1991–92 Luton Town F.C. season

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Luton Town
1991–92 season
Chairman England Peter Nelkin
Manager England David Pleat
Football League First Division 20th (relegated)
FA Cup Third round
Football League Cup Second round
Full Members Cup Second round
Top goalscorer League:
Mick Harford (12)
All:
Mick Harford (12)
Highest home attendance 13,410 (vs. Manchester United, First Division, 18 April 1992)
Lowest home attendance 6,315 (vs. Birmingham City, Football League Cup, 25 September 1991)
Average home league attendance 9,728[1]
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours

The 1991–92 season was the 106th season in the history of Luton Town Football Club. It was Luton Town's 71st consecutive season in the Football League, and their 74th overall. It was also their tenth successive season in the First Division, and their 16th overall. Luton Town were relegated on the season's final day, and thus condemned to second–tier football for the following season. This deprived them of a place in the new FA Premier League.

It was the first season of David Pleat's second spell as Luton Town manager; he had returned in the 1991 close season as successor to Jimmy Ryan, having previously been the club's manager from 1978 to 1986.

This article covers the period from 1 July 1991 to 30 June 1992.

Background[edit]

The 1985–86 season was David Pleat's final year with Luton,[2] and it was a success as Luton finished ninth.[3] Even following his departure, the team continued to play well – 1986–87 saw a best-ever finish of seventh under John Moore.[3][4] The following year Ray Harford's team won the League Cup with a 3–2 victory over Arsenal,[3] and finished ninth in the league to boot.[3] However, 1988–89 saw Luton drop to 16th,[3] and in 1989–90 the team were battling relegation by December.[5] The replacement of Harford with Jimmy Ryan in January saw Luton improve enough to escape demotion on the final day of the season,[5] a feat that Ryan's team repeated a year later.[6][7][8] Despite keeping Luton in Division One for a ninth successive season, Ryan was fired by chairman Peter Nelkin two days later due a "personality clash".[7][9] David Pleat was promptly re-appointed in his stead.[2]

Review[edit]

July–September[edit]

Right away, Pleat was forced to sell, as homesick star forward Lars Elstrup was sold back to Odense for £200,000.[10] Brian Stein was brought back as his replacement,[11] while another striker, Phil Gray, was signed from Tottenham Hotspur.[12] On the pitch, the season started badly – Luton did not score a goal for four matches, and failed to win in five. Trevor Peake arrived on 27 August,[12] while Kingsley Black, the Northern Ireland international, was sold to Nottingham Forest for £1.5 million on 2 September.[12]

The first victory of the season came two days after the sale of Black, as Luton defeated Southampton 2–1 at Kenilworth Road.[13] Wimbledon then inflicted a 3–0 reverse at Selhurst Park, before the news came that former player Mick Harford had returned from Derby County to lead the forward line. Harford scored two in his first match, to secure a 2–1 win over Oldham Athletic. However, Luton then lost 1–0 at home to Queens Park Rangers before Manchester United piled on the misery with a 5–0 demolition at Old Trafford. A 1–1 draw with Notts County rounded up the month.

October–December[edit]

Two months then followed without a win, as Dave Beaumont left for Hibernian and new signing Steve Thompson left after only seven matches in a swap deal with Leicester City for Des Linton and Scott Oakes.[12] Talented full back Matt Jackson also moved on, to sign for Everton.[12] Form was no better in the cups, as Luton were knocked out of both the League Cup and the Full Members Cup in October. The acquisition of goalkeeper Steve Sutton in November raised spirits,[12] though Luton's next victory did not come until 20 December, when a Harford goal sealed a 1–0 win over Coventry.[14] The next two matches were at home, and Luton won them both – another goal from Harford secured a defeat of Arsenal on Boxing Day,[15] and Chelsea were beaten 2–0 two days later. Despite three successive wins, Luton still remained in the relegation zone on New Year's Day.

