing out that this is the third time in 10 years that Luton have been in such a position.

The Football League board also imposed the condition that Luton Town 2020 (LT2020), the new holding company, must pay any unsecured creditors 16p in the pound and asked it to forego any right of appeal.

LT2020 director Stephen Browne said the club was still being punished for the mistakes of the previous regime in charge at Kenilworth Road.

"We have tried to do everything openly and honestly and we placed our faith in the footballing authorities," said Browne, whose consortium is still in talks with the administrator.

"Obviously the very clear message from both the FA and the Football League is that doing such a thing is a total waste of time.

"Once again the faithful supporters are left high and dry and once again a policy of honesty is not recognised at all by the footballing authorities who claim they want to clean up the game."

But Football League chairman Brian Mawhinney said the board had little option but to take a strong line with Luton.

"The board's primary responsibility is to protect the integrity of their competitions," said Mahwinney.

"This often means making difficult decisions which require balancing the interests of fans, the club's creditors and the other teams in the League.

"We will continue to take that responsibility very seriously."

Browne said that the consortium, fronted by BBC presenter Nick Owen, would not give up despite the points deduction representing a serious setback.

"We will continue the fight by sticking to our principles of openness and honesty," he said.

"People who should, in theory at least, be protecting supporters will not bring us down.

"It's not a laughing matter any more, but even so we will continue to ensure that Luton have a solid and sustainable future, despite what the Football League do to us."


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The fans of Luton Town FC would like your help please!

06-Jun-2008

As you are aware the FA this week has handed out a 50k fine and 10 point deduction to the club in respect of the charges brought on the club over 2 years ago.

From Pledge Bank:

This action from the FA is a bitter pill to take, the club was already at one of its lowest points in its history with the third administration in recent times, and already we were expecting to have a 15 point deduction on existing administration without a CVA agreement (ala Leeds last season). It now looks as thought we will be facing starting the season on -25 points. This could be further compounded by a transfer embargo being placed on the club until it has vastly reduced its player wage bill down to 60% of our turnover.

All of this had to be faced when none of the original offenders (the previous board members) remain at the club. We will shortly have new reputable owners in the form of LTFC2020. These new owners have come in with a fresh determination and attitude to run the club within its means, openly with the fans, in the correct manor. They already had a very difficult task to get this club back off its knees. The points deduction and fine from the FA has come as a slap in the face to everything they want to achieve.

The treatment of our beloved club has caused much outrage amongst us fans and we wish to make out point know to the FA and the wider football community.

All too often the value of the "little" clubs outside the premiership is too readily overlooked. The glamour and big money at the top of the game is too bigger draw for the general media to be all that bothered by the constant struggle of the rest of the league just to survive year on year.

To show that we the fans of Luton Town FC stand firm with our club and to attempt to show that we are disgusted with the treatment of the club we are currently taking names on a pledge for the fans to pay the 50k fine. We are trying to get 5000 or more people to each give just 10 (more if they wish) towards a Fan Fund. This money would then be collected and used to pay the fine. Any extra cash would be donated toward local grass roots football.

To visit the Pledge site follow this link: www.en-gb.pledgebank.com/LTFC-FAN-FUND.

Many Thanks for your time and any help you can give!

A Luton Town FC Fan

See also: Facebook page


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Luton hit by 10-point deduction

04-Jun-2008

Luton are considering an appeal after being fined 50,000 and deducted 10 points after being found guilty of misconduct over payments to agents.

From BBC Football:

The Football Association found the club guilty of paying agents via a third party, but not of paying bungs.

The club's soon-to-be new owners said the fine showed the behaviour of their predecessors was unacceptable.

But they said they were disappointed the FA had not considered the change in the club's circumstances and ownership.

"The FA is completely correct to show the football world that the type of behaviour demonstrated by the past management is totally unacceptable," said a statement from the LTFC2020 group.

"We would like to reiterate that these findings related only to past directors of Luton Town FC and not to anyone related to, or part of LTFC2020.

"That decision makes no difference to our commitment to being the next custodians of the club. The plans Mick Harford has for squad regeneration are completely unaffected.

"We are very disappointed the FA has not been able to take into account the current plight of the club and the fact it is soon to be under new ownership.

"To punish the club and the fans in the future with a points deduction, while the perpetrators get away with just light fines is hugely disappointing.

"The scale of the deduction is unbelievable when it is clear the people found guilty are no longer at the club.

"Who, exactly, does the FA think they are punishing?"

Former chairman Bill Tomlins has been banned from football for five years and fined 15,000.

Three other ex-directors have also been punished and six agents warned.


