Hatters CEO apologises to supporters for Town's 'inept' display during Hornets 'horror show'

Sweet urges Town to use the pain for return clash next year
Town chief executive Gary Sweet attends a Hatters match this termTown chief executive Gary Sweet attends a Hatters match this term
Town chief executive Gary Sweet attends a Hatters match this term

Luton chief executive Gary Sweet has apologised to supporters for the ‘horror show’ that the Hatters served up during last weekend’s 4-0 defeat at rivals Watford, a performance he went on to describe as ‘inept.

Town took the short trip to Vicarage Road full of optimism about recording a first league win in Hertfordshire since the 1994-95 season, after putting together a superb seven match unbeaten run, while the hosts had lost three from four.

However, they were to see those dreams go up in smoke following a wretched 90 minutes in which the Hornets scored four times without reply to hand out the heaviest defeat of the season to Nathan Jones’ side at the worst possible venue.

The visitors had been hit by a sickness bug in the build-up to the game, which saw Henri Lansbury, Dan Potts and Luke Berry all unavailable, captain Sonny Bradley struggling too, but Sweet wasn’t looking for excuses, as writing in his programme notes ahead of yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Sunderland, he said: “In my brief notes today, it falls upon me to open up the wound of last Sunday’s horror show.

“We are not a club that wishes to hide or belittle important events.

“Any one of us with a responsibility for our performances last week - including me - who act as representatives, spokesmen or custodians, cannot defend what ultimately happened.

“I’m sure most of you will agree, as a club performing consistently above our means and above anyone’s expectation, we all accept that we may be on the wrong side of a proper beating now and again.

"Lose a game, analyse, lick our wounds and move on to the next one quickly and positively.

“Apart from against them at their place!

“Please never be under any illusion that Sunday doesn’t still hurt us.

“It does. Every player, coach, manager, staff and director felt the pain of that loss way more than any other this season.

“Leading up to the game, everyone was briefed, ready and knew what to expect.

“I have to say that, as far as possible, our preparations for that game was impeccable.

"Every player knew what the rivalry means to the club and every supporter.

“I have received many apologies from those involved in the game since Sunday, from Nathan down, and I - as the ultimate responsible offer - would like to apologise to you all for such an inept display.

“Of course, we never want to make excuses after it was clear that we were the poorer team.

“But it’s important, as we have done, we analyse the reasons, so we learn from mistakes or avoid the traps next time, wherever possible.

“Yes, it was that third game in a week scenario; yes, we had injuries, late illnesses and players even playing through sickness; yes, we could argue that the key events of the game didn't favour us.

“All factors that we need to consider, but the main factor was that we didn’t perform on the day, for which there is no excuse.”

With supporters present at the game for the first time since 2006, there was a large police presence before and after the match, with Watford even boarding up their Graham Taylor statue to prevent it from being damaged.

Afterwards, Hertfordshire Police released a statement revealing there had been no arrests made on the day, as Sweet went on to praise those who attended the fixture, continuing: “I would also like to thank everyone who attended the game on Sunday who, by and large, represented the club positively, in spite of the result.

“Putting aside a couple of minor incidents, the day went by relatively smoothly with your contribution and not necessarily due to the rather enthusiastic policing of the event.”

Despite the result, Luton had enjoyed a fine return ahead of the match, beating QPR and Norwich City prior to their trip the Hornets, something Sweet was keen to point out too.

He added: “What is important now, is that we bank the frustration and pain to act as a reminder at a later date.

“Given the schedule that we had in front of us a fortnight ago, we actually had an excellent week returning six points from the three tough games

“As Eric (Morecambe) would probably have put it, we’re getting all the right points, just not necessarily in the right order.”