Charity begins at home
Tonight – for one night only – in another innovative move by Luton Town Football Club, Kenilworth Road becomes the Prostate Cancer UK Stadium. This temporary re-naming of Kenilworth Road tonight is a positive and powerful step.
The move has already generated huge interest both locally and nationally, and those people that track these things will tell you that the national recognition of Prostate Cancer UK will have gone up measurably over the past week, particularly amongst the Charity’s target demographic – yes, you men reading this – that’s you.
You can find out more by visiting http://menunited.prostatecanceruk.org/ now and you can make a contribution by following the instructions below.
So enjoy the game tonight, whether watching it live from your seat in the Prostate Cancer UK Stadium, or locally or around the world on TV. Three points are of course crucial but, sometimes in life, there are things that are even more important than that.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 24 March 2015 09:25)
What's in a name?
Luton Town supporters would have seen Club Chairman Nick Owen’s programme notes from the Morecambe game in which he mentioned a forthcoming announcement regarding the re-naming of Kenilworth Road. This has generated speculation amongst some supporters pending that official announcement.
The Identity Asset agreement between the Club and Trust in Luton, in place since last March, does not include naming rights to Kenilworth Road. However, we can confirm that members of the Trust Board were consulted by the Club a couple of weeks ago on this subject and we are happy that Luton Town supporter’s interests are fully protected.
As Nick Owen said....... “Watch this space....”
Last Updated (Monday, 16 March 2015 09:30)
As we enter March 2015 it is a good time to reflect on what has been happening at Trust in Luton over the last twelve months.
To begin, we have seen a huge increase in memberships over this time, for two main reasons. The announcement last March that the Trust would be the guardian of the Club’s identity assets generated huge interest amongst Luton fans and the wider football community. Members of the Trust Board gave several local and national radio interviews on this subject.
As a direct result of this innovative move more than 500 fans signed up to join the Trust that month alone, mostly from the local area but many others from the rest of the UK and around the world. Then, when the Club gave the opportunity to season ticket holders to join the Trust as part of their season ticket renewal process, a further 600 signed up.
Generally, the Trust sees its number increase when there’s trouble brewing but this time the additional interest and commitment from fans came at a time when John Still and his team were taking us up from the Conference, as Champions, in glorious style.
Unfortunately, such a huge number of new members (and we now have around 1,200 members in total) has proved a little difficult for us to handle. Regrettably our membership database did not prove up to scratch and although we have put a great number of manual hours into getting everything right, we are now, with the Club’s help, taking on a new improved membership system.
This will be integrated into a new Trust website in the coming months and this should enable our communications to members in the future be a little more regular, and timely. One thing to bear in mind though – communication via the post is both expensive and time consuming for us and so we repeat our request for as many members as possible to provide email addresses when they join or renew. Then, apart from your emails, keep an eye www.trustinluton.info and follow our Twitter feed @trustinluton. Remember, you don’t have to tweet to follow someone else on Twitter.
As we are now approaching the first anniversary of the assets protection announcement many Trust memberships taken up then are now reaching the end of their first year. If you did join us last March please re-new. You can do so via our website by following the membership link although please note that you can’t renew on-line until your existing membership has come to an end.
Alternatively, the Club are again offering season ticket holders the chance to join the Trust – or renew – when you purchase your 2015/16 season ticket. Trust memberships purchased this way will run parallel to the actual football season – commencing on the 1st of August each year. This is a great way (for us as well as you) to join or re-new.
Behind the scenes
Behind the scenes, we’ve been working hard as ever and I’m going to highlight below just some of the things we’ve been up to whilst the team have been doing their bit on the pitch.
As you probably know, Luton Town Supporters Club has merged with the Trust. The Supporters Club will continue their fine work of arranging and hosting regular events at the Club such as the “Meet the Manager” evenings, the annual Awards Dinner, their ever-popular quizzes and other events. The Trust itself will continue its regular meetings with the Club’s executives and will represent the fans in discussions on the important issues. Many of you will have read our report on the Club’s finances last autumn which we believe was well received and this will be a regular annual feature as well as feedback on other meetings. We anticipate being involved in consultations with the Club from time-to-time on stadium issues but, before you ask, no one on the Trust Board has (or expects to receive) any inside information on this subject. Like you, we await formal announcements from the Club when the time is right.
Other things financial
Talking finances, we are discussing with the Club how we can set up a scheme which will enable supporters – via the Trust – to acquire additional shares in the Club. Remember we are a shareholder already with 50,000 shares but more would be welcome. This is a complex issue, partly because the founder shareholders are already so generous in supporting the Club finances with their own contributions, but we hope there is a way we can make a contribution too. During the large increase in members in 2014, the Trust board decided to set aside 50% of all new membership fees received and 100% all donations (of which there are many each year) into a separate fund designated purely for share purchases, so we have made a start, but we will have to engage in a specific fund raising campaigns if we are to achieve this objective.
TiL’s Annual Award
One of our best innovations in recent years has been the introduction of the Annual TiL Outstanding Achievement Award. This is an Award from the Trust to someone who deserves recognition for the outstanding effort they have put into the Club. It cannot be won by a player, past or present -as much as we admire them, they do have plenty of their own awards to play for. Everyone else is eligible for nomination though. In its first three years our winners have been:
2012 - Supporter: Keith Brooksbank
2013 - Match-day host and Club legend: John Buttle
2014 - Diverse FM match commentator: Simon Pitts
We are now at the point where we are seeking nominations for the 2015 Award so if there is anyone you think deserves the Award this year please contact us on the email address below with the name of your nomination and the reason why. The Trust Board will consider all nominations carefully in the next few weeks and reach a decision. The identity of the winner will then be kept secret until the appropriate time to announce it near or at the end of the season. The announcement could be at the Awards dinner, it could be on the pitch, it could be on Diverse FM. We don’t know who it is yet, so let us have your nominations.
