1991–92 Luton Town F.C. season
|Football League First Division||20th (relegated)|
|FA Cup||Third round|
|Football League Cup||Second round|
|Full Members Cup||Second round|
Mick Harford (12)
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|
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.
- 1 Background
- 2 Review
- 3 Match results
- 4 League table
- 5 Player details
- 6 Transfers
- 7 See also
- 8 Footnotes
- 9 References
The 1985–86 season was David Pleat's final year with Luton, and it was a success as Luton finished ninth. Even following his departure, the team continued to play well – 1986–87 saw a best-ever finish of seventh under John Moore. The following year Ray Harford's team won the League Cup with a 3–2 victory over Arsenal, and finished ninth in the league to boot. However, 1988–89 saw Luton drop to 16th, and in 1989–90 the team were battling relegation by December. The replacement of Harford with Jimmy Ryan in January saw Luton improve enough to escape demotion on the final day of the season, a feat that Ryan's team repeated a year later. 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". David Pleat was promptly re-appointed in his stead.
Right away, Pleat was forced to sell, as homesick star forward Lars Elstrup was sold back to Odense for £200,000. Brian Stein was brought back as his replacement, while another striker, Phil Gray, was signed from Tottenham Hotspur. 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, while Kingsley Black, the Northern Ireland international, was sold to Nottingham Forest for £1.5 million on 2 September.
The first victory of the season came two days after the sale of Black, as Luton defeated Southampton 2–1 at Kenilworth Road. 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.
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. Talented full back Matt Jackson also moved on, to sign for Everton. 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, though Luton's next victory did not come until 20 December, when a Harford goal sealed a 1–0 win over Coventry. The next two matches were at home, and Luton won them both – another goal from Harford secured a defeat of Arsenal on Boxing Day, 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 was a fruitless month – Nottingham Forest's Des Walker scored an injury-time equaliser to deny Luton their first away win, and the team crashed out of the FA Cup at Sheffield United three days later. Graham Rodger was sold to Hibernian on 8 January, and Chris Kamara was acquired as a replacement. 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. Mervyn Day was brought in as a short-term replacement, while midfielder Darron McDonough moved to Newcastle United.
Imre Varadi arrived on loan, and scored on his debut as Luton beat Wimbledon. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. Despite losing 2–0 at Villa Park, Coventry stayed up – Luton were relegated after ten years of Division One football.
Luton Town results given first.
|17 August 1991||West Ham United||Away||0–0||25,079||—|
|21 August 1991||Coventry City||Away||0–5||9,848||—|
|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||8,055||Gray, Harvey|
|7 September 1991||Wimbledon||Away||0–3||3,231||—|
|14 September 1991||Oldham Athletic||Home||2–1||9,005||Harford (2)|
|17 September 1991||Queens Park Rangers||Home||0–1||9,185||—|
|21 September 1991||Manchester United||Away||0–5||46,491||—|
|28 September 1991||Notts County||Home||1–1||7,629||Gray|
|5 October 1991||Aston Villa||Away||0–4||18,722||—|
|19 October 1991||Sheffield Wednesday||Home||2–2||9,401||Harford, Nogan|
|26 October 1991||Norwich City||Away||0–1||10,514||—|
|2 November 1991||Everton||Home||0–1||8,002||—|
|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||7,533||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||8,554||Preece, Harford|
|15 February 1992||Manchester City||Away||0–4||22,137||—|
|22 February 1992||Sheffield United||Home||2–1||9,003||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||8,591||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||7,753||Varadi, Preece|
|11 April 1992||Oldham Athletic||Away||1–5||13,210||Harford|
|14 April 1992||Nottingham Forest||Home||2–1||8,014||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|
|3rd Round||4 January 1992||Sheffield United||Away||0–4||12,201||—|
|25 September 1991||Birmingham City||Away||2–2||6,315||Gray, Nogan|
|8 October 1991||Birmingham City||Away||2–3||13,252||Gray (2)|
|2nd Round||22 October 1991||Ipswich Town||Away||1–1||5,750||Telfer||[A]|
||Qualification or relegation
|1||Leeds United (C)||42||22||16||4||74||37||+37||82|
|11||Queens Park Rangers||42||12||18||12||48||47||+1||54|
|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.
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.
- 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.