January–March[edit]

January was a fruitless month – Nottingham Forest's Des Walker scored an injury-time equaliser to deny Luton their first away win,[16] and the team crashed out of the FA Cup at Sheffield United three days later. Graham Rodger was sold to Hibernian on 8 January,[12] and Chris Kamara was acquired as a replacement.[12] Three consecutive defeats preceded a win against Norwich City on 8 February. Manchester City then beat Luton 4–0 at Maine Road, before Sheffield United visited Kenilworth Road in the League – this time around, Luton won 2–1. The next six matches saw four draws and two losses – tellingly, Luton had not won on the road all season. The board refused to pay the fee to keep Sutton, and so he signed for Derby County instead.[17] Mervyn Day was brought in as a short-term replacement, while midfielder Darron McDonough moved to Newcastle United.[17]

April–June[edit]

Imre Varadi arrived on loan,[12] and scored on his debut as Luton beat Wimbledon.[18] A week later, Luton lost 5–1 at Oldham. Victory over Nottingham Forest at Kenilworth Road gave Luton hope – they were now only three points behind Coventry City with four matches left.[19] Luton drew at home to Manchester United on the 18th, and as Coventry lost to Everton, reduced the gap to two points. Coventry lost again two days later, but as Luton slumped to defeat at Queens Park Rangers no ground was made up.[20] The task was made even more difficult as Luton's terrible goal difference meant that they would have to finish a point ahead of Coventry to stay up – to equal them would not be enough.[21] Luton beat Aston Villa on 25 April, but the news came that Luton fans were dreading – Coventry had beaten West Ham United, and the gap was still two points.[22]

In order for Luton to stay up, they would have to travel to already-relegated Notts County, win their first away match of the campaign, and hope for an Aston Villa victory over Coventry.[23] Julian James gave Luton the lead required, but two goals from County's Rob Matthews put the seal on a dismal season that had gone by without a single away win.[24] Despite losing 2–0 at Villa Park, Coventry stayed up – Luton were relegated after ten years of Division One football.[23]

Ever-present midfielder Mark Pembridge left for Derby County for a £1.25 million fee in June.[12]

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 1991–92.
Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Scorers Notes
17 August 1991 West Ham United Away 0–0 25,079
21 August 1991 Coventry City Away 0–5 09,848
24 August 1991 Liverpool Home 0–0 11,132
27 August 1991 Arsenal Away 0–2 25,898
31 August 1991 Chelsea Away 1–4 17,457 Gray
4 September 1991 Southampton Home 2–1 08,055 Gray, Harvey
7 September 1991 Wimbledon Away 0–3 03,231
14 September 1991 Oldham Athletic Home 2–1 09,005 Harford (2)
17 September 1991 Queens Park Rangers Home 0–1 09,185
21 September 1991 Manchester United Away 0–5 46,491
28 September 1991 Notts County Home 1–1 07,629 Gray
5 October 1991 Aston Villa Away 0–4 18,722
19 October 1991 Sheffield Wednesday Home 2–2 09,401 Harford, Nogan
26 October 1991 Norwich City Away 0–1 10,514
2 November 1991 Everton Home 0–1 08,002
16 November 1991 Tottenham Hotspur Away 1–4 27,643 Harford
23 November 1991 Manchester City Home 2–2 10,031 Harford, Dreyer
30 November 1991 Sheffield United Away 1–1 21,804 Telfer
7 December 1991 Leeds United Home 0–2 11,550
20 December 1991 Coventry City Home 1–0 07,533 Harford
26 December 1991 Arsenal Home 1–0 12,665 Harford
28 December 1991 Chelsea Home 2–0 10,738 Harford, Dreyer (pen)
1 January 1992 Nottingham Forest Away 1–1 23,809 Pembridge
11 January 1992 Liverpool Away 1–2 35,095 own goal
18 January 1992 West Ham United Home 0–1 11,088
1 February 1992 Sheffield Wednesday Away 2–3 22,291 Preece, Oakes
8 February 1992 Norwich City Home 2–0 08,554 Preece, Harford
15 February 1992 Manchester City Away 0–4 22,137
22 February 1992 Sheffield United Home 2–1 09,003 Stein, Harford
25 February 1992 Crystal Palace Away 1–1 12,109 Pembridge (pen)
29 February 1992 Leeds United Away 0–2 28,227
7 March 1992 Crystal Palace Home 1–1 08,591 Oakes
11 March 1992 Tottenham Hotspur Home 0–0 11,494
14 March 1992 Everton Away 1–1 17,388 Stein
21 March 1992 Southampton Away 1–2 14,192 Pembridge
4 April 1992 Wimbledon Home 2–1 07,753 Varadi, Preece
11 April 1992 Oldham Athletic Away 1–5 13,210 Harford
14 April 1992 Nottingham Forest Home 2–1 08,014 Harford, James
18 April 1992 Manchester United Home 1–1 13,410 Harford
20 April 1992 Queens Park Rangers Away 1–2 10,749 Mark Pembridge (pen)
25 April 1992 Aston Villa Home 2–0 11,178 Stein, Pembridge
2 May 1992 Notts County Away 1–2 11,380 James

