Date:Tuesday July 25 2006
It has always been thus. Luton are and always have been a selling club.
You cannot hope to compete with the Leeds Uniteds of this world in a strong Coca Cola Championship on gates of 7-10000.
Let's look at the situation from a purely business point of view.
Steve Howard has been a great servant to the club and was probably the best £50k spent in many a long year.
He was awesome in Leagues 2 and 1. In the CCC last year he was good, but was marked out of the game frequently by better quality central defenders, but certainly not the player he was. I believe he had peaked and is now on the downslope. He could have stayed a year and then walked for free, or taken an extension and just carried on.
He was one of, if not the highest earner at the club, and therefore possibly preventing the possibility of a good loan signing from the premiership as Luton's wage bill is not enormous. Loans in league 2 and 1 were easier as the loan players were lower wage earners than the quality players needed on loan in the CCC.
I also believe we will miss him more for his defending at set pieces than as a forward.
From Steve's point of view he knows all of the above, and the opportunity to take the best deal of his career at a time in his career when most players are taking cuts was too good to miss out on. The move will have set him up for his retirement, so let's be grateful for what he has done for the club and not begrudge him security for his family.
The basic squad has been largely unchanged in three years and is clearly not good enough to push for promotion and a rebuild was in order.
With Howie in the side, Luton tended to rely on too many long balls for him to hold up or head for goal, when Luton look much better playing the flowing footbal of which they are capable, as they showed against Liverpool.
Nicholls is a typical hard working hard man. His distribution has never been very good, but he always gave 100%. However, last season he was out with injury and was looking jaded. £1.7m is a lot of money to a club like Luton for 2 players who, arguably, were past their best and is excellent business. If half that was reinvested Luton could bring in 3 players or maybe 4 who are as good if not better but with more shelf-life, and on lower wages, or 2 purchases and a very good loan player on higher wages, and remain within their budget.
Those who are pessimistic about things should look at the previous times that Luton have taken difficult decisions to offload crowd favourites and rebuild. They have invariably emerged the stronger for it.
Several players are coming through, and some will surprise some of us as to how much progress they have made. Barnett is going to be as good as Curtis; a little slower but a stronger tackler. O'Leary has come on immensely and will be a valuable squad member this season. I am not sure about Leary but he played very well in Sweden. Calvin Andrew is a player I have seen (as a referee)first hand in the Youth Team. He was a different class in his age group, and hit the net with monotonous regularity, but lightweight for the first team. He has filled out and become much stronger, and he has the pace and close skills to frighten the effluent out of defenders, and this or next season will be the time he steps up and shows what he can do.
Let's not be pessimistic about things. The only player I am sad to see go is Carlos Edwards, because he is not the full deal yet. He has much to learn and will be a great player. He would have done better to have kept his mouth ( and his agent's mouth) closed and got his head down at Luton for another season and worked on his end product. He has the skill, but his crossing was inconsistent, varying from the incredible to the absolutely woeful, and his shooting from excellent positions created by himself was not Championship standard.
If the W*tford move falls through he will wish he hadn't said that he wanted to go there. Some things in football you do not announce! If he goes there, he will never be forgiven and, if he stays here, it will be a while before he is forgiven.
If he does go to Hertfordshire then let us hope we can relieve our rivals of about £1.5 m in the process and build a team capable of changing places with them when they take their fall next May!
As Luton fans we are some of the most fickle in the land, but let's not talk of season ticket refunds and doom and gloom, let's do what we have been doing to get us from League 2 to 10th in the CCC. Let us be the £5m extra player that spurs the team on to greater effort and watch the new team blossom and thrive.
Whenever 11 players pull on the hallowed shirt of Luton Town (but please not the black one!) I'll be shouting for them, whoever they are!
Date:Tuesday July 25 2006
Luton to Entertain Aston Villa (Friday May 17 2013)
Tyler`s Staying (Friday May 17 2013)
I Wish It Was Us! (Wednesday May 15 2013)
Favourites (Again)! (Monday May 13 2013)
Keeper Ranks Bolstered (Monday May 13 2013)
Nielson Finds New Club (Monday May 13 2013)
Welcome to the Mad World! (Monday May 13 2013)
I Felt Physically Sick! (Monday May 13 2013)
What a Difference a Year Makes (Friday May 10 2013)
Something to Look Forward To? (Wednesday May 8 2013)
|Fairhurst Joins the Imps
» Lincoln : 17/05/2013 18:23:00
|Luton to Entertain Aston Villa
» Luton : 17/05/2013 13:37:00
» Luton : 17/05/2013 13:36:00
|Early bird attracts 1,105
» Stockport : 16/05/2013 13:29:00
|I Wish It Was Us!
» Luton : 15/05/2013 16:53:00
» Lincoln : 15/05/2013 14:55:00
|ST Early Bird Ends today
» Stockport : 15/05/2013 13:45:00