Looking back at the Hatters

Luton Town Football Club historian Roger Wash has amassed a huge collection of photographs covering the Hatters’ 127-year history.

His archive includes this unusual shot, which was featured in the programme for the recent game against Southport at Kenilworth Road.

Played on an icy pitch – note the pile of discoloured snow on the touchline – that would probably not have been passed fit by today’s referees, the match was the FA Cup fourth round tie against Swansea in January 1947.

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It shows Luton player manager Dally Duncan dribbling down the wing in front of the old Bobbers Stand, which was then standing room only. It got its name from the extra shilling, or bob, that fans paid to watch the game from that part of the ground.

Seats were eventually installed and they were later replaced by the present executive boxes.

In his regular Picture The Past feature in the match programme, Roger wrote that both Luton and Swansea had to change their strip, which was common at the time when there was a colour clash.

The Hatters played in red shirts and their opponents in blue.

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Judging by the two policemen sitting watching the game, crowd control wasn’t a big problem in those days.

But advertising around the ground by local companies was as popular then as it is now. Above and alongside the ads for Swan Vesta matches and hot drink Bovril are the ‘noted ales’ of Luton brewers Green’s, which later became Flowers and then Whitbread.

For the record, the attendance that day was 24,327 and the Town won 2-0, courtesy of Mel Daniel and an own goal.

But Luton lost 3-0 in a replay at Burnley in the fifth round after a 0-0 draw at home.

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