Watford Football Club is a professional football club based in Watford, England, that plays in the Premier League, the highest level in the English football league system. Founded in 1898 by the amalgamation of West Herts and Watford St. Mary's. After finishing the 1914–15 season as Southern League champions under the management of Harry Kent, Watford joined the Football League in 1920; the club played at several grounds in its early history, before moving to a permanent location at Vicarage Road in 1922, where it remains. Watford spent most of the following half century in the lower divisions of The Football League, changing colours and crest on multiple occasions. England manager Graham Taylor's tenure at the club saw Watford scale new heights. Between Taylor's appointment in 1977 and departure in 1987, Watford rose from the Fourth Division to the First Division; the team finished second in the First Division in the 1982–83 season, competed in the UEFA Cup in 1983–84, reached the 1984 FA Cup Final.
Watford experienced a decade of decline between 1987 and 1997, before Taylor returned as full-time manager, leading the team to successive promotions from the renamed Second Division to the Premier League for one season in 1999–2000. The club experienced a further one season stint in the top division of English football during the 2006–07 season, under Aidy Boothroyd's management. Watford secured promotion in 2014–15, have competed in the Premier League since the 2015–16 season finishing 13th, 17th and 14th respectively. Watford is owned by the Pozzo family, which owns Udinese Calcio in Italy and Granada CF in Spain. Sir Elton John, who owned Watford during both of Graham Taylor's successful periods as manager, served alongside Taylor as the club's joint Honorary Life President until 2008, only to resume the role he shared alongside Graham Taylor until Taylor's death. Watford Football Club was formed on 15 April 1898 by the amalgamation of two strong local clubs, West Herts and Watford St Mary's.
The Watford Observer of 7 May 1898 reported - When three-parts of the season was gone, there were whispers of the advantages of amalgamation of the two clubs. That the principle was right few disputed, the question narrowed itself down to a few minor difficulties, it was ascertained that the executive on both sides regarded the suggestion favourably, joint meetings of the officials were arranged. The proposals took a definite shape, soon amalgamation was a thing accomplished, it was decided, that each club should finish off its fixtures. Next season the Watford club will play on the Cassio-Road ground, one of the chief ideas of the amalgamation is to have a second team of sufficient strength to be an attraction while the first string is engaged elsewhere; the details of the amalgamation scheme we have given in these columns. Speaking the local football season which has just closed has been a most important one, it has witnessed two steps which have marked fresh epochs - the adoption of professionalism and the amalgamation of West Herts and Watford St. Mary's.
The amalgamation was approved by the full F. A. committee on 27 May 1898 as reported by the Lichfield Mercury of 28 May 1898 "permission was given to Watford St. Mary's and West Herts to take the name of Watford Football Club, the two clubs having amalgamated." West Herts were known as Watford Rovers who were formed in 1881 by Henry Grover, who went on to play for the club as a full back. Rovers composed of amateur players, held home games at several locations in the town of Watford; the team first competed in the FA Cup in the 1886–87 season, in 1889 Watford won the County Cup for the first time. The team became the football section of "West Hertfordshire Club and Ground" in 1891, moved to a ground on Cassio Road; as "West Herts" they joined the Southern Football League in 1896. West Herts fortunes slumped at the start of the 1897/98 season and attendances were less than 200, they took the bold step of turning their fortunes revived. Watford St. Mary's were runners up in the Hertfordshire Senior Cup of 1894/95 and attracted crowds of 400 to 500 when West Herts were at home.
The two clubs talked of an amalgamation, which occurred on 15 April 1898. This was reported by the Watford Observer of 7 May 1898, it was agreed. The new club was named Watford Football Club. Following relegation to the Southern League Second Division in 1903, Watford appointed its first manager – former England international and First Division top scorer John Goodall, he led Watford to promotion, kept the team in the division until his departure in 1910. Despite financial constraints, Watford won the Southern League title in the 1914–15 season under his successor, Harry Kent. Watford held the title for five years following the suspension of the Southern League during the First World War – after finishing the 1919–20 season runners-up on goal average, the club resigned from the Southern League to join the new Football League Third Division. From 1921–22, the third tier of The Football League consisted of two parallel sections of 22 clubs, fighting both for promotion to the Second Division and battling to hold on to their league status.
