DATE LINES

1879 – Christ Church Institute are the first Association Football Club to be formed in Luton.  They are followed later that year by Excelsior and then Rovers.  Excelsior met in a “blockhouse” in Wellington Street.  Rovers were a High Town Club. See Chapter 2 page 7

September 1880 – Luton Wanderers are formed at a meeting at the Cricketers Arms, High Town Road.  See 2.5

23rd October 1880 – the first reported Association Football match in Luton takes place in the “Dallow-lane meadows” between Rovers and Excelsior.  This 15-a-side game results in a 2 0 win for Excelsior.  See 2.6

20th November 1880 – A 15-a-side game between St. John’s College (Luton) and Rovers ends 0 0.  J.C. and E.H. Lomax play in their first reported match.  see 2.7

March 1883 – Wanderers and Excelsior players and the Lomax brothers from St. John’s College combine to travel to play Newport Pagnell who had been unbeaten all season.  A magnificent 1 0 win gave George Deacon the idea of a “Town Club.”  See 3.5

February 1884 – A team called “Luton” composed of Wanderers and Excelsior players beat Chesham 2 1.  See 3.12

Autumn 1884 – Wanderers move from their People’s Park ground to Dallow Lane.  They lose 3 1 at home to the Old Etonians in the first round of the F.A. Cup.  Ellingham scores the first ever F.A. Cup goal for a Luton side.  See 4.3.

13th January 1885 – Wanderers, led by their Secretary, H.G. Spratley, decide at a secret meeting at St. Matthews School, High Town, to change their name to “Luton Town Football Club.”  See 5.2.

Spring 1885 – the change of name divides the opinion of football lovers in the town.  A public meeting is arranged for 11th April.

11th April 1885 – at a public meeting at the Town Hall, announced by posters circulated around the town, a large number of football lovers gather.  J.C. Lomax is the first speaker in favour of the formation of a “Luton Town Football Club.”  H.G. Spratley opposes on the basis that a Luton Town Club already exists and there cannot be two.  His amendment is defeated.  The motion to form a “Luton Town Football Club” is put forward by G.H. Small and seconded by E.H. Lomax.  The motion is carried and the club committee is elected by ballot.  Officials are appointed.  Team colours are to be pink and dark blue shirts and caps.

This was NOT a meeting between Luton Excelsior and Luton Wanderers only.  It was a public meeting attended by most football lovers in the town.  The motion put to the meeting was NOT about the amalgamation or merger of those two clubs.  The only motion put and carried was “that this meeting establish a Town Football Club to be called “Luton Town Football Club.”  See Chapter 6.

18th April 1885 – the first committee meeting is held.   Suggested fixtures are put forward and other administrative duties are dealt with.  See 7.2.

Summer 1885 – the committee meets regularly and many administrative aspects are dealt with.  Dallow Lane is established as the home ground with The Fox Public House to be used as the changing rooms.  Members (season) tickets prices are set at 2/6 – two shillings and six pence – roughly 13 pence in today’s money.  Pay on the day would be 2d and 3d for big games.  see Chapter 7.

3rd October 1885 – the first ever game saw Luton Town beat Higham Ferrers three nil at Dallow Lane.  J.C. Lomax scored the first Luton Town goal.  See 9.2.

31st October 1885 – The club lose their first competitive match 3 0 away to Great Marlow in the first round of the F.A. Cup.  See 9.9

7th November 1885 – Luton Town play a major club for the first time when Notts County visit Dallow Lane.  George Deacon and Frank Whitby score the goals in a two nil victory.  See 9.12.

8th January 1886 – Arthur H. Taylor recieves 5/- expenses for the Dulwich away game – the first professional payment in the South of England.  See 10.6.

16th January 1886 – D.A.N. Lomax scores the first hat trick in a 5 1 win over Clapham Rovers at Dallow Lane.  See 10.7

Winter 1885/86 – 20 games are lost to the severe winter weather – the coldest for years.  See chapters 9 and 10.

