Fans of Luton Town are finally starting to see the good times return to Kenilworth Road after experiencing a horrendous time in the late 2000s and early 2010s. In 2008 the club were given a 30-point penalty, the first 10 given after being found guilty of misconduct for paying agents using a third party while the remaining 20 points were for Luton’s failure to satisfy the league’s insolvency rules. This 30-point penalty came about after the club found themselves in their third insolvency crisis in the space of just 10 years.
Since their return to the Football League in 2014, the Hatters have regularly been one of the favourites to get promoted and this season has been no different. Luton are currently joint-favourites with League Two leaders Accrington Stanley to win the league according to football bets. Having been one of the more dominant teams this season, they have found themselves struggling for form recently, allowing Accrington to overtake them at the top of the table.
Even during their financial troubles the club were able to attract some good young players and to produce their own future stars. We have taken a look at five players who have spent a part of their career playing for Luton and who are currently plying their trade at a Championship club.
Freddie Hinds joined Luton back in 2006, at the age of seven, and spent almost 11 years at the Hatters, but making only two appearances for the Bedfordshire club. Both of these appearances came in the EFL Trophy, his debut being in a 2-0 win against the West Bromwich Albion U23s. Bristol City came in for the young striker in August 2016, however they were unable to complete a deal at that time, and the Robins had to wait until January 2017 to finally get their man. Since moving to Bristol City, Hinds has made just four appearances, only one of those being in the Championship.
In 2008, Cauley Woodrow joined the youth set-up and played for the youth team for two seasons before being called up to the senior team, making three EFL Trophy appearances. In the summer of 2011, Woodrow was signed by Fulham for a six figure fee which, depending on the player’s progress, could rise to a seven figure fee. The forward has made six Premier League appearances for Fulham as well as 48 for the Cottagers in the Championship. Woodrow has had three loan moves since moving to Fulham, the first being to League Two club Southend United, helping the Shrimpers to fifth in League Two, although the club were unable to progress in the play-offs for promotion to League One. After his loan at Southend he spent the next two seasons in and out of the Fulham first team before moving to Burton Albion on loan in the second half of the 2016/17 season. Burton, now playing in the Championship, gave Woodrow more Championship experience with 14 appearances, in which Woodrow scored five goals. He is currently on loan, this time to fellow Championship side Bristol City, where he has so far made nine appearances.
From 1996 to 2007 David Edwards played for Shrewsbury Town, with four of those years being spent playing for the senior team. In what is believed to be a £250,000 compensation deal, the Wales midfielder moved to Luton Town. Unfortunately for Luton, their financial situation worsened and the club had entered into administration, and it was because of this that the club were forced to sell some of their key players. Edwards was sold to Wolves in a deal reported to be worth £675,000, just six months after joining the Hatters. Edwards became a regular for Wolves in both the Championship and Premier League, spending nine and a half seasons at the midlands club. At the end of the 2017/18 season he made the switch to fellow Championship club Reading where he has become a regular in the team.
— Reading FC (@ReadingFC) August 26, 2017
Following his release from Wimbledon in 2001, Curtis Davies wrote to many clubs asking for a trial, with Colchester United and Luton Town being the only two clubs to offer Davies a trial. Despite being unable to impress Colchester enough to earn himself a deal, he was given a scholarship deal following a three-game trial at Luton. His first two seasons at the Hatters were spent with the youth team however, in the 2003/04 season, he made his senior debut, but would not become a regular until the following season, where he scored his first senior goal against Wrexham, which also turned out to be the goal that won Luton the League One title. He made 44 appearances in the League One title-winning season and Davies was named as the League One Player of the Year. His impressive performances continued into the beginning of the 2005/06 season and, at the end of August, he was signed by Premier League club West Brom for £3 million. He suffered relegation in his first season with the Baggies, but was a regular in both the Premier League and Championship for West Brom. After two seasons at West Brom he moved to Aston Villa and since then has gone on to play for Leicester City, Birmingham City and Hull City, playing in both the Premier League and the Championship. In 2017, after four seasons at Hull, Davies moved to fellow Championship club Derby County.
Isaac Vassell, cousin of former England striker Darius Vassell, began his career at Plymouth Argyle, spending nine years at the Devon club. Vassell was released by Plymouth at the end of the 2013/14 season and moved to Truro City, who he had played for on loan in the 2011/12 season. Following a further two seasons at Truro, Luton Town offered Vassell a trial, before offering him a one-year contract. Following a good run of form in the middle of the 2016/17 season, Luton exercised a clause in his contract which allowed them to extend his contract by a year, meaning Vassell would be signed to the club until the summer of 2018. In August 2017, however, Championship club Birmingham City reportedly made an offer in excess of £1 million to sign the young striker from Luton. The offer was accepted and Vassell signed a four year deal with the midlands club, making his debut the day after his transfer was complete, as a 73rd minute substitute against Bolton Wanderers. Although he has only made nine appearances so far, injuries have prevented him from appearing in more matches for the club and, after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in the Birmingham derby against Aston Villa, he is unlikely to play a part in the remainder of Birmingham’s season.