FA Cup[edit]

For information on this season's FA Cup, see FA Cup 1991–92.
Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers Notes
3rd Round 4 January 1992 Sheffield United Away 0–4 12,201

Football League Cup[edit]

For information on this season's Football League Cup, see Football League Cup 1991–92.
Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers Notes
2nd Round
1st Leg
25 September 1991 Birmingham City Away 2–2 06,315 Gray, Nogan
2nd Round
2nd Leg
8 October 1991 Birmingham City Away 2–3 13,252 Gray (2)

Full Members Cup[edit]

For information on this season's Full Members Cup, see Full Members Cup 1991–92.
Round Date Opponent Venue Result Attendance Goalscorers Notes
2nd Round 22 October 1991 Ipswich Town Away 1–1 5,750 Telfer [A]

League table[edit]

Pos
Team
Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Qualification or relegation
1 Leeds United (C) 42 22 16 4 74 37 +37 82
2 Manchester United 42 21 15 6 63 33 +30 78
3 Sheffield Wednesday 42 21 12 9 62 49 +13 75
4 Arsenal 42 19 15 8 81 46 +35 72
5 Manchester City 42 20 10 12 61 48 +13 70
6 Liverpool 42 16 16 10 47 40 +7 64
7 Aston Villa 42 17 9 16 48 44 +4 60
8 Nottingham Forest 42 16 11 15 60 58 +2 59
9 Sheffield United 42 16 9 17 65 63 +2 57
10 Crystal Palace 42 14 15 13 53 61 −8 57
11 Queens Park Rangers 42 12 18 12 48 47 +1 54
12 Everton 42 13 14 15 52 51 +1 53
13 Wimbledon 42 13 14 15 53 53 0 53
14 Chelsea 42 13 14 15 50 60 −10 53
15 Tottenham Hotspur 42 15 7 20 58 63 −5 52
16 Southampton 42 14 10 18 39 55 −16 52
17 Oldham Athletic 42 14 9 19 63 67 −4 51
18 Norwich City 42 11 12 19 47 63 −16 45
19 Coventry City 42 11 11 20 35 44 −9 44
20 Luton Town (R) 42 10 12 20 38 71 −33 42 Relegation to First Division [B]
21 Notts County (R) 42 10 10 22 40 62 −22 40
22 West Ham United (R) 42 9 11 22 37 59 −22 38

