Luton Town have condemned supporters who set off a smoke device during the club’s League Two clash against Mansfield Town at the weekend.
A week after the club announced they were being investigated for an incident at Burton Albion which saw a lighter thrown on to the pitch, Hatters published a statment on their official website about Saturday’s events.
It stated: “We were extremely disappointed and concerned to witness a smoke device ignited and thrown in the Main Stand during the second half of Saturday’s game with Mansfield Town.
“Everyone at Luton Town Football Club condemns these actions which could seriously place at risk the safety of everyone attending matches at Kenilworth Road.
“The welfare of all of you who pass through our turnstiles is paramount, and that is evident in the hard work, time and support of the safety function which has delivered a safe and friendly environment to all those who have been visiting our home for decades.
“Incidents such as this, and the missile throwing at Burton Albion last weekend, have no place in football, especially at Luton Town, and it goes without saying that we do not want to be associated with individuals who jeopardise the safety and wellbeing of others.
“The act of bringing a smoke device into the stadium is a pre-meditated one. The intent to ignite it showed a complete disregard for the safety of others, including fellow fans.
“It is not an act borne out of frustration – we feel it is deliberate, selfish and needs to be eradicated from football, particularly at Luton Town.”
The club are also hopeful that anyone who knows anything about the incident will get in contact as the statement continued: “We appeal to anyone with information regarding the incident on Saturday to make contact with club secretary, Kevan Platt, in total confidence, as we seek to identify the individual(s) responsible and set an example that such actions cannot and will not be tolerated at Kenilworth Road.
“As per the incident at Burton the previous weekend, anyone found guilty of igniting such devices or throwing missiles will be banned from attending future fixtures at the Kenilworth Stadium for up to six years.”
On just why the club are treating the incident so seriously, the statement read: “Why do we feel so strongly about such matters?
“There are several reasons. We could face financial penalties from the Football Association – money which will detract from our sole intention which is to support John Still in every way possible to earn promotion to League 1.
“The Football Association and Luton Borough Council, who issue the licence allowing us to stage matches at the stadium, both have the right to reduce capacity in areas of the ground which have been highlighted as potentially problematic.
“This could lead to spectators in Blocks F and G of the Main Stand being moved to other areas of the stadium (if space permits) which in turn leads to a lessening of the atmosphere and some very unhappy season ticket holders - not to mention a reduction in the club’s income which, in turn, will result in a reduction in our playing budget.
“Perhaps the most serious, though, is the real danger to other spectators. The smoke device was thrown on Saturday, which could have struck someone and injured them. There are also problems associated with the smoke itself which can affect people with respiratory problems – and this was something which did happen as a result of this incident on Saturday.
“The Main Stand is a wooden construction. Therefore it is obviously very dangerous for any device which emits smoke, heat or sparks to be ignited within its confines.
“We have no desire to scaremonger about the potential outcome. However, Luton Borough Council impose stringent regulations upon us with regards to fire safety and we would not wish them to enforce any actions which could lead to areas of the stadium being closed or having the capacity reduced.”
Hatters also confirmed that more stringent searching of supporters will take place prior to their entrance into the ground as the statement concluded: “We now have no option but to increase the searching procedures in an attempt to prevent such devices being brought into the stadium – this in turn will lead to delays and inconvenience for everyone as they seek to enter the ground and also to increased costs for such security, something we are keen to avoid.
“The club therefore implores anyone who might think that bringing such a device to a game here at Luton Town to think again. It isn’t exciting, it isn’t clever. It is dangerous. It has and it will negatively affect your fellow supporters and their enjoyment of the game – and remember we’re in this together.
“Luton Town is moving forward both on and off the pitch and there is a real sense of togetherness generated right the way through our club at the minute, from John Still and his staff, the board of directors to you, our fantastic supporters.
“That positivity has helped played a key role in lifting us towards the top League 2. Let’s keep that momentum moving forward and not allow any misguided individual derail all of our efforts.”