There was a re-election system in place which meant the bottom two teams in each of the two divisions had to apply for re-election to the league. Watford finished outside the top six league positions in every season between 1922 and 1934. Following Kent's departure in 1926, they finished 21st out of 22 clubs in 1926–27, but were unanimously re-elected to the league after a ballot of clubs in the top two divisions of The Football
Luton is a large town and unitary authority area of Bedfordshire, in the East of England. It has a population of 214,700 and is one of the most populous towns without city status in the United Kingdom; the town is situated on the River Lea, about 30 miles northwest of London. Earliest settlements in the Luton area can be traced back over 250,000 years, but the town's foundation dates to the sixth century as a Saxon outpost on the River Lea, from which Luton derives its name. Luton is recorded in the Domesday Book as Loitone and Lintone and one of the largest churches in Bedfordshire, St Mary's Church, was built in the 12th century. There are local museums which explore Luton's history in Stockwood Park. Luton was for many years famous for hatmaking, had a large Vauxhall Motors factory. Car production at the plant began in 1905 and continued until 2002. Production of commercial vehicles continues, the head office of Vauxhall Motors is still in the town. London Luton Airport opened in 1938, is now one of Britain's major airports, with two railway stations in the town.
The University of Bedfordshire was created from a merger with the University of Luton, two of its campuses are in Luton. Luton Town Football Club, nicknamed "the Hatters" due to the town's connection to hatmaking, has had several spells in the top flight of the English league as well as a Football League Cup triumph in 1988, they play at Kenilworth Road, their home since 1905, planning permission for a new larger stadium was approved in 2019. Luton International Carnival, the largest one-day carnival in Europe, is held on the day before the last Monday in May, the Saint Patrick's festival is held on the weekend nearest to Saint Patrick's Day as there is a large Irish community in Luton. Luton Hoo is an English country house and Grade I listed building designed by Scottish architect Robert Adam. Luton's earliest recorded name is Lygea-Byrig, where Lygea means'a river in an open field' and Byrid means'a town'; the name shown as converting to Luton over the centuries with Lvton being the used in the charter of Charles I.
Luton is believed to have been founded by the Anglo-Saxons sometime in the 6th century. The Domesday Book records Luton as Loitone and as Lintone. Agriculture dominated the local economy at that time, the town's population was around 700 to 800. In 1121 Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester started work on St Mary's Church in the centre of the town; the work was completed by 1137. A motte-and-bailey castle which gives its name to the modern Castle Street was built in 1139 but demolished by 1154; the hat making industry became synonymous with the town. The town grew: in 1801 the population was 3,095, but by 1850 it was over 10,000 and by 1901 it was 39,000. Newspaper printing arrived in the town in 1854; the first public cemetery was opened in the same year and Luton was made a borough in 1876. Luton's hat trade reached its peak in the 1930s, but declined after the Second World War and was replaced by other industries. In 1907, Vauxhall Motors opened the largest car plant in the United Kingdom in Luton, during the Second World War, it built Churchill tanks as part of the war effort.
Despite heavy camouflage, the factory made Luton a target for the Luftwaffe and the town suffered a number of air raids. 107 died and there was extensive damage to the town. The original town hall was destroyed in 1919 during Peace Day celebrations at the end of the First World War. Dr. John G. Dony, author of The Flora of Bedfordshire told his history students, during the 1950s, that he had broken the last intact window of the old town hall during the 1919 riots. Local people, including many ex-servicemen, were unhappy with unemployment and had been refused the use of a local park to hold celebratory events, they stormed the town hall. A replacement building was completed in 1936. Luton Airport opened in 1938, operated by the council. It's now one of the largest employers in the area; the pre-war years, were something of an economic boom for Luton, as new industries grew and prospered. New private and council housing was built in the 1920s and 1930s, with Luton starting to incorporate nearby villages Leagrave and Stopsley between 1928 and 1933.