Updated to games played on 2 May 1992.
Source: RSSSF
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored
(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 2 May 1992.
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.[25]
Pos. Name League FA Cup League Cup FM Cup Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
MF Wales Mark Pembridge 42 5 1 0 2 0 1 0 46 5
DF England John Dreyer 42 2 1 0 1 0 0 0 44 2
DF England Trevor Peake 38 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 40 0
MF England David Preece 34 (4) 3 1 0 2 0 0 0 37 (4) 3
FW England Brian Stein 32 (7) 3 1 0 1 (1) 0 0 0 34 (8) 3
DF England Richard Harvey 31 (1) 2 1 0 1 0 0 0 33 (1) 2
FW England Mick Harford 29 12 0 0 1 0 1 0 31 12
DF England Julian James 28 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 30 2
DF England Chris Kamara 28 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 29 0
GK England Alec Chamberlain 24 0 1 0 2 0 1 0 28 0
MF Scotland Paul Telfer 17 (3) 1 1 0 2 0 1 1 21 (3) 2
MF England Scott Oakes 15 (6) 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 16 (6) 2
GK England Steve Sutton 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 14 0
DF Scotland Graham Rodger 11 (1) 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 13 (1) 0
FW Northern Ireland Phil Gray 9 (5) 3 0 0 2 3 0 0 11 (5) 6
MF England Darron McDonough 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 0
DF England Matt Jackson 7 (2) 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 9 (2) 0
DF Scotland Dave Beaumont 6 (3) 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 8 (3) 0
MF Wales Ceri Hughes 6 (12) 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 7 (12) 0
FW Wales Kurt Nogan 6 (8) 1 0 0 0 (2) 1 1 0 7 (10) 2
MF England Steve Thompson 5 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
MF England Imre Varadi 5 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 (1) 1
FW England Jamie Campbell 4 (7) 0 0 (1) 0 0 0 0 (1) 0 4 (9) 0
DF Scotland Darren Salton 2 (1) 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 4 (1) 0
MF Northern Ireland Kingsley Black 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
GK England Mervyn Day 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
MF Wales Jason Rees 3 (2) 0 0 0 0 0 0 (1) 0 3 (3) 0
FW England Sean Farrell 3 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 (1) 0
DF England Des Linton 2 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 (1) 0
MF England Martin Williams 0 (1) 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 (1) 0
FW Scotland Lee Glover 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
MF England Paul Holsgrove 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
DF England Tim Allpress 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
own goal 1 0 0 0 1

Transfers[edit]

In[edit]

Date Player From Fee Notes
July 1991 England Brian Stein France FC Annecy [11]
13 August 1991 England Steve Thompson Bolton Wanderers £180,000 [12]
16 August 1991 Northern Ireland Phil Gray Tottenham Hotspur £275,000 [12]
27 August 1991 England Trevor Peake Coventry City £100,000 [12]
12 September 1991 England Mick Harford Derby County £325,000 [12]
13 September 1991 England Martin Williams Leicester City Free [12]
22 October 1991 England Scott Oakes Leicester City Swap [C][12]
22 October 1991 England Des Linton Leicester City Swap [C][12]
11 January 1992 England Chris Kamara Leeds United £150,000 [12]

Out[edit]

Date Player To Fee Notes
1991 Denmark Lars Elstrup Denmark Odense Boldklub £200,000 [10]
2 September 1991 Northern Ireland Kingsley Black Nottingham Forest £1,500,000 [12]
10 October 1991 Scotland Dave Beaumont Scotland Hibernian £110,000 [17]
18 October 1991 England Matt Jackson Everton £600,000 [12]
22 October 1991 England Steve Thompson Leicester City Swap [C][12]
29 October 1991 England Tim Allpress Released [12]
1 November 1991 England Paul Holsgrove Netherlands Heracles Almelo Free [12]
19 December 1991 England Sean Farrell Fulham £100,000 [12]
8 January 1992 Scotland Graham Rodger Grimsby Town £135,000 [12]
March 1992 England Darron McDonough Newcastle United £90,000 [17]
2 June 1992 Wales Mark Pembridge Derby County £1,250,000 [12]