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Petition against stadium presented to Parliament

22-Feb-2008

Mid Beds MP Nadine Dorries has presented a petition to Parliament against plans to relocate Luton Town to green belt land near M1 Junction 12.

From Luton Today:

Signed by more than 3,000 residents, the petition which also opposes an associated warehousing development, was organised by the Campaign for Sustainable Harlington (CaSH) and the Campaign for Sustainable Toddington (CAST).

The MP said, "We are only a matter of days from the formal submission of a planning application for a large development at Junction 12 of the M1.

"I want to take this opportunity to congratulate CAST and CASH for all their work in achieving so many signatures on the petition. This petition sends a clear message to developers, that the residents of Toddington and Harlington will fight hard against this completely inappropriate development.

She said: "Once the application has been submitted I will be encouraging local residents to make their representations to the planners opposing this development. This is the wrong development in the wrong place and would severely undermine the quality of life for residents in Toddington and Harlington."

Mike Benner, CaSH Campaign Coordinator, said, "We are delighted that residents are backing our efforts to fight these proposals and thank Nadine Dorries for her support.

"Residents of Harlington will not simply roll over and let a huge global developer destroy the treasured green belt site which provides a natural barrier between Harlington and the M1.

"Lutonians are proud of the Hatters and the club and its stadium should be within Luton where the wider community can enjoy the facilities it could offer. It makes no sense to expect fans to travel out to Harlington to support their club."

John Machin, Campaign Coordinator of CAST and Toddington District Councillor, said, "This development will bring environmental damage and traffic chaos to this rural area and rip the heart out of Luton.

"CAST and CaSH will be working in close partnership with other groups to ensure the development never sees the light of day."


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Key breakthrough in battle to save Hatters

15-Jan-2008

Fans consortium announced as the preferred bidder

From Luton Today:

A fans' consortium vying for control of Luton Town has this afternoon been given preferred bidder status by the club's administrators.

Newly-formed company Luton Town Football Club 2020 Limited has made a loan to the Hatters which has bought them a period of exclusivity while a sale is negotiated.

Announcing the development, administrator Brendan Guilfoyle, said: "This is a very positive development and represents the light at the end of the tunnel that players, staff and supporters have been waiting for since our appointment in November 2007."

TV presenter Nick Owen is the front man for Luton Town Football Club 2020 Limited. The consortium involves former Football League chairman Keith Harris, businessmen Gary Sweet, Stephen Browne, Antony Brown and Mick Pattinson, plus former players Steve Foster and Godrey Ingram.

Any purchase will be conditional upon the approval of the Football League and the Football Association. In the meantime the administrators will continue to run all aspects of the club.


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In support of Luton 2020

14-Jan-2008

Luton fans will distribute 7,000 leaflets in support of Luton Town FC 2020, before the FA Cup replay at Liverpool.

From Jayten.co.uk:

LTFC2020 is the fans backed consortium that's fronted by Nick Owen. The fans support the bid as they want a club board that's honest, sensible and has the club's interest at heart. After so many years of false promises and dishonesty they've decided to make it very clear which bid the fans support!

They've produced 7,000 LTFC2020 A4 cards which are being supplied to fans to hold up at kick off at Anfield. Town on Tour (The official Luton Town Supporters Club transport organisers) have agreed to hand the cards out on their coaches. Ian Pearce (BBC 3 counties radio) has agreed to mention it in the pre match build up and over 100 fans have requested bunches of leaflets to hand out themselves. The card is very simple but the message will be very powerful if the majority of Luton fans take part in the action.


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TV's Owen in bid to rescue Luton

08-Jan-2008

Television presenter and lifelong Luton fan Nick Owen is fronting a bid to buy the troubled League One club.

From BBC Football:

His consortium is funded by local and overseas businessmen who they expect to get a decision from the administrator by lunchtime on Wednesday.

"I cannot wait for us to get the go-ahead - I'm very hopeful," Owen told BBC Three Counties Radio.

Luton entered administration on 22 November and the deadline for bids to save them was 1700 GMT on Monday.

It has been reported that a number of potential purchasers submitted formal offers and the administrator Brendan Guilfoyle is due to announce which will be granted an exclusivity period as the preferred bidder.

Owen confirmed that his consortium's bid is backed by the three principal supporters' groups, including the supporters' trust which helped oust former chairman John Gurney from power in 2003.

"It is a great lift to know they are right behind us," said the 60-year-old presenter of the BBC's Midlands Today.

"The people in the consortium are all lifelong Luton fans.

"The main players will be familiar to a lot of Luton fans - Gary Sweet, Anthony Brown and Stephen Brown.

"These guys have worked so hard over a few weeks now to put together a very impressive application - 64 pages of it.

