In an period where football fans are still unable to attend competitive fixtures, it might seem strange to be talking about new stadiums. Yet, for Luton Town and their chief executive Gary Sweet, the plan for a new 17,500 all-seater ground has always been about the long-term.
In a virtual presentation evening last week, Sweet said that he still expected the building of the new stadium (artist's impression pictured) to go ahead on time.
‘It’s a real case of no news is good news. Just because we’re not talking about it every day, doesn’t mean to say that nothing’s going on. In fact, actually, it’s one of the most active areas of the business and my role at the moment is actually getting that going.’
He acknowledged however that certain elements of the plan would be amended:
‘Human behaviour’s different today than it was six months ago and that’s changed the markets.
‘It’s not our will to change anything but the markets have changed. Demand for certain aspects that we’ve got planning for is just not there anymore.
‘We have been rethinking how we can reshape that.
‘There is a plan in place now, we’ve got meetings going on with the council where we are restructuring some of that, things that will become public in the not too distant future.’
The club, like all football clubs, has suffered a huge financial hit given the complete eradication of match day revenue. It will therefore come as a huge boost to Luton Town fans that their CEO remains fully committed to the new stadium.
‘We may need to curtail some of the more desirable aspects of the stadium, just to squeeze that cost a little bit, moving forward but, ultimately, the supporters will still get what they’ve seen in the plans for the stadium, thereabouts.
‘We’re quite excited with what we’re putting forward, with the view that, actually, we’re going to be putting something in place that is actually very deliverable.
‘Without talking about timings, because we’re not quite there with everybody else yet, but we are pushing forward.’
Both the fans and the CEO will also be delighted with the club’s start to the Championship season, with the Hatters defeating Barnsley 1-0 away from home with a goal from James Collins.
Speaking after the game, manager Nathan Jones said:
‘Apart from their chance it's about as good an away performance as you're likely to see in terms of solidity, in terms of what we did and the way we pressed. These are nowhere near where they were last season, these are a great team and I think we just played very, very well.
‘We organised very well and limited them to very little. We just lacked a little bit of quality in the final third. If we did then we would have had more chances, but when you've got a goalscorer like James Collins, you get opportunities and he puts them away.’