Post-war, a number of substantial estates of council housing were built, notably at Farley Hill, Limbury, Marsh Farm and Leagrave. The Marsh Farm area of the town was developed in the mid to late 1960s as a large council housing estate to house the overspill population from London. However, the estate gained a reputation for high levels of crime and unemployment, which culminated in a riot on the estate in July 1992 and another more serious riot three years later; the town is situated within the historic county of Bedfordshire, but since 1997 Luton has been an administratively independent unitary authority. The town remains part of Bedfordshire for ceremonial purposes. Luton is within the East of England European Parliament constituency. Luton is represented in Parliament by Kelvin Hopkins who holds Luton North and Gavin Shuker who holds Luton South. There are 48 councillors on Luton Borough Council; the Council is controlled by the Labour group, who have 36 Local Councillors compared to the Liberal Democrats with eight seats and the Conservative Party with four.
The electoral wards in Luton are: In 1876 the town council was granted its own coat of arms. The wheatsheaf was used on the crest to represent agriculture and the supply of straw used in the local hatmaking industry (the straw plaiting indu
English Football League
The English Football League is a league competition featuring professional football clubs from England and Wales. Founded in 1888 as the Football League, the league is the oldest such competition in world football, it was the top-level football league in England from its foundation until 1992, when the top 22 clubs split away to form the Premier League. The three leagues below the Premier League are known as the Championship, League One and League Two, with 24 clubs in each division. Promotion and relegation between these divisions is a central feature of the League and is further extended to allow the top Championship clubs to exchange places with the lowest-placed clubs in the Premier League, the bottom clubs of League Two to switch with the top clubs of the National League, thus integrating the League into the English football league system. Although a competition for English clubs, clubs from Wales – Swansea City and Newport County – take part, while in the past Cardiff City, Merthyr Town and Aberdare Athletic have been members.
The Football League was associated with a title sponsor between 1983 and 2016. As this sponsor changed over the years the league too has been known by various names. Starting with the 2016–17 season, the league has moved away from having a title sponsor, rebranding itself as the English Football League, in much the same way the Premier League is known as the "EPL" internationally; the English Football League is the name of the governing body of the league competition, this body organises two knock-out cup competitions, the EFL Cup and the EFL Trophy. The operations centre of the Football League is in Preston, while its commercial office is in London; the commercial office was based in Lytham St Annes, after its original spell in Preston. The Football League consists of 70 professional association football clubs in England and 2 in Wales, it runs the oldest professional football league competition in the world. It organises two knockout cup competitions, the EFL Cup and EFL Trophy; the Football League was founded in 1888 by Aston Villa director William McGregor with 12 member clubs.
Steady growth and the addition of more divisions meant. Financial considerations led to a major shake-up in 1992 when, in a step to maximise their revenue, the leading members of the Football League broke away to form their own competition, the FA Premier League, renamed in 2007 as the Premier League; the Football League therefore no longer includes the top 20 clubs who belong to this group, although promotion and relegation between the Football League and the Premier League continues. In total, 136 teams have played in the Football League up to 2013; the EFL's 72 member clubs are grouped into three divisions: the EFL Championship, EFL League One, EFL League Two. Each division has 24 clubs, in any given season a club plays each of the others in the same division twice, once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents; this makes for a total of 46 games played each season. Clubs gain three points for a win, one for a draw, none for a defeat. At the end of the season, clubs at the top of their division may win promotion to the next higher division, while those at the bottom may be relegated to the next lower one.
At the top end of the competition, three Championship clubs win promotion from the Football League to the Premier League, with the bottom three Premier League clubs taking their places. At the lower end, two League Two clubs lose their Football League status with relegation to the National division of the National League, while two teams from that division join League Two of The Football League in their stead. Promotion and relegation are determined by final league positions, but to sustain interest for more clubs over the length of the season one promotion place from each division is decided according to a playoff between four clubs, which takes place at the end of the season, it is therefore possible for a team finishing sixth in the Championship or League One, or seventh in League Two, to be promoted rather than the clubs finishing above them in the standings. Since the 2004–05 season, penalties have existed for clubs entering financial administration during the season. If a club enters administration before 31 March of any given season, they will be deducted 12 points.
