Lu­ton’s team that won pro­mo­tion to Divi­sion One in 1973-74

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - 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 pro­mo­tion­chas­ing 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.” 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 FRONT: 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 were 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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