Hatters boss John Still made an impassioned plea to all Hatters fans at today’s press conference, writes Mike Simmonds.
In a virtually off the cuff statement, Still spoke at great length about his plans for Luton under his stewardship and the role he feels Town’s supporters can play in the club’s future, especially at Kenilworth Road.
He said: “Like all clubs, supporters are desperate for success. This club is desperate for success and absolutely, quite rightly, because they don’t feel they should be here (in non-league) and I understand that.
“But I know they get disappointed and I know they get frustrated, because everyone gets disappointed and everyone gets frustrated.
“Because they’re supporters, it probably matters more to them, because long when these players are gone and there’s a new manager, they’re still here. It’s their club, I’m just in charge of looking after their club.
“What I want to create is our club. We need me, the staff and players, for this to become their club. We have to play a part, everyone has to play a part, supporters have to play a part, it’s vital that they do.
“I hear them saying about supporters being the 12th man. That’s a massive thing, but they can play a great part in the success of a football club and one thing I’ve learned in football is how much they can influence.
“I managed a club (Dagenham & Redbridge) that doesn’t have the support that Luton Town have, but we still managed to create something with that support that we can do here.
“It’s like a player, I see Luton’s best players when things aren’t going well, not when we’re winning 4-0.
“Its when we’re not winning I see players that go the extra mile and supporters can help with that.
“Because when it isn’t going great, cheer louder, cheer longer. It’s your team, you want them to succeed, you don’t want them to fail, you want them to succeed and can do by just giving it that total support.
“If the person next to you is giving it a little moan, say come on, it’s our team, get behind our team because when we’re all gone you’re going to be left with what’s here and we want to leave you with something better than you’ve got and it’s really important that they can be the difference.
“If you put yourself in a player’s position. I’m having a game and it’s not going great for me, but the crowd give you that lift and keep giving you that lift. If they keep giving you encouragement, you’ll come through that much quicker than if you get a negative response.
“Whoever we are, no-one really, really doesn’t like being praised. No-one. We all like a bit of praise. Me included.
“But it can make a massive difference to players if they have 90 minutes of that non-stop.
“This team that’s coming here to sit behind the ball for 90 minutes, and we’re finding it hard to break it down and they think that if it comes to 20 minutes, they’re going to hear rumbles from the crowd, and they dont, they hear the crowd cheer louder. It lifts the payers, and it’s really important.”
Still went on to praise the level of support he has seen since he took over the hotseat and believes the structure is being put in place throughout all areas of the club to ensure a return to the good times.
He continued: “I’ve been here six months and I think the support of me and my staff has been brilliant.
“Players are getting clapped off at the moment although we’re drawing, brilliant.
“I think we’re turning it around, I really do. But I also think the group of people I’ve brought in are so committed to try and find success for the club, so committed.
“I know how hard all these people that are with me are working and we’ve changed so many things, I’ve been really pleased.
“If we are going to succeed, the foundation has got to be solid. Unfortunately people don’t always see the foundations, we do, because we put it in.
“If you go and buy this million pound house, no-one sees the foundation, but without the foundation, the house isn’t going to last two minutes.
“The foundations are being put in here. I think the improvement is there in everything.
“The way that we do it, how we do it, the reasons that we do it. Those foundations are going in now and gradually, people will see the difference that those foundations make and it’s everybody.
“I want the supporters to be part of that building process, to understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it to create a better Luton Town.
“Because when we create it, it will last forever, it won’t blow down.
“I’m not going to spend money and spend money ridiculously and when we go and someone else comes in with a different philosophy it all falls down. I don’t want that, I want this to grow and grow and grow.”
Still also urged fans to play their part in helping the club move forward too, adding: “Supporters are a massive, massive, massive part of the growth.
“They can be the sun and the rain and the food to make it grow, because what they put in on the terraces, will make it grow quicker.
“It’s got to be unconditional. We’re here to suppot this football club, we’re here to get this football club at a better level, we’re here to get this football club at the best level it can get.
“And the way that we can do it, is supporting it, getting behind it and encouraging it. If they can do that, it will give everything the best opportunity.
“I have to say this that in my time here, they’ve been terrific. I say this to the players, if you want to play for the best clubs, the biggest crowds, you’re going to get a bit of criticism when it doesn’t go so well.
“I understand that but what I also know is when you get to that point when you’ve achieved great success, the Arsenal’s, the Manchester United’s, not so much Manchester City, certainly the more established clubs where people have seen it grow.
“Remember Manchester United went three years with Sir Alex without winning a carrot.
“The support is constant. It’s there all the time. They’ve been part of that process and it became part of their life.
“Lots of clubs can do it and it doesn’t last five minutes, because if you build it on sand, it doesn’t last five minutes.
“We’re building this on a solid foundation and supporters are only an ingredient of that.
“We’re an ingredient, the staff, the players are an ingredient, training facilities are an ingredient, our youth structure is an ingredient, and our crowd are an ingredient.
“It’s like making a cake. If you make a fruitcake with all the ingredients and no fruit, you haven’t got a fruitcake. Every part of that cake is an ingredient.
“Supporters can be a massive, massive, massive ingredient. The support has been great and it can be better.
“Our perfomances have been good, but they can be better. Our training ground is good but we can make it better.
“Our youth is good at the moment and we can make it better. We can all do a little bit more to make this club into what the supporters want for their kids, because when we’re not here, we want to give them the best football club we can.”
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