It is required that a club exiting administration agree a Creditor's Voluntary Agreement, pay in full any other footballing creditors. Failure to do either of these will result in a second unlimited points deduction; the other main situation in, a club may lose points is by fielding an improperly registered or otherwise ineligible player. If a club is found to have done this any points earned from any match that player participated in will be deducted; the EFL organises two knock-out cup competitions: the EFL Trophy. The EFL Cup was established in 1960 and is open to all EFL and Premier League
The Premier League is the top level of the English football league system. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the English Football League; the Premier League is a corporation. Seasons run from August to May with each team playing 38 matches. Most games are played on Sunday afternoons; the Premier League has featured 47 English and two Welsh clubs since its inception, making it a cross-border league. The competition was formed as the FA Premier League on 20 February 1992 following the decision of clubs in the Football League First Division to break away from the Football League, founded in 1888, take advantage of a lucrative television rights deal; the deal was worth £1 billion a year domestically as of 2013–14, with BSkyB and BT Group securing the domestic rights to broadcast 116 and 38 games respectively. The league generates € 2.2 billion per year in international television rights. Clubs were apportioned revenues of £2.4 billion in 2016–17. The Premier League is the most-watched sports league in the world, broadcast in 212 territories to 643 million homes and a potential TV audience of 4.7 billion people.
In the 2014–15 season, the average Premier League match attendance exceeded 36,000, second highest of any professional football league behind the Bundesliga's 43,500. Most stadium occupancies are near capacity; the Premier League ranks second in the UEFA coefficients of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the past five seasons, as of 2018. Forty-nine clubs have competed since the inception of the Premier League in 1992. Six of them have won the title since then: Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, Leicester City; the record of most points in a Premier League season is 100, set by Manchester City in 2017–18. Despite significant European success in the 1970s and early 1980s, the late 1980s marked a low point for English football. Stadiums were crumbling, supporters endured poor facilities, hooliganism was rife, English clubs were banned from European competition for five years following the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985; the Football League First Division, the top level of English football since 1888, was behind leagues such as Italy's Serie A and Spain's La Liga in attendances and revenues, several top English players had moved abroad.
By the turn of the 1990s the downward trend was starting to reverse: at the 1990 FIFA World Cup, England reached the semi-finals. In the 1980s, major English clubs had begun to transform into business ventures, applying commercial principles to club administration to maximise revenue. Martin Edwards of Manchester United, Irving Scholar of Tottenham Hotspur, David Dein of Arsenal were among the leaders in this transformation, it gave the top clubs more power. By threatening to break away, clubs in Division One managed to increase their voting power, they took a 50% share of all television and sponsorship income in 1986. Revenue from television became more important: the Football League received £6.3 million for a two-year agreement in 1986, but by 1988, in a deal agreed with ITV, the price rose to £44 million over four years with the leading clubs taking 75% of the cash. According to Scholar, involved in the negotiations of television deals, each of the First Division clubs received only around £25,000 per year from television rights before 1986, this increased to around £50,000 in the 1986 negotiation to £600,000 in 1988.
The 1988 negotiations were conducted under the threat of ten clubs leaving to form a "super league", but they were persuaded to stay with the top clubs taking the lion share of the deal. As stadiums improved and match attendance and revenues rose, the country's top teams again considered leaving the Football League in order to capitalise on the influx of money into the sport. In 1990, the managing director of London Weekend Television, Greg Dyke, met with the representatives of the "big five" football clubs in England over a dinner; the meeting was to pave the way for a break away from The Football League. Dyke believed that it would be more lucrative for LWT if only the larger clubs in the country were featured on national television and wanted to establish whether the clubs would be interested in a larger share of television rights money; the five clubs decided to press ahead with it. The FA did not enjoy an amicable relationship with the Football League at the time and considered it as a way to weaken the Football League's position.
