Luton lacking in LA glamour

Luton is a complete hole, I realised on Tuesday night. Not that I had ever thought it was much of a place, but I'd never really appreciated the extent of its grimness because in the past I've never had to spend so long in the town.

Luton is a complete hole, I realised on Tuesday night.

Not that I had ever thought it was much of a place, but I'd never really appreciated the extent of its grimness because in the past I've never had to spend so long in the town.

But thanks to the new bypass that means you haven't got to spend four hours trying to get through Baldock, we got to Luton in record time - and that meant there was time for a pint or four in the pub beforehand.

Except that, at first sight, there weren't any pubs. We parked next to the Nelson, which we thought boded well for the Norfolk contingent, but that was boarded up.


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And it took us a good 20 minutes wandering through the miserable south Bedfordshire drizzle before we found Bar LA.

Never can such a glamorously-named bar have been so ironically named, however. The staff were friendly enough, but the walls were covered in damp, the tables were decorated with lino and the gas in the beer pumps kept packing up.

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Add a lunatic local man - the only non-City fan in the bar - who spent the whole time trying to scrounge people's fags, and you probably get the picture.

But at least we had a table and we knew of no other pubs to go to, so we struggled on. It proved to be a good decision because the delayed kick-off meant we had even longer to hang around.

But Bar LA was paradise compared with our next stop - Kenilworth Road.

Every time I go to Luton's ground, I try to convince myself that my memories are exaggerated and it's not really that bad.

But every time I get to the turnstiles, I realise that it really IS that bad. Worse, actually.

You have to more or less go through some poor soul's bathroom to get into the ground, before climbing a fire escape to get into the visitors' stand.

Give me a good, old-fashioned ground ahead of one of those plastic mass-produced modern stadiums any day, but Kenilworth Road? The place is bizarre.

It reminds me of how children build dens (although that kind of thing is probably banned these days on health and safety grounds). Remember when you'd grab a piece of wood with nails in it and a manky old piece of corrugated iron and some old plastic sheeting and build what you thought was a fantastic hidey-hole in the woods?

Well, Kenilworth Road looks as though it was built in much the same way. There are bits of stand just randomly scattered around the place, and it looks as though the guy who designed it was doing it for a laugh.

There's nothing like a last-minute away win to boost the spirits, however, and of course the state of the ground pales into insignificance compared with what happens on the pitch.

But if we never have to visit Luton again, I - for one - will be a happy man.

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