"They are big Luton fans and have pulled together some very successful businessmen who are Luton fans.

"It blew my mind away when I read the application"

Some of the investment is being provided by former Luton youth player Mick Pattinson who is now president and chief executive of US housebuilder Barratt American.

He is joined by other long standing season-ticket holders and two un-named former players who now have successful business interests.

"They're coming in because they want to see this club survive," said Owen, who added that former Watford and England manager Graham Taylor was acting as a football advisor to one other group which, he claims, has not made a bid.

There is at least one other offer on the table, though, thought to come from a developer.

"I'm very positive that we could well be the only credible bid," said Owen.

"I'll be surprised if we don't know before Wednesday lunchtime but it could be sooner."


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Administrators extend the deadline for offers

02-Jan-2008

Luton Town's administrators have extended the deadline for interested parties to make their bid for the club.

From Luton Today:

Administrator Brendan Guilfoyle said: "We are extending the deadline for offers until Monday, January 7, 5pm. It's just the practicalities caused by the intervening Christmas period.

"We've got a number of people who have reviewed the documents and they are now asking us further questions.

"We have three or four parties who I hope will make offers.

"Shortly after January 7 we hope to enter into exclusive negotiations with one party."

Meanwhile, the deal brokered with chairman David Pinkney to help fund running costs at the club expired at the end of the year, and the administrators must now raise enough money to ensure Luton can fulfil their fixtures for the rest of the season.

However, when a preferred bidder is in place they would be able to help stave off transfer bids from other clubs - but only if they have the money demanded by the administrators.

Mr Guilfoyle added: "Bear in mind I need money. If they say: 'Don't sell player X' I will say: 'Give me the money.

"There are loads of clubs in touch with us, as you would expect.

"The enquiries come in a variety of ways. Kevin has his own network of managers, chief executives tend to speak to me."


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Luton Town In Administration.

22-Nov-2007

League One side Luton Town have been deducted 10 points after being placed into administration.

From BBC Football, 22 Nov 2007:

The penalty leaves them at the foot of the table on nine points and seven points from safety.

The directors of the club decided to appoint administrators as a result of the Hatters' decreasing income.

"This will give the club breathing space and an opportunity to restructure its finances," said Brendan Guilfoyle of administrators The P&A Partnership.

Luton are looking for prospective buyers to put proposals to the creditors before end December 2007.

In order for the club to continue trading in the short term, chairman David Pinkney has agreed to fund trading losses until the conclusion of a sales process.

"This is a sad day for me personally, I have only ever had the long-term future of Luton Town Football Club at heart," said Pinkney.

"Changing circumstances and the potential huge liabilities surrounding the club have presented me with no alternative but to place the club into the hands of the administrator.

"As a further commitment to the supporters and the future of the club, I have however, decided to fund the overheads of the club throughout the sale process without any guarantee of recovering these moneys.

"I sincerely hope a potential purchaser can be found to take on Luton Town Football Club and secure its future."

The Hatters have suffered a nightmare week having been hit with 17 Football Association charges, relating to payments to agents for nine specific player negotiations which were believed not to have been done through the club as required by FA rules.

Board members John Mitchell and Richard Bagehot stepped down after they were also charged by the FA.

They were both charged with allegedly failing to report breaches of regulations regarding payments to agents when they became aware of them.


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Luton and agents hit with charges

15-Nov-2007

The Football Association has issued more than 50 charges in connection with alleged breaches of rules at Luton Town, after an extensive investigation.

From BBC Football:

The charges relate to player transfers and contract renegotiations between July 2004 and February 2007.

The club, former chairman Bill Tomlins, ex-finance director Derek Peter and current directors John Mitchell and Richard Bagehot have been charged.

Six licensed players' agents have also been charged.

The investigation, which began in March this year, found that payments made to the six agents, totalling around 160,000, by the club's holding company Jayten (also known as J10) Stadium Limited were not disclosed to the FA on the required forms.

The six agents have been charged with knowingly accepting payments from Jayten for their services to the club in securing the services of players.

In addition, it has been alleged that services for the benefit of a Luton player, totalling approximately 7,000, were paid for directly by Jayten but were not disclosed on the player's contract.

Sky Andrew, one of the six agents charged, was quick to play down the allegations.

Andrew, who is agent to a number of Premiership stars including Sol Campbell, Jermaine Pennant and Jermain Defoe, told BBC Radio 5 Live: "People mustn't blow this out of proportion, there's no question that irregular payments were made to officials or anyone like that.

"It's purely to do on our side with technical breaches on paperwork, which will come to light.

"We've spoken to the FA and the FA have conducted an investigation into dealings there - and it's only right they conduct their investigations and they've got rules in place and then they hand out charges to people.