Whilst talking of awards we are delighted to announce that the decision was recently taken by Luton Borough Council to recognise our own contribution by awarding to the Trust one of the official banners used in the end of season celebrations in St Georges Square and at the Town Hall last May – a day we will never forget. More details to follow on the presentation of this award but we will be deciding how best to use the banner for the benefit of all. Thank you.
The trip to Burton Albion in October gave the Trust the opportunity to recognise the achievement of four Luton Town Supporters Les Miller, Mark Chapman, Chris Park & Keith Hayward who, by attending that match, were now back in the “92 Club” having watched the Hatters play at the home ground of every other league club – an amazing achievement.
2014 also saw the arrival of John Miller – the Club’s first Supporters Liaison Office (or SLO as we like to call him). John is a Hatters Fan through and through and is available for you to contact via the Club with your questions.
Finally, we are now finalising the arrangements for our 2014 AGM. The date and venue will be announced soon but if you are interested in what goes on behind the scenes at the Trust please come along. We do need some more help on the Trust Board too so there will be a chance, after the meeting, to meet with the existing Board members and see how you can get involved.
Trust in Luton March 2015
Visit our website at: www.trustinluton.info
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Last Updated (Tuesday, 03 March 2015 13:47)
The Climb continues...
Another week, and another example of how Luton Town’s long journey upwards isn’t just about results on the pitch.
What price do you put on a reputation? The warmth and goodwill towards the Club engendered by David Pleat’s skilful, over-achieving teams of the early 1980’s were first tarnished, then destroyed, over the next twenty years through a series of unwanted events, bad decisions and ugly headlines.
Everything from the plastic pitch, the membership scheme and its associated away fans ban, an ancient ground seen as barely fit for the year 1900 let alone the new millennium, through to an apparently never ending series of financial problems and misdemeanours saw us as a target for critical comment and negative journalism. When we hit the skids again in 2007 our reputation was in the gutter.
Under the stewardship of 2020 the climb back since then has been much more than about league position. A slow but steady process, each forward step carefully placed on a firm foundation. Twenty years of negatives have slowly but surely been turned into positives.
The Club is now a major asset to the Town. It’s properly and professionally run and the finances are sound and prudently managed.
The supporters are listened to and consulted.
The pitch has quietly had significant investment on it and is now, probably, the best in leagues one and two.
Away fans are welcomed in large numbers, seated and covered, although leg-room can be a little tight for some.
And Kenilworth Road itself? If you could wrap it up and drive it to the nearest Antiques Roadshow, the football ground specialist (and we’re sure the BBC have got one somewhere) would delight at this well worn but preserved antique, an object to enjoy and cherish, a piece of living history now very rare amongst the soulless concrete bowls of 21st century sporting Britain. It won’t be long before English Heritage start taking an interest.
So, with promotion achieved under John Still with flair, dignity and fair play, our reputation has finally been restored, but things haven’t stopped there. In March, a ground-breaking agreement between the Club and Trust in Luton to protect the Club’s heritage assets made headlines across football, and beyond, for all the right reasons.
And now, incredibly, Luton Town finds itself the first English League Club to pay its entire staff the Living Wage. Gary Sweet seemed genuinely surprised at the fuss, pointing out that it cost a mere 2% of the total player budget but, despite all the riches in the Premier League, only Chelsea have made the same move. Don’t underestimate the significance of this progressive move by the Club and its implications for society beyond football.
For now though watch as the other Premier League Clubs are quickly shamed into following suit. The funny thing is that it’s not that they couldn’t afford it, or they don’t want to do it, it’s just something that has obviously never occurred to them. For all the modern corporate speak at the shiny end of football about values and communities and customer satisfaction indexes, the average Premier League Club executive seems to have as much understanding of the lives of their junior staff as Lord Grantham has of a Downton Abbey kitchen maid.
So, we are now, unofficially, the media’s new darlings - the “go-to” Club for good news in football, a shining beacon across the football landscape. But, and unfortunately there has to be a but, a word of caution. Our reputation so carefully restored can be easily and quickly lost and the recent thoughtless actions of a few remind us how fragile it can be.
Despite that, we believe that the whole Town of Luton and this corner of Bedfordshire are genuinely proud of the Club and everything it represents – let’s keep it that way.
Trust in Luton
Last Updated (Friday, 12 December 2014 10:26)
Supporters Liaison Officer
Trust in Luton is pleased to welcome John Miller as the Club’s Supporters Liaison Officer.
John’s role is to build and maintain dialogue between the fans and the Club, working closely with TiL and other supporter groups. He is also responsible for networking with SLOs at other Football League clubs to foster new ideas and initiatives to benefit Luton Town FC and its supporters.
TiL Chairman Tony Murray said, “TiL has grown significantly in recent times and it is excellent to have John on board to assist in our work on behalf of the members. We look forward to working with him”.
John says, “As a lifelong fan, it’s great to have the opportunity to get more closely involved with TiL and the supporters. Our Club is on the up again – let’s all help to keep that going!”
Last Updated (Monday, 08 December 2014 14:53)