Knockouts Guide to Boro v Luton
By fmttm
Thursday 01 Aug 2019 17:07:00
Browse all Boro Views articles
It has been a long, long time since Boro played Luton. A whole new century and millennium since we last darkened the doors of Kenilworth Road. They smashed FIVE past us that day. Manager Bryan Robson felt embarrassed and humiliated. A bit like the guy stood in his vest at his bathroom window in clear view of all the Boro fans filing out of the away end.

Anyway, it has been so long that I thought I would ask two Lutonians, Andy (EPS) and Tim (TPK) to fill us in on what has been happening, what we can expect down there and whether they are excited or nervous about their televised return to the Championship on Friday night.

Here we go. No conferring.. actually take it to committee if needs be and take your time if you wish. Am here all week...

Fly: It has been a long time since you played at this level – what took you so long and is it good to be back in the Championship?

EPS - It’s been a while, yes. Last time we were up at this level, we were managed and owned by a cabal of ne-er do wells, who seemed to throw everything at the club then take everything out and broke every rule in the FA Book of Rules. As a result, we were penalised 40 points in two seasons. In hindsight, I think anyone with any say or authority in the club was on power trips and class A drugs. I imagine board meetings being a cross between Goodfellas and an out of control meeting of the allotment committee.

Kenilworth Road

TPK – some of us enjoyed, arguably too much, being big fish in the little leagues – thrashing the likes of Hayes & Yeading – taking HUGE numbers to clubs that’d rarely seen the like (though, frankly, an away following of a few hundred could overwhelm some of those grounds)… by season four, life in the Non-League possibly wasn’t funny anymore. We got bogged down – possibly stayed in the Fourth Division a season too long too – but two promotions in two seasons has given some of us nosebleeds.

Is it good to be back? Ask us in October…

Fly: Tell us who we should look out for in the Luton ranks? Who could cause us problems?

EPS - We’ve just SMASHED our transfer record on a goalie. I think that may give a clue as to which direction we think the threat will come from. For us, it’s difficult to say. On his day, and with the right conditions, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu can run though walls. Last season he learned how to get his head up and pass. He’s great. Too often used as a defensive midfielder though.

Last season’s top scorer James Collins relied on some great service from our marauding full backs, both of whom were sold. We’ve got a quick lad with a busy hairdresser, Harry Cornick, although Harry doesn’t seem to know where the goal is. We also have Kazenga LuaLua. He was on a short term contract last season and left in summer. But came back, possibly after not having found more lucrative employment. ‘Kaz’ hasn’t featured in the friendlies and “some way off” in terms of fitness.

TPK – my fear is that nobody will cause Middlesbrough any problems.

Fly: You have had a few comings and goings in the transfer market – anyone making an impression so far?

EPS - Err, I haven’t been to friendlies. Justin and Stacey (last season’s full backs) will be huge losses next season. That said, our business has been described as ‘canny’ so far. I’ll wait before passing judgement on the new lads. All the new signings look great on the teaser videos we (and other clubs) have.

TPK – No. Business may seem canny to some. Getting promoted then selling off assets reminds me of the last time we were here.

Fly: How about the new manager, Graeme Jones, he has real pedigree doesn't he as assistant at Wigan, Everton and Belgium, how do you feel he will cut it in charge?

Graeme JonesEPS - He talks a good game. The former Jones the Manager (Nathan; said he’d only leave if Barcelona came in for him; he’s now at Stoke) wowed everyone with his passion, intensity, Christian tattoos and sense of humour bypass. He was a fantastic manager. Might still be. G Jones feels more measured. His pedigree is excellent. I suppose there may be a question about how he’s not managed before; specifically, WHY NOT? We’ll see.

TPK – He has got pedigree. He knows football at this higher level – better losing 5-1 at home to Norwich in a friendly than against Middlesbrough on Friday… I’m clinging to these kind of sentiments on social media.

Fly: What are your hopes and expectations for this season?

EPS - I hope we can stay up. I expect we’ll struggle. I expect our fans to have lost all hope and reason by mid-September. I hope the board stays strong with its wage structure and sound management and that plans for our new stadium continue apace. TPK – staying up would be fine. We said that this time last year too… sod it, Town may only be at Kenilworth Road a season or two (probably three) more – let’s go for another unlikely promotion season and inflict the old place on the Premier League. Fly: We haven't been down to Luton this century. We need to get to know the place again. Is Lorraine Chase still flying from Luton Airport?

EPS - Luton Airport, technically, doesn’t exist any more. It’s London Luton Airport. Thieving metropolitan b#st*rds waited until Chase, Rossiter and Cats UK made us a laughing stock, then took over. Or something. Lots of people use the airport. England FC are often there, and we’re London’s business airport of choice. Whatever that means.