"In our case it's just a technical breach of paperwork."

The charges follow an FA investigation after former Luton manager Mike Newell claimed in early 2006 that illegal payments in the game were rife.

"Ultimately it vindicates me of the stance I made," Newell told BBC 5 Live.

"I think as a manager of a football club, you have a duty to the supporters to make people aware of things like this.

"It was said over the last seven or eight months that there wasn't a time when I thought maybe it was the wrong thing to do because it's cost me my job. But ultimately this proves it was the right stance."

See also: Full Story


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Club Withdraw Trust's Seat on the Board

19-Oct-2007

I can confirm that I have been in contact with the club about their statement of 30 September 2007 where they stated that they do not intend making any additions to the current board. As we have said previously, we are the rightful possessors of a seat on the board so we assumed that this statement did not relate to us.

From TiL position on the LTFC Board:

Also, we are hugely disappointed that the club did not contact us directly about any potential issues surrounding our board seat (quite the contrary in fact, Mr Mitchell has been chasing us throughout the summer to nominate a new representative).

Sadly, however, I have to report that, whilst the club recognise that we have been on the board for nearly four years, and that we have a rightful seat, they have confirmed to us that they will not reappoint a supporters' representative to the board in the 'short-term' future, and that their statement did in fact refer to TiL directly. Rather than discuss the situation with us personally, regrettably, they preferred to inform us via their website and they felt that this was sufficient. At present, no date has been given to us when we can attend board meetings again. According to the board of the club, there are 'issues' that must be resolved before we can take our rightful place and that currently prevent us from taking our seat.

A representative from the club's board has explained these 'issues' to us but, at present, they do not wish us to release a formal statement until tomorrow, so please revisit our site tomorrow when I will update you. Needless to say, we do not agree with their position and find it unacceptable, so we will do all that we can to change the stance of the club so that we can represent the views of all fans in this important time for the club.

Liam

See also: TiL Respond to Football Club Press Release


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Former Chairman Admits Illegal Payments

16-May-2007

Former Luton Town chairman Bill Tomlins has admitted he made illegal payments to agents during his time at the club, according to the Daily Mail.

From Sky Sports:

Mike Newell, who was dismissed as Luton manager in March, famously spoke out against bung culture in January 2006, claiming illegal payments between managers and agents were commonplace in the modern game.

But Tomlins, who left the club last month, apparently confessed when he was interviewed by FA lawyers investigating the club to making 13 separate illegal payments totalling 150,000 to seven agents.

"Yes, I broke the rules, there's no doubt about it, but I didn't murder anyone or do anything illegal," Tomlins is quoted as telling the Daily Mail.

"I did wrong and it's now up to The FA to decide what will happen. But you're right - I fall on my sword."

The paper says the payments came to light when Luton club secretary Cherry Newbery presented The FA with documentary evidence of the payments five months after Newell had spoken out about such incidents.

But Tomlins told FA investigators that Newell's zero-tolerance approach turned the process of buying players into a 'nightmare', according to the paper.

"Michael became a nightmare with agents. I had to speak to agents directly - if I hadn't, we wouldn't get the player," he said.

Tomlins apparently described Newell as 'a bloody maniac', and claimed agents feared him.

"He said to one agent, when I was in the room, 'You're a ******* parasite. I'm coming round your house, finding out where you live and I'm gonna rip your ******* head off'.

"You know, that man is evil. He was a nasty boy around the club - a bully."

And he told the paper: "The rules for dealing with payments to agents were poorly policed so, when it came to it, I telephoned The FA to tell them I had been making irregular payments.

"I know it was a breach of the rules, but I thought I had reasonable grounds.

"I broke the rules, no question, from the time we went into the Championship, but I'll tell you it was to avoid the rantings, the ragings and the bullying of the manager."

See also: Petition To The Football Association


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Where's the Money Gone?!

14-Apr-2007

The Chairman, and share holder of the holding company Jayten, Bill Tomlins admitted to using Jayten funds to make irregular payments to agents this week (see below).

From www.jayten.co.uk:

A 'Takeover' was annouced less than 2 days later, as predicted by Tomlins in his resignation speech, by a Mr. Pinkney. Unusually for a takeover Pinkney invested in the existing holding company and not into the football club (also below).

In less than 2 years Jayten has got through a transfer surplus of over 6,500,000 and an initial set up loan from a previous owner of 500,000. They have published accounts on the official site that have neglected to include, amongst other things, ticket sales, merchandise sales, commercial activity and TV monies.

