Luton Town remain on course for a wonderful end to the season as they eye up an unlikely Championship play-off place.
The Hatters have belied their lowly budget all season and are fourth in the table with just seven games of the regular campaign remaining. If it all goes to plan for Nathan Jones’ side, they will end up back in the top flight for the first time since 1992.
With Premier League football at Kenilworth Road next season a distinct possibility, the club’s hierarchy have admitted they are in the process of putting plans in place to deal with such a prospect. Luton have long held plans to move to a plush new stadium and plans for a 23,000-capacity ground are set to be finalised in the coming months.
It’s fair to say the Hatters’ home, in its current guise, is not a stereotypical top-flight stadium. The ground not only has a modest capacity of 10,356 but would need all manner of upgrades to be considered ready for the Premier League. New floodlights would have to be installed and a vast renovation of the media facilities would need to be undertaken to make the ground suitable for top-flight games.
Luton CEO Gary Sweet, writing in his programme notes prior to Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Millwall, says the club is actively making plans in the event of promotion. He wrote: “Despite our #teamslikeluton social handle or the numerous images posted online of back gardens along Oak Road, we must absolutely embrace our success and discuss the eventualities and plan for both Championship and Premier League football being played at Kenilworth Road next season or perhaps beyond.
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“This isn’t pronounced with an ounce of over-confidence or arrogance but, as a business, we simply must plan for both scenarios – and indeed we are. Whatever the outcome, we will be ready! As a stark reminder, we are currently surveying our facilities for Premier League compliance and to even prepare to make our old girl fit for purpose for the top table is not an insignificant task, especially for the demanding broadcast and media requirements. Significant work will have to be planned for, really to pull the trigger (should we be the lucky ones), to then be completed in record-time during the close season. Quite simply if ignored now, Kenilworth Road would be incompliant and substandard, not just ‘quaint.’
“We simply will not allow for Luton Town or Luton to be seen as sub-standard, and if we can achieve a satisfactory level of compliance in the eyes of the Premier League with minimal dispensations, there is no reason why our charming environment shouldn’t be embraced by those other member clubs as an enhancement and broadening of the rich tapestry of venues to visit.”
Jones’ side can move back up to third in the table on Tuesday, with a win over bottom club Peterborough.