1987–88 Luton Town F.C. season

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Luton Town
1987–88 season
Chairman England David Evans
Manager England Ray Harford
Football League First Division 9th
FA Cup Semi-final
Football League Cup Winners
Full Members Cup Runners-up
Top goalscorer League:
Mark Stein (11)
All:
Mick Harford (21)
Highest home attendance 13,010 vs Oxford United (Football League Cup, 28 February 1988)
Lowest home attendance 4,240 vs Wigan Athletic (Football League Cup, 6 October 1987)
Average home league attendance 8,039[1]
Home colours
Away colours

The 1987–88 season was the 103rd season in the history of Luton Town Football Club. It was Luton Town's 68th consecutive season in the Football League, and their 71st overall. It was also their sixth successive season in the First Division, and their 12th overall. The season is one of the club's most successful of all time, as Luton Town achieved a ninth place finish in the league, won the Football League Cup, and reached the FA Cup semi-final and Full Members Cup final. As League Cup winners, they would normally have qualified for the UEFA Cup, but were denied a first-ever foray into European competition due to the ban on English clubs as a result of the 1985 Heysel disaster continuing for a fourth season.

This article covers the period from 1 July 1987 to 30 June 1988.

Background[edit]

1982–83 saw Luton Town back in the First Division under David Pleat, making a final day escape from relegation at Maine Road through Raddy Antić.[2] By 1985–86 Pleat had ensured that Luton had climbed to a ninth place finish, but at the end of the season Pleat left to take up the reins at Tottenham Hotspur.[2][3] Youth team manager and former player John Moore was promoted to manager, and former Fulham boss Ray Harford was brought in as his assistant.[4] Due to the club's infamous ban on visiting supporters, 1986–87 saw Luton excluded from the Football League Cup.[2] However, it proved to be Luton Town's best yet, as Moore and Harford took the club to their highest ever league finish; seventh.[2] When Moore resigned after only one season, Harford was promoted to manager for the 1987–88 campaign.[5]

Review[edit]

July–September[edit]

The promotion of Ray Harford to manager ensured a sense of continuity was maintained at Kenilworth Road, as Harford had been assistant to John Moore the previous season. Danny Wilson arrived from Brighton & Hove Albion during July in a £150,000 deal,[6] as the club looked to build on their seventh place finish the year before.

Luton started their assault on the First Division badly, not winning their first game of the campaign until the sixth time of asking with a 5–2 victory over Oxford United at the Manor Ground. A second victory followed the next week, as Luton beat Everton 2–1. Meanwhile, Harford continued to dabble in the transfer market – Scottish winger Mickey Weir arrived from Hibernian for £230,000, while Robert Wilson and Stacey North were sold to Fulham and West Bromwich Albion respectively.[7][8] Days after the Weir transfer, Mike Newell was transferred to Leicester City.[7] Two league defeats followed, at Charlton Athletic and Queens Park Rangers – but in between there was a winning start in the League Cup as Luton beat Wigan Athletic 1–0 at Springfield Park, courtesy of a goal from new signing Weir.

October–December[edit]

A Mick Harford goal was enough to secure a 1–1 draw against Manchester United at Kenilworth Road, and Harford bagged a hat-trick three days later as Luton trounced Wigan 4–2 in the second leg of the League Cup fixture. Harford scored a penalty at Fratton Park on the 10th, but it wasn't enough to prevent a 3–1 victory for Portsmouth. Ian Allinson signed from Stoke City for £10,000, and made his debut a week later as Luton beat Wimbledon 2–0.[7]

The impact of a 1–0 home defeat to Liverpool was softened by subsequent success in the League Cup, as Coventry were routed 3–1 at Leicester City's Filbert Street. Three comfortable league victories followed, Luton keeping a clean sheet in every one, and the League Cup run continued with a 1–0 win at Ipswich. Defeat at Norwich City was followed by the derby match at WatfordSteve Foster's goal gave Luton a 1–0 victory. A draw and a loss followed, before Luton rounded off the calendar year with a 1–0 home win over Charlton.