As Pinkney has invested in Jayten and not the club many fans feel nothing has changed! The departure of Tomlins has changed nothing. Mike Newell's previous remarks about 'those in the game that accept bungs' seemed very pointed when he was sacked.

The latest revelations, and the board's attempts to sully his reputation by divulging the confidential terms of his contract, seem to make the whole issue very clear! Speak out against corruption and you'll get nailed. Pillage a club and the club and fans will be punished and you'll be left to count your money!


From BBC Sport, Friday, 13 April 2007:

Pinkney named new Luton chairman

Luton have appointed David Pinkney as chairman after he acquired a controlling interest in the club's holding company. Pinkney has taken up his position with immediate effect after investing in Jayten Stadium Limited.

He said: 'Being a Luton supporter since the age of 14, I'm delighted to become chairman of a club with such a proud heritage. I look forward to taking the club into a new era.'

Pinkney, a Harpenden based businessman, is also a motor racing driver. He drives for his own team, Daventry-based A-Tech Racing, in the British Touring Championships.

Previous Luton chairman Bill Tomlins resigned from Luton's board of directors earlier this week.


Also from BBC Sport, Thursday, 12 April 2007:

FA to probe Luton over payments

Bill Tomlins, who has resigned as chairman of Championship side Luton Town, has admitted making irregular payments to agents on three occasions.

But Tomlins told BBC Three Counties that he made no private gain himself and contacted the Football Association to report what had happened.

Following Tomlins approach, the FA has confirmed it is holding an inquiry.

Tomlins added he felt it was the right time to resign with major investment into the club expected within 48 hours. It remains unclear whether the investment amounts to a direct takeover of the club.

Tomlins told the BBC that the irregular payments were made through the club's holding company J10.

A Luton statement said: 'Earlier this year Mr Tomlins approached the FA requesting a meeting to clarify certain matters relating to the football club. Following this meeting the FA is currently carrying out an inquiry.'

Tomlins said: 'There has been too much disruption surrounding the club in recent months. I feel it is appropriate for me to stand down at this time.'

The Luton statement added: 'The board recognises the contribution made by Mr Tomlins while he was chairman of the club. As the matter is now with the Football Association there will be no further comment by the club until the inquiry has been completed.'


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Open Letter from Loyal Luton Supporters Club

29-Nov-2005

Active since 1990, the Loyal Luton Supporters Club strongly believe and promote the ideal of an alternative fans organisation, one that does not blindly toe the official line, but will instead in an intelligent, peaceful, articulate manner, stand up to publicly question club officials and actively lobby for change where it is perceived to be in the best interests of the football club, whilst simultaneously remaining steadfastly unswerving in the support for the team we all love.

Inspired by the desire to bring into the public domain the activities of the David Kohler administration, LLSC mounted a long, strong, visible, law-abiding and transparent stance against his both his leadership and long term plans for our club. Unfortunately his final legacy was administration. Disenfranchised fans regrouped and with the financial input of Cliff Basset the club took its first steps forward for the first time in many years. Many years of hard campaigning were rewarded, LLSC are proud of the role we played.

More recently, LLSC members actively contributed to the demise of the despotic Gurney regime, enthusiastically promoting the formation and principles of TiL. Inspired by the support shown by all Luton Town supporters, Loyal Luton members were instrumental in formulating a business plan to reclaim the club, collectively volunteering hundreds of hours of free time and thousands of pounds of personal savings in the campaign to finally extricate the club from the stewardship of John Gurney.

LLSC initiated the active petitioning of season ticket holders to withhold funds as Gurney's final desperate attempt to fleece the club of funds became apparent. The money that was denied him, helped keep the club afloat during the dark days of administrative receivership. Nonetheless despite strong overtures, LLSC members unanimously declined the opportunity to sit on the TiL committee, determined to retain an independent stance.

We are now seeing the first signs of discontent between Mike Newell and the Board. We empathise with, agree with and totally support Mike's viewpoint; the complete lack of progress and broken promises to relocate of the club within Luton is unacceptable. Even without a new stadium, there is an urgent need for tangible inward investment. The present training facilities are absolutely inadequate for a club hoping to compete effectively at Championship level; improvement in this area will benefit all players and staff. Top quality facilities will help us find and attract the next Curtis Davies' and counter the MK Dons success in actively recruiting young talent from our traditional catchment area.

Today, Loyal Luton is launching a campaign that celebrates the 120 year link between the town of Luton and its football club. We will leave no stone unturned in our desire to support a team with a sustainable and viable prosperous future within the borough boundaries. We want a community club in a new stadium that we are proud of, a club where we can all bring our children and our grandchildren, a club we can all continue to support with passion, a club that plays its football in Luton.

