11 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
LUTON HAVE BEEN TO HELL, BACK AGAIN FAMILY MAN . . . Admiral Muskwe took his family, including his mother, sister and brother to Kenilworth Road on the day he was unveiled as a Luton Town player just before the start of the season


Martin Samuel in LONDON

LUTON Town play what is possibly the biggest match in their history on Friday. Next Monday there is another one.

And, the biggest of all on May 29 if all goes well.

That is 11 days after Rangers travel to Seville for a mammoth date with Eintracht Frankfurt that could grant them instant entry to the Champions League group stage.

Two very different clubs, but with a connection FAILURE. If Luton can make it through the Championship play-offs, they will complete a journey that began in the National League, falling through the fourth-tier, courtesy of a 30-point deduction for financial mismanagement.

At the start of this campaign they brought in an army of players, including Zimbabwean forward, Admiral Muskwe, who was signed from Leicester City.

The others were Reece Burke, Henri Lansbury, Amari’i Bell, Camerone Jerome, Allan Campbell, Fred Onyedinma, Carlos Medes, Jed Steer, Matt Ingram, Alex Palmer, Robert Snogras and Elliot Thorpe.

For Rangers, the road to Andalucia began at Brechin City on July 29, 2012, their first match as a Division Three side, following demotion after financial collapse.

Yet, here they both are.

Back, if not at the summit, then certainly within sight of it. Rangers have subsequently won the Scottish title, and the championship in the three tiers below. Luton have won the National League and League One titles, and promotion from League Two.

For both clubs, it has been a fabulous ride. And, nobody is advocating fiscal incompetence as a perverse road to glory.

There has been a lot of heartache, too, days when it must have been feared these clubs might not survive or would be cast into oblivion.

And yet, that is football.

There now seems to be a movement to ensure that every club exists in a safe space.  No club ever fails, no club ever gambles. They are run, all of them, like provincial accountancy groups, with the sole aim of getting their taxes in on time.

Yet some clubs have to blow it for others to take their place. That is what makes football compelling.

Oldham were founder members of the Premier League but will play in the National League next season. Luton are coming the other way.

These are football journeys. They make the game exciting. Forest Green Rovers were founded in 1889 but only entered the Football League in 2017.

Next season they will play in tier three.

We want rules and checks and balances and safety nets and harnesses, and the Government to mark the owners’ homework, and for the ultimate ambition to be 12th place and a nice, big tick from the regulator.

But someone still has to go down.

And the more it is painted as this doomsday scenario, the more fear there will be.

And yet the shadows and light are where the magic is. Luton were doomed by a rogue owner called John Gurney. He sacked Joe Kinnear, the manager, and then gave him the opportunity to win his job back via a public poll. Despite Kinnear’s approval rating running at 85 per cent locally, he somehow lost by four votes.

‘Of course the voting was fair,’ said Gurney, affronted. ‘It was done by the people from Pop Idol.’

And, truly, it must have been soul-destroying to be a Luton fan through those times.

Of course, not every club get a redemption tale, a happy ending. Bury certainly haven’t, Oldham haven’t. Bradford fell from the Premier League to the fourth tier and, so far, have stayed there,

Yet we have seen it done.

By Wigan, by Wimbledon, by Bournemouth, maybe by Luton.

There has to be the freedom to get it right, and wrong. There has to be joy, and pain.

We cannot insulate from success, or failure, because that is the game. The journey is the game. Whether to Seville, Luton Airport or Oldham, in the snow. Mailonline.

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