|Pos.||Name||League||FA Cup||League Cup||FM Cup||Total|
|MF||David Preece||34 (4)||3||1||0||2||0||0||0||37 (4)||3|
|FW||Brian Stein||32 (7)||3||1||0||1 (1)||0||0||0||34 (8)||3|
|DF||Richard Harvey||31 (1)||2||1||0||1||0||0||0||33 (1)||2|
|MF||Paul Telfer||17 (3)||1||1||0||2||0||1||1||21 (3)||2|
|MF||Scott Oakes||15 (6)||2||1||0||0||0||0||0||16 (6)||2|
|DF||Graham Rodger||11 (1)||0||0||0||1||0||1||0||13 (1)||0|
|FW||Phil Gray||9 (5)||3||0||0||2||3||0||0||11 (5)||6|
|DF||Matt Jackson||7 (2)||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||9 (2)||0|
|DF||Dave Beaumont||6 (3)||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||8 (3)||0|
|MF||Ceri Hughes||6 (12)||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||7 (12)||0|
|FW||Kurt Nogan||6 (8)||1||0||0||0 (2)||1||1||0||7 (10)||2|
|MF||Imre Varadi||5 (1)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||5 (1)||1|
|FW||Jamie Campbell||4 (7)||0||0 (1)||0||0||0||0 (1)||0||4 (9)||0|
|DF||Darren Salton||2 (1)||0||0||0||1||0||1||0||4 (1)||0|
|MF||Jason Rees||3 (2)||0||0||0||0||0||0 (1)||0||3 (3)||0|
|FW||Sean Farrell||3 (1)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3 (1)||0|
|DF||Des Linton||2 (1)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2 (1)||0|
|MF||Martin Williams||0 (1)||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||1 (1)||0|
|July 1991||Brian Stein||FC Annecy|||
|13 August 1991||Steve Thompson||Bolton Wanderers||£180,000|||
|16 August 1991||Phil Gray||Tottenham Hotspur||£275,000|||
|27 August 1991||Trevor Peake||Coventry City||£100,000|||
|12 September 1991||Mick Harford||Derby County||£325,000|||
|13 September 1991||Martin Williams||Leicester City||Free|||
|22 October 1991||Scott Oakes||Leicester City||Swap||[C]|
|22 October 1991||Des Linton||Leicester City||Swap||[C]|
|11 January 1992||Chris Kamara||Leeds United||£150,000|||
|1991||Lars Elstrup||Odense Boldklub||£200,000|||
|2 September 1991||Kingsley Black||Nottingham Forest||£1,500,000|||
|10 October 1991||Dave Beaumont||Hibernian||£110,000|||
|18 October 1991||Matt Jackson||Everton||£600,000|||
|22 October 1991||Steve Thompson||Leicester City||Swap||[C]|
|29 October 1991||Tim Allpress||Released|||
|1 November 1991||Paul Holsgrove||Heracles Almelo||Free|||
|19 December 1991||Sean Farrell||Fulham||£100,000|||
|8 January 1992||Graham Rodger||Grimsby Town||£135,000|||
|March 1992||Darron McDonough||Newcastle United||£90,000|||
|2 June 1992||Mark Pembridge||Derby County||£1,250,000|||
|2 September 1991||Lee Glover||Nottingham Forest||6 September 1991|||
|28 November 1991||Steve Sutton||Nottingham Forest||1 March 1992|||
|4 March 1992||Mervyn Day||Leeds United||22 March 1992|||
|26 March 1992||Imre Varadi||Leeds United||3 May 1992|||
|12 September 1991||Julian James||Preston North End||10 October 1991|||
|13 September 1991||Sean Farrell||Northampton Town||6 October 1991|||
|13 November 1991||Juergen Sommer||Brighton & Hove Albion||13 December 1991|||
- 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.
- Player and match statistics sourced from: Bailey, Steve (December 1997). The Definitive Luton Town F.C. Soccerdata. ISBN 1-899468-10-2.
- Match statistics sourced from: "Luton Town 1991-1992 : Results". Statto. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
- Bailey (1997). The Definitive Luton Town F.C. p. 79.
- "David Pleat's managerial career". Soccerbase. Retrieved 21 April 2009.
- Rundle, Richard. "Football Club History Database - Luton Town". Football Club History Database. Retrieved 7 May 2009.
- "John Moore's managerial career". Soccerbase. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
- "Luton Town 1989-1990 : Results". Statto. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
- "Ray Harford's managerial career". Soccerbase. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
- "Jim Ryan's managerial career". Soccerbase. Retrieved 21 April 2009.
- "Luton Town 1990-1991 : Results". Statto. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
- "Nelkin gets sack-happy". The Guardian (London). 21 May 2009. Archived from the original on 25 May 2009. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
- White, Clive (14 August 1991). "Pleat out to revive old hit". The Times.
- Brown, Neil. "Brian Stein". Football League Player Database. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
- "Luton Town Transfers 1991–92". Soccerbase. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
- Pike, Keith (5 September 1991). "Fate smiles upon hapless Luton". The Times.
- Pike, Keith (21 December 1991). "Harford's shot gains Luton precious points". The Times.
- White, Clive (27 December 1991). "Harford's goal may put end to Arsenal's hopes". The Times.
- Rose, Neil (April 1997). "The start of Luton's decline". When Saturday Comes. Retrieved 18 June 2009.
- Wash, Roger (2008). Hatters Heroes. Roger Wash. ISBN 978-0-9560832-0-3.
- Robinson, Peter (6 April 1992). "Luton slacken their bonds". The Times: 28.
- Taylor, Louise (15 April 1992). "Hard campaign tells on Forest". The Times: 31.
- "Luton slide deeper into danger zone". The Times: 32. 21 April 1992.
- "English Division One (old) 1991-1992 : Table". Statto. Retrieved 19 June 2009.
- Ball, Peter (27 April 1992). "Luton vindicate show of faith". The Times: 19.
- Harling, Nicholas (4 May 1992). "Relegation throws Pleat's future at Luton into doubt". The Times: 18.
- Pike, Keith (3 May 1992). "Two goals from County deprive Luton of a late reprieve". The Sunday Times: 20.
- Bailey. The Definitive Luton Town F.C. p. 79.