Rowan Vine: I'd love to see Luton nick another 5-1 against Leeds!

Ex-Hatters striker Rowan Vine would love to see his former club replicate their last league success over Leeds United when the two sides meet at Kenilworth Road this weekend.

Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 7:10 am
Rowan Vine celebrates scoring against Leeds for Luton back in October 2006

That day, also a Championship contest back in October 2006, Luton, who had been promoted as League One champions ran out amazing 5-1 winners.

Carlos Edwards got the ball rolling for Town, rounding keeper Neil Sullivan to slot home, before Hayden Foxe levelled for Leeds.

However, Vine then scored from close range early in the second half, diverting Warren Feeney's cross over the line, before David Bell, Markus Heikkinen and Edwards again, were all on target, Vine picking up two assists.

Remembering the day, the attacker, who bagged 33 goals in 111 games for Town, said: “I think mine might have been quite scrappy, I chested it over the line.

“We had three or four at one end in one half, we just went on a rout and it got silly in the end, it could have been seven or eight that day.

“Leeds always bring a good crowd no matter what league they’re in, they’re a massive club and when you play teams like that, all you want to do is win.

“To go and beat them five is a different level, we were playing some really good stuff at that time.

“We scored a few goals in different games, a lot of people were scoring goals from all over.”

That victory over Leeds was the highest point for Town in recent years, as with Mike Newell at the helm, they climbed to fifth in the table, with six wins, four draws and three defeats from their opening 13 matches.

Then it all turned sour, as the following week they were hammered 5-0 at Ipswich, going on a seven-game losing run, until Vine and Edwards stopped the rot at Preston, Hatters running out 2-0 victors.

However, that was just one of only four triumphs that followed, as Luton tumbled down the table, with Edwards and Vine sold in January, after Steve Howard and Kevin Nicholls had left in the summer.

They eventually finished 23rd, relegated back to League One, as Vine continued: “It was tough and I think cracks were starting to appear and Mike Newell was starting to speak out a bit.

“You thought something was going on, even though they tried to keep it away from the players, you sort of knew it was becoming more and more evident that more players would be sold.

“Carlos went the same window as me, when you’re selling your best players, the writing’s on the wall for you.

“It’s just a shame that it happened, but it did happen and that’s part of the history.

“It was always going to take a while for the club to bounce back from that, because it was in complete disarray at that point.”

The fact that Town are back crossing swords with Leeds in a league fixture once more this term, demonstrates two things.

One, just how far the Hatters have come in recent years, after dropping out of the Football League at one point, and two, the calibre of opposition they are facing in the Championship.

Leeds, like Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest, Hull City, Fulham to name just five are all ex-Premier League sides from recent years, so Vine knows the enormity of the task of staying up for Graeme Jones' side.

He said: “I know James Collins quite well and I’ve spoken to him a couple of times, he says it’s been tough but they’ve been unlucky.

“But they are where they are, they’ve just been on bad run and hopefully they can turn it around.

“It’s a common thing now, the teams that are getting promoted into the Championship are normally the ones that have got a bit of money and they’re going for it.

“The teams that are coming down have got loads of money so if they go again to try and get back up, it ends up being a hotbed of teams that have got a lot of power in terms of finances.

“You go to somewhere and get beat and then you lose another, two or three on the bounce and it turns into a bad run.

“That’s all it takes for you to slide down the table, but I think Luton have got enough in that squad to go on a run the other way.

“It’s a journey and Luton fans, they’re used to the ups and downs.

"It’s just good to see them back in the Championship and hopefully they can go on a run and get away from relegation, that’s what I want to see anyway.”

On facing Leeds again, who are sitting third in the table, with a win at the weekend possibly taking them top of the league, Vine added: “I think it’s finally clicking and (Marcelo) Bielsa is an unbelievable manager.

“It’s going to be a very tough game, but those are the games you want to be in and they’re the games why you win the league below, and you go up.

“They’re the ones, you want to be playing, those teams, as they’re a stern test.

“You knew what was going to happen at the start of the season, and funny things happen in football.

"You never know, they might turn it on and might nick a 5-1!”

>> Rowan Vine, Curtis Davies and Marlon Beresford will be at the prestigious Hatters Christmas dinner – to be held at The Auction House, Luton on Monday, December 2.

Tickets are on sale now, costing £80 per head or £750 for a table of 10 which includes a welcome drink, and a three-course meal. Diamond vouchers welcome.

On the evening, the dress code is 'Lounge Suits' with doors opening at 6pm for a 7:30pm start.

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