On the back of the disappointing news that J10 has fallen through, we now ask for your support in finding the answers to the many questions (below) that Bill Tomlins needs to answer and to support the ultimate goal of watching Luton Town playing football in Luton. The current board of directors have promised the fans a new era of transparency, where in practice have delivered only misinformation and ambiguity. We deserve better.

Dear Bill

The news the proposed J10 stadium development is unlikely to proceed has come as a shock and a body blow to all Luton Town supporters. For and on behalf of the fans we would be grateful for answers to the following questions;


These are just some of the many issues supporters have raised. Are you prepared and willing to facilitate an open public forum, preferably in arrangement with BBC Three Counties Radio to address all of these and other concerns? Consequently, we believe that any forum should also feature elected representatives of the people of Luton and senior local figures.


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Stadium Plans Hit By Airport Development

01-Nov-2005

The recent announcement of the draft Master Plan for the development of London Luton Airport includes the proposed building of a new runway. The draft plan shows the public safety zone being moved from its current position over Stockwood Park to directly over the proposed relocation site at Junction 10a.

From Official Club Site:

The Airport intends to submit a planning application in 2007, which will be followed by a public enquiry delaying any decision on the relocation site until 2009. Even then there is no guarantee that the new proposed public safety zone could be changed.

Disappointingly this has come after eighteen months of protracted negotiations with Stockwood Park Property Holdings Ltd the present landowner of the Junction 10a site.

Whilst having been focused on the site at Junction 10a, the Club's directors have looked at alternative options for relocation, in particular a site to the north of the town, adjacent to Junction 12 of the M1.

As a result, meetings have been held with the landowner and the local authorities for the purpose of building a 20,000+ all-seat stadium, rather than the initial 15,000- seat stadium that was originally planned for the Junction 10a site.

We have been encouraged by the positive response we have received from our meetings, and despite the current circumstances it should still be possible to have a new stadium in time for 2008/9 season.

From Trust in Luton:

TRUST IN LUTON CALL FOR NEW STADIUM

Trust in Luton today called for supporters to unite behind the campaign for a new stadium - and urged the local and government authorities to work with the club to secure a move from Kenilworth Road to a new state-of-the-art facility.

Trust in Luton chairman Liam Day said: "We are keen to seize the momentum engendered by the news that Brighton will be able to move to Falmer, so before Saturday's home game against Burnley, we will be asking fans to sign a petition expressing total backing for a new ground, its quick progression, a desire for clear communication of plans, and the belief that all commercial revenues generated from the stadium and in the footprint of a new ground should be retained by the club for the club."

He continued: "We are showing our support for the direction the club is now moving in, as well as calling upon the club directors, local and central government authorities and all other involved parties to work together to provide a sporting facility of which our great club and town can be proud."

Please sign the petition.


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Chance to come out of administration

08-May-2004

There has been encouraging news regarding the ongoing struggle for Luton Town to come out of administrative receivership. It has been confirmed that all the paper work has been completed, the boxes are ticked and an announcement is expected next week... reports Hatternet.

The club are now waiting for the Football League's board members to give a final backing to the takeover and the deal should go through. This is expected to happen over the next few days and Chief Executive Cherry Newbery confirmed in an interview with BBC Three Counties that the League would not have to have a board meeting for the takeover to go through. The final decision could be made via conference call for example.

The Labour MP for South Luton, Margaret Moran, spoke out today on the matter, saying to the BBC, that all the paperwork had been completed and that an announcement would be made next week.

Cherry Newbery confirmed the situation, but was disappointed that the MP had spoken out without contacting the club first. Newbery said that Moran hadn't contacted the club in 10 months.

=================== Previously ===================

Luton fans hope to take the first step towards seizing control of their club at a meeting with potential investors planned for next week by local MP Margaret Moran reports the BBC.
The Luton South MP claims to have held initial talks with a number of potential investors who could help hand Luton over to the newly-formed Supporters' Trust.
'I'm convinced it is the only way forward for Luton,' Moran said. 'The fans don't have the financial backing yet, but I believe there's an opportunity here to stack up a grouping with the Trust at its heart. 'We would expect serious representation on the board, with significant influence.
'I have spoken to three or four individuals who have financial backing. 'There are other consortia who were interested in the club when Gurney took over, other people who don't want to be identified.

================== Previously ==================
16.07.03

Luton Town have gone into administrative receivership with managing director John Gurney losing control of the club.

The club has been placed into administrative receivership by the club's major creditor.
Luton have not been placed into administration, administrative receivership a non-court procedure.
Following Gurney's departure the club has now extended the period for discounted season tickets in a bid to try and boost cash flow.

