George lays ghosts to rest with Hatters hat-trick against Villa

Returning Hatters striker Liam George was delighted to lay two ghosts to rest as he netted a hat-trick on Sunday as Luton Town Legends beat Aston Villa Old Stars 8-1 at Kenilworth Road, writes Mark Wood.

His opener was a fine header, while he scored a first-ever senior hat-trick alongside a treble from guesting youth team coach Scott Smith with Marvin Johnson and John Dreyer also on target against the Villains.

The team was packed with Hatters of yesteryear and jointly managed by Kirk ‘Basher’ Stephens and Jake Findlay.

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George, 33, said: “I scored quite a few at youth team level, I scored some in the reserves but never scored a hat-trick for Luton in the senior team.

“I never scored a header as well, so I’ve kind of put a few ghosts to rest. I can rest peacefully now and hang the boots up.”

George was thrilled to have had another chance to strut his stuff at Kenilworth Road too, saying: “I’ve got great memories.

“I was a local lad, grew up in the area, came through the youth system and did well, made my debut away at Bristol City and scored my first goal at Kenilworth Road against Blackpool.

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“I’ve just got so many fond memories of the club, the staff, the players. It’s got such a big place in my heart and I still love the club and hope they do well and get back in the League.

“It’s my old stomping ground, I always enjoyed playing at Kenilworth Road, always enjoyed playing in front of people I know.

“This is a memory you probably don’t get again. You go away from football and your life moves on.

“But it’s always nice to come back and do what you loved doing as a kid and kind of turn back the clock, while seeing people like Jules (Julian James) and playing with them again. It’s just another great memory, another happy memory that’s been involved with this club.”

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Northern Ireland U21 boss Steve Robinson was another ex-Hatters star to enjoy the proceedings.

He added: “It’s a good game to be involved in, a lot of good players from the Aston Villa side and an enjoyable day.

“I’m still very friendly with Marvin Johnson and Graham Alexander so it’s good to meet up with them.

“We speak a lot on the phone but it’s good to see faces and see what direction everybody else’s lives are going in.

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“Me and Julian were OK down the right anyway. We were better when we were in the shade second half anyway, when the sun wasn’t too hot!

“It’s played at a slower pace so it allows you to get on the ball and play and there are some good technical players out there.

“It was a good occasion, Villa had some good players as well and I think we had a wee bit more legs on them in the end, so it was enjoyable.

“There were a few people raising the age group of our squad, but it was good.

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“I support Aston Villa as well so it was nice to see some boys I supported on the pitch as well.

“I think the legs didn’t want to do what the mind wanted to do for all of us, but it’s good to be back again, it was a good occasion.”

Hatters: Jack Ambler (Jake Findlay 61), Julian James, Mitchell Thomas (Gavin McGowan 36), Kevin Watson, Marvin Johnson (C, Alan Neilson 36), Steve Robinson, Scott Oakes, Graham Alexander, Liam George (Marvin Johnson 59), Lil Fuccillo (Scott Smith 36), John Faulkner (John Dreyer 22).

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