Third time lucky for Luton Town FC?
It has been a traumatic few years for Luton Town supporters, but 2012 is bringing renewed optimism that the team could once again enter the football league.
In 2008, Luton Town Football Club were unable to survive in the Football League after a 30 point deduction at the start of the season. Since then, they have been fighting for promotion in the Blue Square Premier League, to escape non-league football.
Having not succeeded in achieving automatic promotion in their last two seasons, Luton has been forced into the high-pressure situation of the play-offs. In the 2009/10 season they lost to York City in both games. Then, in the 2010/11 season, they made it all the way to the play-off final, but lost to AFC Wimbledon on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes.
This year, Luton is once again in a play-off position, and have already beaten Wrexham 2-0 in the first leg at home at Kenilworth Road.
Luton is consistently top of attendance tables, and is one of the most well-supported teams in the non-league. For its supporters and players, promotion is nothing short of deserved.
They will hope that if they are victorious against Wrexham and then against Mansfield or York in the final, they will follow in the footsteps of previously promoted teams currently thriving in league football.
Wimbledon are currently 16th in League Two, with Crawley Town, last year’s Blue Square Premier winners, fighting for promotion to League One. Oxford, promoted in 2010, is sitting comfortable in 9th, while 2010 winners Stevenage are in with a chance of being promoted to the Championship. Stevenage also pulled off a surprising 0-0 draw against Tottenham in the FA Cup at home this year.
It seems that the gulf between the Blue Square Premier League and League Two is not so wide, and those that manage promotion can be very successful in league football.
Indeed, to many it seems unfair that only two teams are promoted to the football league each season. It appears there is a similar standard of football being played across the Blue Square Premier and League Two. Naturally though, League Two managers would never agree to having three sides relegated from League Two, increasing their odds of ending up in the darkness of the non-league.
Having looked strong all season, can Luton Town make it third time lucky, and win promotion this year? The game against Wrexham kicks off today at 4.30pm.