Now fans are dreaming of one day returning to the top flight of English football, which the Hatters graced for 16 seasons in the ’50s , ’70s and ’80s. Perhaps one day they’ll even be playing in Europe, although it won’t be for the first time.
Luton appeared in the Anglo-Italian Cup on four occasions and qualified for the 1988-89 UEFA Cup after winning the Littlewoods Cup in 1988. But English clubs were banned from Europe following the Heysel stadium tragedy in Belgium, in which 39 people died, so the Town never competed.
However, the Hatters took part in the Spanish Liberation Day Festival 58 years ago and their opponents were a Barcelona Select XI. They agreed to this game on January 26, 1956 as they had been knocked out of the FA Cup and a blank Saturday was looming, although they eventually played a friendly at Sheffield Wednesday.
The Barcelona side contained seven Internationals including famous Hungarian player Laszlo Kubala, who scored two goals.
George Cummins replied for Luton, but there is doubt over whether the final score was 2-1 or 3-1 and the attendance is not known.
Luton Town historian Roger Wash has researched the match and is convinced it was played at Barcelona’s old ground at Camp de les Corts. They moved to the Nou Camp in September 1957.
The Luton team was Ron Baynham, Seamus Dunne, Bud Aherne, Bob Morton, Jim Pemberton, Les Jones, John Groves, Wally Shanks, George Cummins, Gordon Turner and Mike Cullen.