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Fan Zone 01/06/2023


HATS OFF TO LUTON NON-LEAGUE TO PREMIER LEAGUE TRURO AIMING FOR FOOTBALL LEAGUE AND SOUTHEND TO BE SAVED?


UNITED NEED TO LOOK OUT FOR WEYMOUTH NEXT SEASON


Nine years ago Luton Town were languishing in what was then called the Blue Square Premier - now the National League - where they had been for four years after the FA punished them for financial irregularities with a whopping minus 30 points deduction.

Inevitably they fell out of the Football League. On three occasions whilst in non-league Luton reached, and lost, play-off finals. But in 2014 they won the title with 101 points and finally returned to the promised land.


Little did they know then that by 2023 they would be in the Premier League, the first time they will have been in the top division for 31 years. In fact it was Division 1 and didn’t become the Premier League until the season after their relegation.

Their rise up the leagues has been impressive especially for a team with a modest budget and certainly not ‘buying’ their success as is the growing trend - for those clubs with mega rich owners.


It took them until 2017-18 for promotion from League 2 and then a further move a year later into the Championship.


Saturday’s penalty shoot-out Wembley win over Coventry City puts them at the top table with mouth-watering fixtures being played at their compact Kenilworth Road ground but they have plans for moving.


Luton have become the first team ever to move from non-league to the Premier League and who says that feat can’t be repeated at some point?


And there is a United connection as popular keeper Kevin Dearden, who played 100 times for Torquay between 2001 and 2005, is the Hatters’ goalkeeping coach.


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Dicky Evans, the owner of Truro City, reckons his side can reach the Football League in the next three to four years. Evans is also owner of the Cornish Pirates rugby team but both his sides are homeless with City playing their football at Plymouth Parkway’s Bolitho Park.


Evans has plans for both sides to move into their own stadium in time for the 2024-25 season but to achieve this he’s set up a crowdfunding project to raise £2.5million.

It sounds a good dream and good luck to him.


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Another club looking for better times is Southend United and there are hopes that a local group of businessmen are coming to their rescue. A club statement says that Non Disclosure Agreements with three interested parties and Heads of Terms have been issued but none of them have been granted a period of exclusivity.


There are also rumours circulating that actors, American Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Brit Ray Winstone are involved.


Could they be the next Wrexham?


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National South Weymouth avoided relegation on the final day and since then signed their twelfth player at the weekend. Under manager Bobby Wilkinson they could be the surprise team in the coming season.


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Trip down Memory Lane: May 28 1989 United became the first Devon team to play at Wembley.


This was the Sherpa Van Trophy which ended in a 4-1 defeat to Bolton Wanderers.

May 28 2011 United were in the League 2 Play-Off Final at Old Trafford when the kick-off was delayed due to traffic problems on the M6. This, too, ended in a defeat, 1-0, at the hands of Stevenage.


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Congratulations to United’s Under-18s who came from 2-0 down to 2-2 and a penalty shoot-out which they won clinching the league title, wrapping up a league and cup double for the second year.


With United’s Women in the National League, tier 4, next season they have announced the sale of season tickets for their matches, some of which look likely to be played at Plainmoor.


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Last Saturday saw the final Soccer AM show on Sky Sports, a show in its heyday fronted by United fan Helen Chamberlain and it was also farewell to Jeff Stelling on Soccer Saturday as he steps down.


fanszone.tu@gmail.com or Twitter: @FanszoneT.


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