Club secretary Cherry Newbery told Luton's official website. 'I would now appeal to all supporters and commercial clients to support the club and renew their season tickets, sponsorships and commercial packages, safe in the knowledge that your money will benefit Luton Town Football FC
Former Luton boss Joe Kinnear has said he has not given up hope of returning to Kenilworth Road as the club's manager.

================== Previously ===============
09-Jun-2003

The fans' representative on the Luton Town board, Yvonne Fletcher has resigned as she feels her position is 'untenable' . She feels she can't continue on the board without knowing who the new owners are and their plans for the future of the club.
Her full statement released on hatternet reads:

With deep regret I have tendered my resignation as a director from the board of Luton Town Football Club today, I feel my position has become completely untenable.
My role over the last three years has been difficult at times but became increasingly so this year when very little information was available from the Chairman or his deputy and there was a complete lack of openness about their future plans for the club.
I cannot continue to serve on the board while: the owners of the club are unknown; the ownership of, and plans for, the land at Junction 10 are unknown; the proposed make-up of a new board is unknown; and the plans for financing the club are unknown.
The club's management seems to be in chaos with no professional leadership emerging from the business consortium which, we are led to believe, has bought the club from Mike Watson-Challis. Business is seemingly being conducted via late night web-site postings rather than through the usual commercial channels.
I was delighted to be one of some 3,000 supporters who were at Kenilworth Road on Saturday to give a unanimous mandate to set up a supporters' trust. I look forward to giving the embryonic organisation, Trust in Luton, any assistance I can to ensure the supporters have a real say in the running of their football club in the future.
It is with great sadness that I have concluded that I can best help to secure the future of Luton Town by working outside of the club rather than with the current owners, whoever they may be. I would like to thank the many Luton fans who have given me such great support over the last three years.
Hatternet.com will continue to have the latest on the new owners and the crisis at Kenilworth Road.

==================== Previously ====================
3.06.03

Roger Terrell and Lee Power, who were asked by the new board to take over the everyday running of the club have issued the following statement today.

'We refer to the Press Conference last Tuesday at Kenilworth Road in which we envisaged we would have been appointed Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Luton Town Football Club.

'As a result of the reaction of the supporters, we decided to reconsider out position and we have had further discussions with the investors in the Club and we have decided to decline their offer to be involved.

'We wish Luton all the best for the future.'

Peter Miller, who is the commercial director at Northampton Town, has also issued a statement today. He says that he has never been involved in buying the club, but he did have a consultive role for the new consortium after contact from John Gurney.

More details on Hatternet

===================== Previously =====================
2.06.03
The following is a statement by Mr Watson-Challis, now Life President, reported on Hatternet. Make of it what you will.

'I confirm that the deal I agreed was selected from a number because I consider it the best way forward. The future of the Club is guaranteed, as is the funding of a fine new stadium.

'Whilst I am part of the new set-up, the management team must be left to decide what changes need to be made to amongst other things cut the wage bill in order to ensure that outgoings do not exceed income. I have poured millions of pounds into the club, putting it where it is today. The fans and supporters were expected to appreciate all my efforts and understand that I could not keep pouring money into a black hole.

'I ask that all supporters give the new management team a chance to prove themselves. The actual identity of the people involved is far less important than what they are able to do for the Club. Many top businessmen prefer that knowledge as to where they place their money is kept strictly confidential.'

Mr Watson-Challis hit out at supporter's club chairman Mark Chapman after his recent interview with the BBC.
'No wall of silence exists except in the crazy imagination of people such as Mr Chapman and those who use him as their spokesperson. He says: 'No-one was aware that the Club was up for sale.' It wasn't.
'There is no hidden agenda as alleged by Mr Chapman and I personally object to his suggestion that there might be.
'I took Luton Town over when it was on its knees and promised to get it back to good health and provide it with a new stadium. I am a man of integrity and jealously guard my hard-earned good reputation, which it seems some people are out to tarnish. In the fullness of time, all those who have made slanderous comments and allegations will have to eat their words. All I can do at present is to ask everyone involved to relax in the knowledge that were it not for the new arrangements, the Club would probably have folded. Its future is now secure and will always be in Luton Town on the site at Junction 10 which I bought for that purpose.'

================== Previously ==================
27.05.03

Many fans are expected to turn up to protest over the recent events at Luton. The still unknown new owners are set to hold their first board meeting on Tuesday and will be making a press statement shortly after. Supporters are encouraged to come along throughout the day, whenever they can. The protest officially begins at 10am, BBC Three Counties Radio will be broadcasting their breakfast show from outside ground.

