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Promotion contenders Luton Town currently play at Kenilworth road. The 10,356 capacity stadium is sandwiched between suburban housing but is it fit for the Premier League?
Will Luton Be Able to Play at Kenilworth Road In the Premier League?
Luton Town, whose games have been played at Kenilworth Road since 1905, have managed to return to the Premier League for the first time since 1992. Just a decade ago the club were plying their trade in the Conference alongside the likes of Dartford.
Their current ground Kenilworth Road was built in 1905, it’s hosted a whilst host of things including youth international games. Despite having a capacity of just over 10,000, the attendance record is 30,069 which was set in 1959 as Luton Town hosted Blackpool in a sixth round FA Cup Replay.
Kenilworth Road is unique in many ways, one being that it has five stands:
- The Kenilworth Stand, which houses the home fans behind the goal
- Oak End Road, which houses both home and away fans behind the other goal
- The Main Stand, which has wooden benches as seats
- The David Preece Stand, which is located directly next to the Main Stand but due to the road on the outsides shape, the stand itself isn’t straight
- The Bobbers Stand, which needs work doing it due to it not being up to the standards that the Premier League’s broadcasters require
Gary Sweet who is the chief executive at the club has said they pretty much need to rebuild an entire stand to get the ground up to Premier League standard.
The club are apparently planning to completely demolish the Bobbers Stand and rebuild it to meet the requirements. The Bobbers Stand runs down the length of the pitch with Luton replacing it with new facilities that will include a media centre, TV and data analysis studios, toilets and a canteen, with the details being revealed by Luton CEO Gary Sweet.
Is Ground-Sharing the Way Forward for the Foreseeable?
There was an option to ground-share should they get promoted, with the likes of Milton Keynes Dons being one of the names thrown around. However, Luton Town’s board members were never ok with that idea and wanted to make sure they would be playing where they have done since 1905 when Kenilworth Road was built. Gary Sweet is estimating that the cost of the stadium upgrade will cost around £10m.
The club are in the process of acquiring a new ground at Power Court in Luton but building hasn’t started on that just yet. The aim for the club is for the builders to start at the end of this year or early next year. The new ground will have a capacity of around 17,500 which is just over 7,000 more than where they currently reside.
The club have in fact been looking for a new stadium since 1955 when chairman at that time, Percy Mitchell, spoke of building a new 35,000 capacity stadium but due to unstable finances this never came to fruition. In 1982, the club had conversations about relocating to Milton Keynes and according to The Luton News they would be renamed to MK Hatters. Luton supporters fiercely protested this idea which halted it. There has been conversations since about relocating, one being as recently as 2000, but The Football League stating that a member club was not allowed to leave it’s home town.
What Rules In the Premier League Mean That Kenilworth Road Isn’t Up To Standard?
The club will have just 14 weeks to get the ground up to the required standard but Gary Sweet is confident the club can do it. The club, along with every other club in the Premier League have to follow every rule in the Premier League Handbook. Luton submitted a planning application to Luton Borough Council following the clubs play off finish in the 2021/22 season which shows the confidence that the club had to potentially go one step better this season. The application was accepted by the council on 6th July 2022.
The TV gantry which currently sits on top of the Bobbers Stand would have to be altered to ensure it comfortably accommodates cameras in order to facilitate major broadcasters such as Sky, BT Sports and ESPN. The new TV gantry will be required to cover the entire length of the pitch which is a lot more than the current TV gantry covers, which is around 15 yards or so.
Luton's rise has been nothing short of remarkable, the ground is such an iconic ground and I’m sure by now everybody has seen the famous entrance to the away end or the walk up the stairs which overlooks peoples gardens. To say this ground could be a Premier League ground next season is incredible and it shows just how far Luton have risen in such a short space of time.
Will Luton Be Able to Play at Kenilworth Road In the Premier League? Will we see worldwide stars like Erling Haaland’s, Mohamed Salah and Marcus Rashford playing at Kenilworth Road next season? Only time will tell.
Luton Town’s 2023/24 Premier League Season, Fixtures, and Venue
The Hatters’ historic first season in the English Premier League didn’t begin the most pleasant way, with coach Rob Edwards' boys getting bested 4-1 by in-form Seagulls on the 12th of August. The following visit was a difficult match at Stamford Bridge against the Blues from London. As you might expect, Chelsea thrashed the new kid on the block 3-0, with Raheem Sterling scoring a lovely brace for this team.
In between those fixtures, Luton Town were scheduled to play at home on the 19th of August against newly-promoted Burnley. However, due to maintenance work at Kenilworth Road, the match was postponed and will be held as soon as possible.
As of the 1st day of September 2023, stadium works are all done and Kenilworth Road is finally open for business as Luton Town takes on top dogs West Ham. The Premier League game on Friday will be the first in which the Hatters enjoy the home-field advantage at Kenilworth Road. Hopefully, it will be enough so that the team can secure historic-first Premier League points.
In the next couple of Premier League fixtures at home, Luton Town hosts the following teams at Kenilworth Road:
- Luton Town vs Wolves – 23rd of September
- Luton Town vs Tottenham – 7th of October
- Luton Town vs Liverpool – 4th of November
- Luton Town vs Crystal Palace – 25th of November
- Luton Town vs Arsenal – 4th of December
- Luton Town vs Manchester City – 9th of December