January–March[edit]

New Year's Day saw a 3–0 home win over Chelsea – indeed, Luton went through the month unbeaten. The start of the club's FA Cup run saw victory at Hartlepool, while a draw and a victory in the league kept Luton comfortably in mid-table. The League Cup success continued, as Bradford City were beaten 2–0 at Kenilworth Road.

Oxford United then visited Kenilworth Road for one of the more remarkable fixtures of the year – Luton beat Oxford 7–4, as Mark Stein scored a hat-trick. Luton travelled to Oxford four days later for the League Cup semi-final first leg, and came out of the match with a 1–1 draw. Arsenal beat Luton 2–1 at Highbury, before Mickey Weir, who had just signed from Hibernian months before, returned to Hibernian on the 14th in a £200,000 move.[7][8]

Luton achieved victory over Everton in the Full Members Cup, and it then took a replay to knock Queens Park Rangers out of the FA Cup. The second leg in the League Cup against Oxford saw Luton run out 2–0 victors, with a place in the final against Arsenal as their prize.

March saw Luton win two successive matches in the Full Members Cup, but also lose twice in a row in the league. The end of the month saw the Full Members Cup final against Second Division Reading – Luton were defeated 4–1 at Wembley Stadium. Consolation was taken from a 4–1 victory over Portsmouth two days later.

April–June[edit]

Luton lost the FA Cup semi-final 2–1 to Wimbledon, and Luton only won once in the league during April. The League Cup Final against Arsenal came on the 24th, and Luton took an early lead through Brian Stein. Luton were overhauled by the opposition during the second half, and trailed 1–2 before a penalty was awarded to Arsenal with ten minutes left. Andy Dibble saved Nigel Winterburn's shot, and the Luton team rallied to equalise soon after through Danny Wilson. Stein scored the winner with the last kick of the game to bring the first ever piece of major silverware to Luton.

Following the League Cup victory, Luton drew at Norwich before beating Watford 2–1 at home to complete a double over their rivals. Tottenham Hotspur beat Luton 2–1 at White Hart Lane, before Luton finished the season with four consecutive 1–1 draws with Southampton, Liverpool and Nottingham Forest (twice). Luton achieved a ninth place finish, to go with their cup achievements – an FA Cup semi-final place, a League Cup victory, and a Full Members Cup final.

At the end of the season, Brian Stein left for French club SM Caen on a free transfer, while Emeka Nwajiobi retired from injury.[9][10] Defender John Dreyer signed from Oxford United on 27 June for £140,000.[7]

Match results[edit]

Luton Town results given first.

Legend[edit]

Win Draw Loss

Football League First Division[edit]