TPK – Northern post-industrial town in the South East. It’s rather grim here now, and may get worse. We look forward to the new stadium, which really should revitalise the town centre.

Fly: Please recommend us somewhere to go or even something to do in Luton?

EPS - Well, it depends what you’re after. Pubs are rare as hens’ teeth. Good pubs even rarer. Luton’s not the most hospitable place for the visitor. For ‘Boro fans who want to make a weekend of it, we’d suggest The Mossman Collection (biggest collection of carriages in the UK) and Someries Castle. Someries isn’t really a castle, but an early brick building. A nice place to take a thermos and watch the planes from the aforementioned London Luton Airport. We also have bridges over the M1 and the Midland Main Line for those who prefer watching roads and railways. The library’s nice. The Bricklayers and Black Horse public houses (if they’re open to away fans) are the real ale places; other pubs are available. Just.

Luton also boasts the world’s 26th best jazz venue, The Bear Club. It’s excellent.

TPK – with the airport and motorway et al, Luton’s very handy for elsewhere. St Albans is nice… nice, nice, wealthy and nice. It’s got an Abbey. No, sod it, stay in Luton and take in Bury Park – the football ground is right in the middle of it – a thriving Asian community. No pubs, but some excellent shops and no-frills curry houses. They’ll take some seeking out, but are well worth it. Take that all in, then go see “Blinded by the Light”, the big screen adaptation of Sarfraz Manzoor’s Greetings from Bury Park.

Fly: Tell us a mad fact about Luton?

EPS - We’re all wrong ‘uns. Bad asses, if you will. Yes, we’ve brought you the Vauxhall Cavalier, straw boaters and Paul Young, but Luton’s historically had Bad-ittude. The Viking advance from the North East was repelled in Leagrave (to the North of the town) by the Luton Saxons. 200 years ago this year, there was a riot in which the town hall was burned down. We have (or had) the longest recorded skid mark in the UK by the Luton South turn off of the M1.

TPK – Eric Morecambe isn’t the only comedy legend with links to the rip-roaring Hatters - Marty Feldman lived in Cutenhoe Road as a kid, and was a big Town fan: “I used to be down at the matches cheering the team on for all I was worth. Every one of the players was a hero to me.”

Fly: Who is your favourite all time Luton player?

EPS - Ricky Hill.

TPK – Many Town fans will say Mick Harford. Some old timers say Gordon Turner. I loved Brian Stein… Ricky Hill was the best.

Fly: Could you recommend us some Beds music that we might tune into on our drive down the M1?

EPS - Certainly. May I direct ‘Boro fans to the music of rotten combo rockers, Thrilled Skinny (from the late 1980s) and The Knockouts (more recent)? Our Spotify statements could do with an injection of some sort. Otherwise, it’s pretty niche. UK Decay claim to have invented gothic rock. They’re from Luton. Then the aforementioned Paul Young…. You should really be asking a younger person this question.

Thrilled Skinny

TPK – I’ve little to add. Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull lived/worked in Luton in the mid-sixties. They’re good aren’t they? How far should one dabble in Jay-Tull? Is it worth getting their greatest hits on one’s device?

Fly: Any good fanzines in your parts?

EPS - Clod Magazine. Fans of the everyday, the tedious, the stuff that gets left in the pockets and out through a hot wash, the C120s left on the car dashboard, the mismatched cutlery. Champions of reduced bin collections, dress codes and old fluorescent light tubes.


TPK – Vandalism begins at Home is a decent little local fanzine.

Fly: Oh and I almost forgot, how do you see the Luton v Boro match going?

EPS - Luton 1 – 3 Middlesbrough. Collins will open the scoring for us after a spirited start, but you chaps will work us out after 20 mins. 2-1 at half-time. 3-1 at the end. I’d almost take that. Attendance 10,101. Luton Motm: Simon Sluga (our new bulletproof goalie).

TPK – My trepidation is much like before our facing Sunderland for the first home game last year. They looked a class above, and we got away with a 1-1 draw. I’d settle for that. My fear is that we might end up looking a bit silly on the telly. Oh, but they’ve moved the TV gantry from the main stand to the top of the “Executive” boxes. Hopefully the new vantage point will show a (old, old fashioned – ridiculously cramped) football ground rather than the row of sorry chalets, which the club put in after Millwall fans redeveloped the stand in 1985.


Thank you so much to Andy and Tim, once both representatives of Thrilled Skinny and more latterly The Knockouts – Thrilled Skinny were once national tour supports to Wedding Present you know and much, much more besides. Try and get hold of a copy of Clod magazine it is a work of DIY art.

Knockouts music



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