24th February 1886 – Wellingborough Grammar School win ten nil at Dallow Lane, the worst ever home defeat.  See 10.11

Easter 1886 – The team end the season with home wins over Vulcans 7 1, United London Scottish 2 0 and Olympians 7 1.  See 11.6.

15th May 1886 – First Annual General Meeting takes place at the Town Hall.  The team record was – Played 30, won 17, drew 4, Lost 9, Goals for 64, against 37.  20 matches were cancelled due to bad weather.  The club made a profit of £8 5s 10d on the season.  See 11.7.

September 1886 – the club have to use the Crown and Anchor Public House (corner of Manchester Street and Bridge Street) as changing rooms.  A urinal is installed at the ground.  See 12.2.

16th October 1886 – after a poor start, the club record a tremendous victory away to Watford Rovers.  George Deacon scores a hat trick in the 4 1 win.  See 12.6

23rd October 1886 – The club lose 3 1 to Hotspur (Wimbledon) in the first round of the F.A. Cup at Dallow Lane. See 12.7

Winter 1886/87 – Another bad winter affects the club’s income.  A foot of snow falls on Boxing Day and lies on the ground for weeks.  Bad weather causes many cancellations.

5th February 1887 – Luton Wanderers travel to Dunstable for whom Herbert Spratley played.  The Wanderers dispute many decisions and fights break out during and after the game.  This is the last reported game for Luton Wanderers.    See 13.3.

19th March 1887 – A 4 3 home win over Dulwich is a rare bright spot in the second half of the season.  See 13.6.

26th March 1887 – McLennan of the London Caledonians breaks his leg in a game at Dallow Lane.  The newspapers seize on the incident and publish letters condemning the incident blaming the Luton player.  The Calies captain, however, confirmed it was an accident and not deliberate.  See 13.7 and 13.8.

Easter 1887 – The Town lose two games and win the last two to end the season.  To add to a poor season J.C. Lomax spurned the club and played 6 games for St. Albans during March and April.  See 13.9.

May 1887 – The second AGM takes place at the Town Hall.  The club provided details of the season for the newspapers – “receipts during the year have amounted to £67 12s, the drawings at the gate being £41 4s.  The expenditure includes £5 5s for hire of meadow, £18 4s 1d for railway fares for out matches, £11 18s 8d ditto for visiting teams, total coming to £69 9s, leaving a balance in the hands of the treasurer of £6 8s 10d, being nearly £2 less than they commenced the season with.  During the season the club played 34 matches; of these they won 19, lost 9 and drew 5”.  See 13.10.

September 1887 – the club announce fixtures against many strong London clubs.  J.C. Lomax commits to play for the club and is elected to the Council of the F.A. representing the 8th Division.  See 14.2 for Isaac Smith  and 14.5 for J.C. Lomax.

15th October 1887 – A 5 1 defeat at Chatham in the F.A. Cup is the club’s only competitive match.  See 14.8.

December 1887 – 7 matches against London teams in the month sees 4 wins, 2 draws and a narrow 2 1 defeat to Hotspur.  All the home Christmas fixtures are fulfilled giving the club much needed revenue.  see 14.14

January 1888 – The club buy three pairs of shin pads for the players.  Under the rules, this is an act of professionalism. See 15.2

February 1888 – A number of games are postponed.

April 1888 –  Despite some fine victories, notably the 4 0 win over Hanover United, the season is a poor one in terms of results.  The first team gained just 13 victories with 5 draws and 11 losses.  But the opposition were mainly top London sides so much was gained in terms of experience.  The third AGM announced that as the Chatham F.A. Cup game was played in a public park, no admission money was taken.  LTFC had to pay for their own train fares and this caused them to make a loss on the season.  Donations by prominent men helped the balance sheet immensely.  Income was £77 11s 11d.  Expenditure was £71 8s 3d.  Included in the income was £4 8s 10d carried forward from the previous season plus £3 3s in donations. See 15.7