Promotion to the Premier League will make a 'huge difference' to Luton

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Town chairman on much-needed boost for the local economy

Hatters chairman David Wilkinson insists that promotion to the Premier League will make a ‘huge difference’ to the town of Luton.

With the club itself earning well over £150m from reaching the top flight after beating Coventry City on penalties in the play-off final at Wembley recently, then the actual area is due for a bumper time of it as well, due to all the trappings that come with the football team being back in the highest tier of English football once more.

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The local economy is expected to receive a much-needed boost and with that a degree of regeneration and development as well, as speaking to Talk TV about just what going up means, Wilkinson said: “It's massive, it's great for the club but it's greater for the town.

Luton chairman David Wilkinson celebrates promotion to Premier League at Wembley - pic: Alex Pantling/Getty ImagesLuton chairman David Wilkinson celebrates promotion to Premier League at Wembley - pic: Alex Pantling/Getty Images
Luton chairman David Wilkinson celebrates promotion to Premier League at Wembley - pic: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

“The town’s got everything, but it is a northern town in the south, it's an industrial town and is slightly out of place.

“It’s surrounded by expensive places, and where I live, Harpenden, has been voted the nicest place to live in the country and it’s six miles from Luton.

"It’s crazy, and it’s probably the most expensive place as well and it’s nonsense that Luton is where it is.

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“It will improve and this will make a huge difference to the town, huge.

"We're not going to be in profit though.

"We're having to spend quite a lot of money on Kenilworth Road to make it fit, about twelve million to make it fit for purpose, as there’s a lot of work to be done.”

Town’s rise from non-league to the Premier League has been done in record quick time after spending five long seasons in the Conference, unfairly relegated when hit with a 30-point deduction ahead of the 2008-09 League Two campaign.

Lifelong fan Wilkinson himself has been there since the start, a founder member of 2020, the consortium of supporters who led the club out of administration, then voted chairman by his fellow directors back in 2018.

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With John Still leading Luton back into the Football League, it has taken the Hatters under a decade to return to the top flight once more, which is a stunning achievement, as Wilkinson added: “We didn’t deserve to go down into the Conference, but we were basically demoted by 40 point deductions over two seasons, which were other people, it wasn’t us, it was before we took over.

"Probably being in the Conference probably cost us more money than anything else has cost over that time

“Gary Sweet, who is our chief exec and brilliantly runs the club, put together a plan 15 years ago and he sold that plan to a bunch of local fans with a bit of money.

“There were five originally who agreed to back his plan and the plan basically was, get to the Championship by 2020 and build a new stadium.

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“Instead of which, we got the Championship early and we haven't built a new stadium as everything changed.

"Brexit and Covid delayed things, but instead we've managed to get to the Premier League which is now going to help us and the town develop what we want to develop and this promotion helps us get there.”