This might change you, all this.
Being irrevocably Luton, you think of yourself as a bit of an outsider I imagine, mate. You’re not really very “ample parking and catering facilities” to be honest; you’re more “ankle deep in whatever that is on the floor of the bogs ruining your trainers”. Don’t look at me like that.
You’re just a nostalgic exhibit in the smoking area by the bins of the Museum of English Football Past. You are the Malice in the shadows of their Wonderland, a roaming funeral pyre for the gentrified generation out there, with spray paint on your coat and a moody Sky box. And don’t you just love it.
It defines us. The resilience re-born of our Bedfordshire betrayal by the Bodies that govern football keeps us coming back year after year. This angry old school badge of honour hung from the rafters of our angry old school ground, recently personified, in a way, by an old school manager too. Well make way for the new...
Just before Christmas the Board announced that around the 2020 mark, all being well, the football club will move to a new home at Power Court. Almost double in size, smack bang in the middle of town. Four stands. Station. Pubs. It couldn’t be more perfect if they renamed Church Street “Wegerle Way”. Actually that would be better.
Hot on its heels was the announcement of a new manager so modern he’s barely managed anyone else anywhere outside of this young New Year. He’s young too, maybe younger than you. And he’s got his own badges to honour; a UEFA Pro License, which I believe is like doing that motorway driving thing after you pass your test.
Nathan Jones was once signed for Luton Town by David Pleat. He’s a studious coach by trade who likes quick, flowing football. There are even whispers of tiki-taka emerging from the Tikka haze of Kenilworth Road (that’s Catalan for ON THE DECK, lads). So, a sprinkling of Luton pedigree and plenty of scope for moaning about how he should just play 4-4-2 when we’ve had a bad week. Your Dad’ll be buzzing, mate.
This new managerial era is set to be less about the traditional, paternal presence of his predecessor and more about the dynamism of young ideas; just as, when it comes, the new ground might offer a new way of watching the game and more financial security for the club, just without the familiar echoes and smells of Saturdays past that currently let you know you’re home. It could be awful, or the stuff of Lutopian dreams.
But, as a wise man formerly known as David Jones (no relation) once said, things don’t really change. A bit of leg room and taps that work in the toilets won’t turn you into a passive, Selfie Sticking Gooner overnight will they? And with all the respect in the world to John, Hakan and Terry, I’m pretty sure we can agree that the football we’re playing could do with a facelift from the future.
Despite what Bowie (née Jones) said next, I’m willing to give this Modern Love a try.