Loans in[edit]

Date Player From End date Notes
2 September 1991 Scotland Lee Glover Nottingham Forest 6 September 1991 [12]
28 November 1991 England Steve Sutton Nottingham Forest 1 March 1992 [12]
4 March 1992 England Mervyn Day Leeds United 22 March 1992 [17]
26 March 1992 England Imre Varadi Leeds United 3 May 1992 [12]

Loans out[edit]

Date Player To End date Notes
12 September 1991 England Julian James Preston North End 10 October 1991 [12]
13 September 1991 England Sean Farrell Northampton Town 6 October 1991 [12]
13 November 1991 United States Juergen Sommer Brighton & Hove Albion 13 December 1991 [12]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

A. ^ Lost 2–1 on penalties
B. ^ Upon its formation for the 1992–93 season, the FA Premier League became the top tier of English football; the First, Second and Third Divisions then became the second, third and fourth tiers, respectively.
C. ^ Steve Thompson moved to Leicester City in exchange for Des Linton and Scott Oakes.

References[edit]

General
Specific
  1. ^ Bailey (1997). The Definitive Luton Town F.C. p. 79. 
  2. ^ a b "David Pleat's managerial career". Soccerbase. Retrieved 21 April 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Rundle, Richard. "Football Club History Database - Luton Town". Football Club History Database. Retrieved 7 May 2009. 
  4. ^ "John Moore's managerial career". Soccerbase. Retrieved 17 June 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "Luton Town 1989-1990 : Results". Statto. Retrieved 17 June 2009. 
  6. ^ "Ray Harford's managerial career". Soccerbase. Retrieved 17 June 2009. 
  7. ^ a b "Jim Ryan's managerial career". Soccerbase. Retrieved 21 April 2009. 
  8. ^ "Luton Town 1990-1991 : Results". Statto. Retrieved 17 June 2009. 
  9. ^ "Nelkin gets sack-happy". The Guardian (London). 21 May 2009. Archived from the original on 25 May 2009. Retrieved 17 June 2009. 
  10. ^ a b White, Clive (14 August 1991). "Pleat out to revive old hit". The Times. 
  11. ^ a b Brown, Neil. "Brian Stein". Football League Player Database. Retrieved 17 June 2009. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af "Luton Town Transfers 1991–92". Soccerbase. Retrieved 17 June 2009. 
  13. ^ Pike, Keith (5 September 1991). "Fate smiles upon hapless Luton". The Times. 
  14. ^ Pike, Keith (21 December 1991). "Harford's shot gains Luton precious points". The Times. 
  15. ^ White, Clive (27 December 1991). "Harford's goal may put end to Arsenal's hopes". The Times. 
  16. ^ Rose, Neil (April 1997). "The start of Luton's decline". When Saturday Comes. Retrieved 18 June 2009. 
  17. ^ a b c d e Wash, Roger (2008). Hatters Heroes. Roger Wash. ISBN 978-0-9560832-0-3. 
  18. ^ Robinson, Peter (6 April 1992). "Luton slacken their bonds". The Times: 28. 
  19. ^ Taylor, Louise (15 April 1992). "Hard campaign tells on Forest". The Times: 31. 
  20. ^ "Luton slide deeper into danger zone". The Times: 32. 21 April 1992. 
  21. ^ "English Division One (old) 1991-1992 : Table". Statto. Retrieved 19 June 2009. 
  22. ^ Ball, Peter (27 April 1992). "Luton vindicate show of faith". The Times: 19. 
  23. ^ a b Harling, Nicholas (4 May 1992). "Relegation throws Pleat's future at Luton into doubt". The Times: 18. 
  24. ^ Pike, Keith (3 May 1992). "Two goals from County deprive Luton of a late reprieve". The Sunday Times: 20. 
  25. ^ Bailey. The Definitive Luton Town F.C. p. 79.