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Where Are They Now? Luton Town 1973/74 promotion winners

by Neil Fissler

ALAN WEST was one of the final pieces of the jigsaw that saw Luton Town promoted three times in seven seasons.

Midfielder West had found himself out of favour at Burnley, making only two brief appearances in the side that had won the Second Division title 12 months earlier.

But when Luton manager Harry Haslam needed a couple of signings to boost his promotion- chasing squad he turned to West along with Everton’s Jimmy Husband.

The result was the club climbing from the Fourth Division to the First Division, finishing runners up in the Second Division 15 points behind Jack Charlton’s Middlesbrough.

West says:  “I joined in October 1973. Luton were in the top three or four when I signed and they had promotion hopes.

“Myself and Jimmy Husband came within a few weeks of each other and we were the final pieces of the jigsaw that Harry Haslam was putting together for this push for promotion.

“They had a board of directors with Eric Morecambe as chairman and  were very anxious to do well. Gaining promotion to the First Division was the icing on the cake.

“I had been happy at Burnley having joined them from school but Luton was a good move.”

The Hatters found themselves in a clutch of four or five clubs all hanging onto Boro’s coat tails and trying to to haul themselves into the top flight.

West remembers Luton were promoted with a game to spare – at WBA a club just outside the hunt themselves.

“We gained promotion in the penultimate game of the season at WBA. We only needed a point which was a good job because our last home game was against Sunderland and we lost 4-3.

“But as we had already gained promotion the pressure was off.

“Middlesbrough had run away with the league and there were a few clubs in the hunt.

“Carlisle, Blackpool, Sunderland and Orient were all battling away but we managed to get that result.

“I remember Barry Butlin who was magnificent in the old centre forward’s role that season got the vital goal.

“I played in midfield with Peter Anderson and Jimmy Ryan. Peter was a great player and finished that season as our second highest scorer behind Barry.”luton town watn graphic

  1. Reg Game: The Hatters long-serving physio was still working for the club at the time of his death in May 1978.
  2. Don Shanks: A full-back who counts ex-Miss World Mary Stävin as a former girlfriend. He later played for QPR and Brighton. He worked as a children’s coach in America and in Europe. He’s now a part-time driver.
  3. Alan West: The England U23 international midfielder is still living in Luton and is a Senior Pastor with the Luton Christian Fellowship. He is the Hatters club chaplain.
  4. John Faulkner: The defender spent time on the coaching staff at Norwich City and Luton. He then became a business coach and psychology consultant from his base in Hampshire.
  5. Graham Horn: The goalkeeper settled in Torquay where he was a taxi driver. He died in June 2012, aged 57.
  6. Alan Garner: The skilful central defender settled in the Bedfordshire area and has been a window manufacturer since hanging up his boots.
  7. John Ryan: The full-back ran a transport business, managed Sittingbourne, Dover Athletic and Dulwich Hamlet, worked for the Kent FA, then director of youth development for the Thailand FA.
  8. Bobby Thomson: The England international left back ran a sports shop in the Black County but died of cancer in August 2009 aged 65.
  9. Roy McCrohan: A Norwich City legend who went on to coach in the United States and retired to Exmouth where he died in March 2015 aged 84.
  10. Jimmy Ryan: The forward became reserve coach at Luton and then spent 21 years on the coaching staff of Manchester United. He was academy director when he retired in June 2012.
  11. Jimmy Husband: The forward is now retired and living in the Milton Keynes area after running a pub in Roxton near Bedford and then working as a van driver.
  12. Peter Anderson: A midfielder who was sold to Royal Antwerp to stop Luton going bankrupt in 1975. Managed Millwall before settling in the States where he founded Bayshore Technologies and is now a partner in Mannderson Investments LLC.
  13. Harry Haslam: He went on to manage Sheffield United and was an England scout before his death in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire in September 1986 aged 65.
  14. Barry Butlin: The forward went into financial services and for ten years has been a financial adviser and mortgage manager at C Alexander & Partners in Nottingham.
  15. Rodney Fern: The striker was a publican at the Ferriers Arms in Lount, Leicestershire before becoming a coal merchant and now has a haulage license.
  16. John Aston: The winger ran a family pet-food business and then became a stall holder at Gossop market. Like his father John Snr, he played for Manchester United and starred in their European Cup victory over Benfica in 1968.

     

NOT PICTURED:

Steve Litt: The central defender settled in Minneapolis-St. Paul in the United States and has run a painting business for 28 years.

Keith Barber: The goalkeeper is now based in the Newmarket area and has worked for a firm that supplies starting stalls for racing.

Peter Cruise: The England amateur international midfielder lives in Essex and has been a London cabbie for over 30 years.

Billy Holmes: The forward was a warehouseman before committing suicide in December 1987 aged just 37.

John Sims: The forward managed and settled in Torquay where he became a publican.

Tommy Finney: The Northern Ireland international midfielder managed Histon and Ely and has been employed in the security industry.

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