Memories of 1985 - What It Was Really Like!
It`s hard to believe that the night of 13th March 1985 was really almost 28 years ago.
The images of that night remain crystal clear in my mind.
I`d taken the walk from Limbury Mead down to Kenilworth Road quite early in the evening. Accompanied by two friends we`d noticed, as we walked past the Conway Arms that there was a tension in the air, the sound of sirens alerted us to the fact that all was not well too far away from us.
Walking up Oak Road, onlookers knew we were home fans, but we kept our heads down and shuffled along at a quick pace before darting through the turnstiles and up those once familiar steps that lead to the back of the Oak Road.
Taking our places on the terracing closer to the Bobbers Stand as opposed to the central area of the Oak Road, I could see the Kenilworth Road getting more packed by the minute. To the casual observer it looked to be too packed and before we knew what was happening, the crowd were pouring over the fence and rushing onto the pitch.
The atmosphere was surreal, more threatening than I`d experienced at a football ground before and soon missiles were raining into the Oak Road stand. The curvature of the fences, down the front, stopped the hordes getting in so they settled into the Bobbers Stand, dismantling seats and throwing them onto the pitch.
The mayhem continued, a Police presence seemed to be scarce and chaos reigned as Millwall supporters(?) spilled into the Maple Road Stand. The appearance of their manager, George Graham, did little to halt the anarchy and only a tannoy announcement informing the invaders that the match wouldn`t start until they were back in the terrace end restored an air of clam, albeit a temporary one.
I can recall deciding that this wasn`t my arena and opting to leave before the game kicked off, but upon being shown the exit at the bottom of the Oak Road stairs I soon opted to stay. Outside was till teaming with Millwall so I decided to stay and see if Luton could win before I met an untimely fate, the atmosphere was that bad.
As the game progressed, scenes I`d never thought I see continued. Pitch invasions halted play and after Brian Stein scored, grown men were lying on the pitch trying to get the game abandoned. In the Maple Road seats I witnessed a huge brawl that saw several Luton supporters pushed onto the terrace where they were set upon again.
At one point I saw an appeal on the famous scoreboard asking for the ITV presenter Danny Baker to get in touch with ITV, no doubt they`d heard what was going on and wanted an update. I can recall those tunnels that split the Kenilworth Road terrace into three being covered by Millwall supporters keen to get a view of the action.
At the final whistle there was yet more carnage. Millwall were on the pitch again and the Police, outnumbered by several hundred, were retreating. Seats and anything that came to hand were being thrown but then something happened, something that had Luton supporters cheering, as the Police regrouped and ran towards the Millwall, closely followed by several hundred Luton supporters.
The Millwall supporters turned on their heels and ran out through the huge exit in the Bobbers Stand, continuing their wrecking spree as they made their way down the road and back to the railway station.
Soon after I left the Oak Road stand, heading straight up Dunstable Road, head down and legs carrying me as fast as I can I wanted out of there quickly and too right, not once did I look back!