For information on this season's First Division, see The Football League 1987–88.
Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers Notes
15 August 1987 Derby County Away 0–1 17,204
18 August 1987 Coventry City Home 0–1 09,380
22 August 1987 West Ham United Home 2–2 08,073 Harford (2)
29 August 1987 Chelsea Away 0–3 16,075
31 August 1987 Arsenal Home 1–1 08,745 Wilson (pen)
5 September 1987 Oxford United Away 5–2 06,804 Breacker, Harford, Hill, Nwajiobi, B. Stein
12 September 1987 Everton Home 2–1 08,124 Hill, B. Stein
19 September 1987 Charlton Athletic Away 0–1 05,002
26 September 1987 Queens Park Rangers Away 0–2 11,175
3 October 1987 Manchester United Home 1–1 09,137 Harford
10 October 1987 Portsmouth Away 1–3 12,391 Harford (pen)
17 October 1987 Wimbledon Home 2–0 07,018 B. Stein, Wilson
24 October 1987 Liverpool Home 0–1 11,997
7 November 1987 Newcastle United Home 4–0 07,638 Nwajiobi, B. Stein, M. Stein (2)
14 November 1987 Sheffield Wednesday Away 2–0 16,960 Allinson, M. Stein
21 November 1987 Tottenham Hotspur Home 2–0 10,091 Allinson (2)
5 December 1987 Norwich City Home 1–2 07,002 B. Stein
12 December 1987 Watford Away 1–0 12,152 Foster
18 December 1987 Southampton Home 2–2 06,618 Harford, McDonough
26 December 1987 Everton Away 0–2 32,128
28 December 1987 Charlton Athletic Home 1–0 07,243 Wilson
1 January 1988 Chelsea Home 3–0 08,018 Harford, B. Stein, M. Stein
2 January 1988 West Ham United Away 1–1 16,716 M. Stein
16 January 1988 Derby County Home 1–0 07,175 McDonough
6 February 1988 Oxford United Home 7–4 08,063 Harford (2), McDonough, B.Stein, M.Stein (3)
13 February 1988 Arsenal Away 1–2 22,612 M.Stein
5 March 1988 Wimbledon Away 0–2 04,854
15 March 1988 Coventry City Away 0–4 13,711
29 March 1988 Portsmouth Home 4–1 06,740 B.Stein, M.Stein, Wilson, own goal
2 April 1988 Newcastle United Away 0–4 20,752
5 April 1988 Sheffield Wednesday Home 2–2 07,337 McDonough, B. Stein
12 April 1988 Manchester United Away 0–3 28,830
19 April 1988 Queens Park Rangers Home 2–1 06,735 Foster, Wilson (pen)
30 April 1988 Norwich City Away 2–2 13,171 M. Stein, Wilson (pen)
2 May 1988 Watford Home 2–1 10,409 Oldfield, Wilson (pen)
4 May 1988 Tottenham Hotspur Away 1–2 15,437 Grimes
7 May 1988 Southampton Away 1–1 12,722 Wilson
9 May 1988 Liverpool Away 1–1 30,374 Oldfield
13 May 1988 Nottingham Forest Home 1–1 09,108 Donaghy
15 May 1988 Nottingham Forest Away 1–1 13,106 Oldfield

FA Cup[edit]

For information on this season's FA Cup, see FA Cup 1987–88.
Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers Notes
3rd Round 9 January 1988 Hartlepool United Away 2–1 06,187 Weir, McDonough
4th Round 30 January 1988 Southampton Home 2–1 10,009 Allinson, B. Stein
5th Round 20 February 1988 Queens Park Rangers Away 1–1 15,856 Harford
5th Round
(replay)
24 February 1988 Queens Park Rangers Home 1–0 10,854 own goal
6th Round 12 March 1988 Portsmouth Home 3–1 12,857 Wilson, M. Stein, Harford
Semi-final 9 April 1988 Wimbledon Neutral 1–2 25,963 Harford [A]

Football League Cup[edit]

For information on this season's Football League Cup, see Football League Cup 1987–88.
Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers Notes
2nd Round
1st Leg
22 September 1987 Wigan Athletic Away 1–0 05,018 Weir
2nd Round
2nd Leg
6 October 1987 Wigan Athletic Home 4–2 04,240 Harford (3), McDonough
3rd Round 27 October 1987 Coventry City Neutral 3–1 11,448 Harford (2), Weir [B]
4th Round 17 November 1987 Ipswich Town Away 1–0 15,643 B. Stein
5th Round 19 January 1988 Bradford City Home 2–0 11,022 Foster, Harford
Semi-final
1st Leg
10 February 1988 Oxford United Away 1–1 12,943 B. Stein
Semi-final
2nd Leg
28 February 1988 Oxford United Home 2–0 13,010 B. Stein, Grimes
Final 24 April 1988 Arsenal Neutral 3–2 95,732 B. Stein (2), Wilson [C]

Full Members Cup[edit]

