Ex-Hatter Tim Breacker felt he was lucky to be part of Town’s golden era

Full back discusses his successful time at Kenilworth Road

By Mike Simmonds
Wednesday, 6th May 2020, 11:13 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th May 2020, 11:14 am
Former Hatter Tim Breacker on the ball for Luton
Former Hatter Tim Breacker on the ball for Luton

Former Hatter Tim Breacker felt he was extremely lucky to be part of what he described as the ‘golden era’ in Luton Town’s history.

The right back, who had come through the ranks at Kenilworth Road, made his debut as an 18-year-old at Ipswich Town in the old Division One on March 31, 1984.

Breacker played all of his 210 league games for the Hatters in the top flight, while he was part of the side who won the Littlewoods Cup in 1988, reaching the final the following season, also playing in two FA Cup semi-finals as well.

On his successful time at Kenilworth Road, he said: “You never realise at the time as you’re only young when you start off, but it was a great time at the club, it was the golden era.

“I remember watching the team in the 80-81 season and it was fantastic, being part of that, even though you’re an apprentice.

“Then all of a sudden you’re at a club that’s in the top league, some fantastic players to learn from and some fantastic characters who nurtured you and cared for you.

"So many good people, so many good memories.

“I was lucky I played with some amazing players, some of those players were the best.

“I was so lucky to get in the team with those players, they’re all fantastic blokes as well, players like Ricky Hill and Mick Harford, Steiny (Brian Stein), Mal Donaghy, there’s just so many fantastic players.

“Playing for England (U21s) too, when you’re at Luton and you say to people, your kids, ‘Luton were in the top league and I was never in any other league when I was there,’ so I was very lucky.”

It could have been a whole different story for Breacker at Town, as he revealed that his start to life with the Hatters hadn't actually come in the position he was to occupy for the following six campaigns, as at Portman Road, he took the number 10 shirt, with the following game against Everton, saw him wearing seven.

He continued: "David Pleat threw me in that game (Ipswich), I played in midfield with Brian Horton.

"I’d never really played in the first team at right back up until I got into the team.

"Trevor Hartley was the reserve team manager and said, 'do you think you can play right back?'

"I said, 'all right, I’ll have a go,' as I’d always played in midfield in the youth team and the reserves, that’s where I made my debut.

"I literally never played right back, I got thrown in through injury and then stayed at right back really.

“I’m not going to start moaning and say 'actually I want to play in midfield,' when I was playing.

"I was probably a bit of a frustrated midfielder, I always wanted to get forward, it was just my character really as much as anything.

"I just wanted to play and get involved."

Speaking about lifting the Littlewoods Cup, the only major trophy that Town have won in their 135-year history, Breacker added: “It was just one of those amazing days that you dream of as a kid and you want to play football for.

“You’re there at Wembley with 100,000 people against Arsenal.

"My biggest memory of the game was Steiny scoring and I was on the half-way line with Mal Donaghy, we both went straight to the ref and said ‘how long, how long?’

“He said ‘that’s it,’ so we knew, and that was an amazing day, amazing. You’re walking up those steps and there’s all those people there, it’s just surreal.

“You’re pinching yourself all the time thinking ‘did it happen? Am I actually here?’

“To win, it was one of those things that will stay with you forever.”

Breacker managed three goals during his 262 outings with the Hatters, his most famous coming as Town stayed up at Derby County on the final day of the 1989-90 season, blasting home from fully 35 yards.

He also netted in games at Newcastle and Oxford, as despite coming close, never managed to find the net in front of his own fans.

Breacker said: "I never actually scored at Kenilworth Road, I had one, we played Wimbledon at home, on a plastic pitch and the ball come across.

"I controlled it, on the 18 yard box, I was past their defence, so really had an open goal.

"I thought 'this is it,' but as I landed, my feet caught together and I literally almost fouled myself in the box.

"My next touch would have been a shot at goal, but I literally fell over and went down a heap with an open goal and the ball, so I remember that!"

The full back's time at Kenilworth Road was ended in October 1990, as after playing in a 3-1 win over Norwich City, he was snapped up by West Ham United for a fee of £600,000.

Breacker went on to spend nine years with the Hammers, also playing for QPR before retiring in 2001, as he added: "There there was quite a lot of players going then, it was a financial thing.

"It was pretty much, 'a fee’s agreed, see you later.'

"Aston Villa was interested as well supposedly, but in those days I didn't have an agent, it was, 'that’s it, okay, see you later lads I’m off. Where are you going? It looks like West Ham.'

"That’s it, off you go, you do as you're told really.

“It was almost put to you financially you have to as it helps the club survive.

"West Ham were another club that had very good tradition in terms of football and fans.

"So you think 'that’s it, that’s where I’m going,' there’s no agents ringing up clubs.

"I just went and met the manager Billy Bonds, he was an absolutely fantastic guy and a legend, a top man.

"They were very similar kind of clubs, the fans like their football played in the right way if you like, and I was just very lucky.

"I was going from a wonderful club to another one where I had a great time there as well."