Meanwhile Terry Fenwick last night confirmed to local paper Luton on Sunday that he has been interviewed for the Luton Town manager's job. No other names have been linked with the job to date. Fenwick says he was interviewed by a gentleman named Peter Miller. Miller and Fenwick are both Directors of Pro Caribbean Sports Agency, although Fenwick neglected to mention this.
'Miller is an ex-Director of Wimbledon and Northampton, where Fenwick spent 7 games as Manager before being fired last season. His partner in the consortium is believed to be John Gurney, the man who sold Bedford Rugby Club to Coventry, and who in 2000 was arrested for his alleged part in a �100 million pound drug smuggling ring.
'The key to the deal is believed to be the land at J10 of the M1 which previous owner Mike Watson-Challis bought with a view to developing a new stadium for the club at. The ownership of the large prime greenfield development site is believed to have passed to the new owners for next to nothing as part of the deal. Fans are worried by the new consortium's motives for purchasing the heavily in debt club, and by rumours emanating from the website of Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association that the new owners of Luton are planning to liquidate the club, hand their players over to WFC and throw in their lot with Charles Koppel's Wimbledon up in Milton Keynes.
'Most of all they are angry at the treatment of Harford and Kinnear. Many are not renewing their season tickets and protests against the new regime are already planned for the first home game of the season, still over 2 months away.'

A fans view of these events

Caroline Dunn, used to write for the Official Site and has also published a book on the Hatters, has sent this message to all football fans.

Dear all,
Whether you're Lutonians, Hatters or fans of another club, you'll have heard by now that Joe Kinnear and Mick Harford were sacked, in what was apparently a rather underhand way. Rumours abound as to who might be the new manager, but if these rumours are correct, our new buyers may well be the same people who are property developers and tried to buy Sixfields and Northampton Town, which means that their associate Terry Fenwick will be part of the deal.
Frankly, regardless of who takes over (and if it's Fenwick this will just disgust me even further) I am outraged at the treatment that Joe and Mick have received. There is no way that the new owners can recover from this kind of publicity disaster; they have the fans against them from day one. No one, I repeat no one, is more popular with and more loved by Luton fans than Mick Harford, and unless they manage to resurrect Eric Morecambe from the dead and install him as first team coach, the new owners will never be forgiven. As for Joe, controversial and mouthy though he may be, it cannot be denied that he has breathed new life into a demoralised club
As a result, I feel that I cannot renew my season ticket for Kenilworth Road at the present time, and have requested a refund as soon as possible. I do not want my money going into the pockets of these people who obviously have no feeling or understanding of Luton Town FC, and I certainly do not want it to be part of a compensation package for two men who should never have lost their jobs in the first place.
After the glory and delirium of 2001-02, and a decent season back in the Second Division (together with the launch of my book, for which the club provided me with invaluable help, and for which I will always be grateful), I did not entertain for a second the possibility that I might not be back in my seat in the Kenilworth Lower Tier for 2003-04. Sadly, I feel that I have no choice.
Whether you are Lutonians, Hatters or fellow football fans, I ask you to show your support. It looks like these new owners have no interest in football and just want to get their hands on the land at Junction 10 earmarked for our new stadium. For those of you who support other teams and may not understand quite how much Mick Harford means to us, try and imagine this happening to your own greatest ever striker, who was an England international at his peak. If you've ever had a former player return to your ground with another side and receive a standing ovation just for warming up as a substitute, you'll know what I mean.
So contact the club, by e-mail to the fans' rep on the board, Yvonne Fletcher at yfletcher@lutontown.co.uk or to the club secretary Cherry Newbery at clubsec@lutontown.co.uk, or by telephone (01582 411622) or by writing to these new owners care of the club, Maple Road, Luton LU4 8AW. Write to the Luton News Sports Desk at Media House, 39 Upper George Street, Luton LU1 2RD. Write to your own club fanzines and let them know what's going on here. I also ask you to forward this e-mail on to any other football fans you know.
Thanks for your time.

Caroline.
More details on hatternet (link below)

=================== Previously ===================
21.05.03

Local newspaper, Luton on Sunday has been running reports claiming Luton Town may be up for sale.
The paper state that the club has failed to deny reports that Chairman Mike Watson-Challis is frustrated by the time being taken to get the Hatters into a new stadium and start making the club more sustainable and is ready to call it a day.
He is believed to be currently paying thousands of pounds into the club every week to just keep the club afloat.
The Luton and Dunstable on Sunday said today that they had learned from an 'impeccable source' that the club is talking with interested parties who are putting bids together.
It said, 'The matter is hush hush because of the early and delicate stage of the negotiations.'
The newspaper say they have tried to contact the club over the allegations but recieved no answer and that the club failed to return any of their messages.
More info on hatternet web site


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