For information on this season's Full Members Cup, see Full Members Cup 1987–88.
Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers Notes
3rd Round 16 February 1988 Everton Away 2–1 05,204 Oldfield (2)
Quarter-final 1 March 1988 Stoke City Home 4–1 04,580 Harford (2), B. Stein (2)
Semi-final 8 March 1988 Swindon Town Home 2–1 10,027 B. Stein, M. Stein [D]
Final 27 March 1988 Reading Neutral 1–4 61,740 Harford [C]

League table[edit]

Pos
Team
Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Qualification or relegation
1 Liverpool (C) 40 26 12 2 87 24 +63 90
2 Manchester United 40 23 12 5 71 38 +33 81
3 Nottingham Forest 40 20 13 7 67 39 +28 73
4 Everton 40 19 13 8 53 27 +26 70
5 Queens Park Rangers 40 19 10 11 48 38 +10 67
6 Arsenal 40 18 12 10 58 39 +19 66
7 Wimbledon 40 14 15 11 58 47 +11 57
8 Newcastle United 40 14 14 12 55 53 +2 56
9 Luton Town 40 14 11 15 57 58 −1 53
10 Coventry City 40 13 14 13 46 53 −7 53
11 Sheffield Wednesday 40 15 8 17 52 66 −14 53
12 Southampton 40 12 14 14 49 53 −4 50
13 Tottenham Hotspur 40 12 11 17 38 48 −10 47
14 Norwich City 40 12 9 19 40 52 −12 45
15 Derby County 40 10 13 17 35 45 −10 43
16 West Ham United 40 9 15 16 30 52 −22 42
17 Charlton Athletic 40 9 15 16 38 52 −14 42
18 Chelsea (R) 40 9 15 16 50 68 −18 042* Relegation to Second Division
19 Portsmouth (R) 40 7 14 19 36 66 −30 35
20 Watford (R) 40 7 11 22 27 51 −24 32
21 Oxford United (R) 40 6 13 21 44 80 −36 31

Updated to games played on 15 May 1988.
Source: RSSSF
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored
*Chelsea relegated after play-offs defeat to Middlesbrough.
(C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (E) = Eliminated; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round.
Only applicable when the season is not finished:
(Q) = Qualified to the phase of tournament indicated; (TQ) = Qualified to tournament, but not yet to the particular phase indicated; (RQ) = Qualified to the relegation tournament indicated; (DQ) = Disqualified from tournament.

Player details[edit]

Last match played on 15 May 1988.
Players arranged in order of starts (in all competitions), with the greater number of substitute appearances taking precedence in case of an equal number of started matches.[11]
Pos. Name League FA Cup League Cup FM Cup Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
DF England Tim Breacker 40 1 6 0 8 0 2 (2) 0 56 (2) 1
DF England Steve Foster 39 2 6 0 8 1 2 0 55 3
MF England Danny Wilson 38 8 6 1 8 1 2 0 54 10
DF Northern Ireland Mal Donaghy 32 1 6 0 8 0 3 0 49 1
GK England Les Sealey 31 0 5 0 7 0 3 0 46 0
FW England Brian Stein 28 9 5 1 8 5 3 3 44 18
DF Republic of Ireland Ashley Grimes 31 (1) 1 4 (1) 0 3 (2) 1 3 0 41 (4) 2
FW England Mick Harford 24 (1) 9 5 3 7 6 3 3 39 (1) 21
MF England Darron McDonough 24 (3) 4 6 1 6 1 2 0 38 (3) 6
DF England Rob Johnson 21 (4) 0 4 0 7 0 2 (1) 0 34 (5) 0
FW England Mark Stein 20 (5) 11 6 1 4 (1) 0 3 1 33 (6) 13
MF England Ian Allinson 23 (4) 3 5 1 0 0 4 0 32 (4) 4
MF England Ricky Hill 16 (1) 2 0 0 2 0 0 0 20 (1) 2
MF Northern Ireland Kingsley Black 10 (3) 0 0 (1) 0 3 (1) 0 4 0 17 (5) 0
MF England David Preece 13 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 15 0
GK Wales Andy Dibble 9 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 12 0
FW Nigeria Emeka Nwajiobi 10 (2) 2 0 0 1 (1) 0 0 0 11 (3) 2
MF Scotland Mickey Weir 7 (1) 0 1 1 3 2 0 0 11 (1) 3
DF England Marvin Johnson 7 (2) 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 9 (2) 0
MF England David Oldfield 6 (2) 3 0 0 1 (1) 0 1 (1) 2 8 (4) 5
MF England Gary Cobb 4 (3) 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 5 (3) 0
FW England Mike Newell 4 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 (1) 0
MF Republic of Ireland Robert Wilson 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
DF England Richard Harvey 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 (1) 0 2 (1) 0
MF Republic of Ireland Ricky McEvoy 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
MF Northern Ireland Paul Gray 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
DF England Julian James 0 (3) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 (3) 0
DF England Stacey North 0 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 (1) 0
own goal 1 1 0 0 2

