Town chairman Wilkinson: Hatters' future won't be risked during transfer window

Luton chairman David Wilkinson has reiterated there is no way the club will take any financial risks in their attempts to remain a Championship outfit this season.

Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 7:03 am
Hatters chairman David Wilkinson

Ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Birmingham City and with the transfer window now open, Town find themselves bottom of the table, three points from safety.

Although expecting new additions to arrive and bolster manager Graeme Jones’ squad, Wilkinson warned that they won’t be done at any cost, with the safety of the Hatters’ future paramount.

He said: “That’s what we want to do (stay up), but it’s important for people to know that we’re not going to put the club at risk to do it, we’re not going to go and spend millions.

“Most of the teams we’ve played have got squads that have costs hundreds of times more than ours and players that are paid 10 times more than ours are.

“The most important thing for us is that the club is still going in another 100 years, that we’ve got a new stadium, that we’re self sufficient, you can run it and break even or better, because you can’t sustain anything else in the long run.

“No-one can work harder than he (Jones) does, but our wage cap is self imposed and is certainly a lot lower than the average wage in the Championship.

“So you’ve got that problem and of course we’ll do what we can, but we’re not going to do it at the risk of the club.

“We’ve got some good players, we play some good football, we’ve had a few injuries, I think we’ve been unlucky on the injury front.

“Some important players have been injured, hopefully they’re on their way back and when they come back and maybe a few additions, then we can have another crack at it, as we’ve still got 20 games left.”

A tough season on the pitch so far for Luton has seen them win six and lose 17 of their 26 league outings to date.

Wilkinson knew that it was always going to be a difficult proposition returning to the second tier after more than a decade away, but is still relishing the challenge.

He continued: “You always enjoy it because it’s an experience.

“We knew when we came into it, we knew that we were small fish in a big pond, we knew it was going to be tough and we knew because of our history, we weren’t going to start pumping good money after bad.

“We knew that the Championship was a bit of a mess and it’s demonstrating that a lot now.

“There are clubs who are just spending money they haven’t got.

“There’s going to be things happen which need to happen to sort it all out, and we are not going to get ourselves involved with competing financially with some of the clubs, because we can’t.

“We’re here from the beginning, as custodians for the long term and the club has to survive.

“It doesn’t matter in some ways if it’s in the Championship or League One, or wherever, as long as it survives and works in the community.

“So I’d rather win than lose, but to go to places like we were on Saturday, Bournemouth, a fabulous day out and they were a really nice club, nice people, we played some good football and we enjoyed it in a different way.”

Saturday’s opponents Birmingham face a second points deduction in two seasons after being charged with breaching financial rules by the EFL, relating to a breach of a business plan imposed last season.

Wilkinson won’t be surprised if a number of other clubs are hit by such a punishment, adding: “There’s a lot aren’t there and we don’t want to name names now, but there’s a lot of them in that position.

“The other thing is that when you get rich, foreign owners come in then get fed up with it and then what happens to the club when they get fed up and walk away?

“Okay you’ve got to hope there’s another one around the corner that can bail it out, but that isn’t always the case.

"All but one of our board are Lutonians, I think there is no other club that is owned by local people.

“That is important to us and it’s important to us that it is our way.”