This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Regular Punter’ series, where we gather original opinions from select, passionate fans of the clubs concerned on matters surrounding their team and share them with a wider audience…
Football League World’s Luton Town fan pundit Thomas Wheatley has voiced his opinion on how the Hatters have coped with the departure of some of their key players this summer, with the likes of James Justin and Jack Stacey departing for Premier League Leicester and Bournemouth respectively.
Luton of course have been partaking in their first Championship season since 2007, with the Hatters having won the League One title last season at a canter. However there is always some downsides to success and as such Town subsequently lost several key members which helped to form their promotion squad last term.
Given the amount of talent that was lost from the squad, it only seemed natural that we ask our Luton fan pundit to give his thoughts on the club’s summer transfer business, and as such here is what he had to say on the matter:
“I feel we’ve dealt with the departures well given that we lost our two top performing players from last season in Justin and Stacey.
“I think they have both affected us equally as they were such a big part of how we played in the diamond. They provided all the width and, going forward, were sublime. They were also defensively solid as well, which is a rare combination for fullbacks these days!
“I was gutted that we lost Justin, despite its inevitability. He was with the club from the age of about 8 and played for all the age groups. His attitude was flawless and he fully deserves his opportunity. He’ll always be one of our own!”
Wheatley was then asked how he felt the club’s existing squad had reacted to the loss of their key players, to which he replied:
“I’ve been impressive with how players like Andrew Shinnie and James Collins have stepped up at the higher level. Collins just can’t stop scoring (the sitter he missed on Saturday was a rare occurrence) and our attacking play has been, at times, very impressive.
“In the last few games, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu has stepped up and started showing us what we know he can do, dominating possession and going past players. He just needs to be more consistent and we’ve got a proper championship players on our hands.
“Graeme Jones’ summer business was hugely impressive, given that we signed 10 players and only spent money on one. The money from Justin and Stacey will go mostly on the inevitability that is increased wages, and with the new stadium developments in the pipeline, every penny is crucial. We don’t want to end up where we were 2008 and as such we are having to learn how to compete whilst staying within our means.”
If Luton Town’s early season performances are anything to go by, the Hatters are adapting to life in the Championship quickly, which will stand them in good stead if they are to maintain their second division status this campaign against the odds.