Transfers[edit]

In[edit]

Date Player From Fee Notes
16 July 1987 Northern Ireland Danny Wilson Brighton & Hove Albion £150,000 [6]
11 September 1987 Scotland Mickey Weir Scotland Hibernian £230,000 [7][8][E]
October 1987 England Ian Allinson Stoke City £10,000 [7]
27 June 1988 England John Dreyer Oxford United £140,000 [7]

Out[edit]

Date Player To Fee Notes
September 1987 Republic of Ireland Robert Wilson Fulham
16 September 1987 England Mike Newell Leicester City £350,000 [7]
5 November 1987 Wales Mark Walton Colchester United £15,000 [7]
December 1987 England Stacey North West Bromwich Albion £100,000
14 January 1988 Scotland Mickey Weir Scotland Hibernian £200,000 [7]
31 May 1988 England Brian Stein France SM Caen Free [9]
31 May 1988 Nigeria Emeka Nwajiobi Retired [10]

Loans out[edit]

Date Player To End date Notes
1 March 1988 England Sean Farrell Colchester United 16 May 1988 [7]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

A. ^ The FA Cup semi-final against Wimbledon on 9 April 1988 was played at White Hart Lane, home of Tottenham Hotspur.
B. ^ The Football League Cup Third Round match against Coventry City on 27 October 1987 was drawn as a home game for Luton, but was played at Filbert Street, home of Leicester City.
C. ^ The Full Members Cup and Football League Cup Finals, played on 27 March and 24 April 1988 respectively, were both played at Wembley Stadium.
D. ^ The Full Members Cup semi-final match against Swindon Town on 8 March 1988 was drawn at 1–1 after 90 minutes, and finished 2–1 after extra time.
E. ^ The £230,000 fee that brought Mickey Weir to Luton Town from Hibernian was set by a tribunal.[8]

References[edit]

General
Specific
  1. ^ Collings, Timothy (1985). The Luton Town Story 1885-1985. Luton Town F.C. p. 350. ISBN 0-951067-90-7. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Football Club History Database - Luton Town". Richard Rundle. Retrieved 7 May 2009. 
  3. ^ "David Pleat's managerial career". Soccerbase. Retrieved 7 May 2009. 
  4. ^ "John Moore's managerial career". Soccerbase. Retrieved 7 May 2009. 
  5. ^ "Ray Harford's managerial career". Soccerbase. Retrieved 7 May 2009. 
  6. ^ a b "Danny Wilson". Sporting Heroes. Retrieved 7 May 2009. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Luton Town Transfers 1987–88". Soccerbase. Retrieved 7 May 2009. 
  8. ^ a b c d Wash, Roger (2008). Hatters Heroes. Roger Wash. ISBN 978-0-9560832-0-3. 
  9. ^ a b "Brian Stein". Soccerbase. Retrieved 7 May 2009. 
  10. ^ a b "Emeka Nwajiobi". Luton Town F.C. Retrieved 21 May 2009. 
  11. ^ Bailey. The Definitive Luton Town F.C. p. 75.