Luton Town v Tranmere Rovers
Saturday, January 29th 2004, 3pm
By Martyn Corrin
|The Coach winds
through the town of Luton and you know you must be there
soon. I had heard that Luton was one
of the strangest grounds
in the League as you have
to go underneath someone's bedroom to get into the away section! The coach
arrives in the middle of a residential street, and it
takes you a couple of minutes to realise that the
turnstiles are built into a street of terraced housing.
It's even stranger as you go in - you climb the stairs
and can see everyone's gardens. It definitely is the weirdest ground I've ever been to,
and that's before we even reached the stand.
The away stand fits a lot more people than its size would suggest, and it does this by contravening all known human rights laws! The leg room is scandalous! It certainly was uncomfortable, and I'm glad I'm only 5'11 as anyone any taller must have almost suffered thrombosis!
The stadium is a lot smaller than I would expect of a team who were in the top flight just 13 years ago, and the home fans are quiet, a small group in the corner by us made a bit of noise now and again, and those at the other end got on the ref's back, but certainly, atmosphere was not great.. I don't think its helped by the fact the ground only really has three sides, with the side to the left of us consisting just of executive boxes that looked like greenhouses. Nevertheless, our lot made a decent amount of noise, and Mellon's goal sent us wild, although I wonder how many people injured themselves standing up!
The food was priced as you'd expect in the south. I had a Cornish pasty which was nice, my mate said his burger was cold though! And I got a bottle of Fanta, but they take the lid off and don't give you it which is annoying as you have to keep hold of it.
In spite of all that, I did enjoy the visit, the match was good and I wonder if there were many grounds like this before my time? Luton need to improve or move (what happened to the 'Kohlerdrome' they were talking of in the mid-90s?).
Tips=There's a steward outside the ground directing you to the only pub we could find nearby - he directed everyone down a dirty, smelly, and at night would surely be scary, alley, even though you could walk round the corner and get there just as quickly. Dunno whether it's supposed to be quicker, or it's how they treat away fans, or just this guy's idea of a joke? We got to the bar and it was looking to be about ten deep. Some people were watching Scarborough v Chelsea on the tv, but couldn't be bothered waiting in the queue. Neither could most other Tranmere fans. A lot went over to the off licence and got cans of Stella instead (we are from Birkenhead after all!). There were plenty of chip shops etc nearby, but no cash machines! Argh!
Oh and the highlight of our day was seeing a steward outside the ground in a Coventry City hat. It sent us into fits of laughter, it was so random, but we can't explain why it was funny!
If you are staying in Luton longer than just for the match, the Asian population is high, which is good as it means plenty of Indian restaurants. The smell was hugely tempting, but we had to get on the coach and go home!
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