At the close of the 1991 season, a proposal was tabled for the establishment of a new league that would bring more money into the game overall. The Founder Members Agreement, signed on 17 July 1991 by the game's top-flight clubs, established the basic principles for setting up the FA Premier League; the newly formed top division would have commercial independence from The Football Association and the Football League, giving the FA Premier League licence to negotiate
Vicarage Road, a stadium in Watford, England, is the home of the football club Watford of the Premier League. An all-seater stadium, its current capacity is 23,700 following the completion of the new Sir Elton John Stand in 2014, expansion work in 2015 and again throughout 2016 and 2017, it has been the home of Watford since 1922. The ground was opened by Col. Charles Healey of Benskins Brewery for the visit of Millwall on 30 August 1922. In addition to being Watford's home since opening, the stadium was home to Wealdstone F. C. between 1991 and 1993, to rugby union side Saracens from 1997 until they moved to their new home at Allianz Park in February 2013. After purchasing the freehold of the stadium from Benskins in January 2002, Watford's financial situation forced them to sell and lease back the stadium that year. However, after a campaign entitled'Let's Buy Back The Vic' with donations coming from fans, as well as celebrity former owner Elton John donating the entire proceeds of a concert held at the venue, the club was able to repurchase the stadium in September 2004.
On 1 September 2011 it hosted England under-21s 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualification Group 8 match against Azerbaijan under-21s. The hosts thrashed the visitors 6 – 0 with braces from Craig Dawson and Henri Lansbury and single goals from Jordan Henderson and Martyn Waghorn. There were 7,738 in attendance; the Vicarage Road Stand was built following the conclusion of the 1992–93 season. An open terrace, the all-seater stand was built to comply with the Taylor Report and raise the standard of the ground, it cost £ 2.3 million to had a capacity of 5,800 people. Construction was funded by the £1.2m sale of Bruce Dyer in 1994. A mere earth bank when the club moved to the ground, it was transformed into a conventional terrace. In 1978, an electronic scoreboard was put up, which became an iconic symbol of Watford's eighties heyday. In a display of solidarity with the home support, Graham Taylor maintained that the benches for the coaching staff and substitute on the side of the pitch would remain exposed to the elements until such time as the home end was covered.
Its final game as a terrace was a 1–0 loss to Oxford United on 8 May 1993. It opened to the public once more on 18 September 1993, with Watford defeating Notts County 3–1; the home stand, it now houses the away support. A partition was subsequently added, meaning that both home and away support could be put in the stand. Half of the stand is given to away fans, the other half is used as the family area for home fans, it houses wheelchair supporters of both teams. Since August 2012, the stand has been home to the Hornets Shop The Rookery Stand was built over the course of the 1994–95 season. Another former terrace, the all-seater Rookery stand has a capacity of 6,960. Larger than the Vicarage Road stand, it has facilities on two levels and holds most of the club's administrative areas; the stand cost £1.6 million to build £300,000 of this figure was contributed by the Football Trust, with the remaining money coming from the £2.3m sale of Paul Furlong by then-owner Jack Petchey in 1994. When Watford moved from Cassio Road, this end of the ground featured a roof over a cinder bank, over the years the roof had to be removed for safety reasons.
The Supporters' Club raised funds to enable the Rookery End to feature concrete terracing under cover, this aim was realised in 1959. The new stand, replacing the 1959 model was used by Watford supporters for the first time on 22 April 1995, for the visit of Bristol City; as part of redevelopment work in conjunction with the Watford Health Campus, 164 units of affordable housing, known locally as The Wrap, were built on and around the Rookery end. Construction finished in 2009; the Rookery is the "home end". It lends its name From The Rookery End; the stand was known. The Graham Taylor Stand was renamed for the 2014–15 season, taking its name from the club's most successful manager Graham Taylor, it was named after former FIFA president Sir Stanley Rous. The official renaming ceremony took place on 29 November 2014; the stand with its distinctive wavy roof runs along the side of the pitch, on the west side of the ground. It is a two-tiered stand, with a TV camera gantry. Built in 1986, it replaced the Shrodells Stand.
The £3 million development was funded via a loan from Elton John. The upper tier, complete with executive boxes, was constructed first, temporary seats forming a lower-tier were added later; these were replaced with permanent seats, first used for a game against Notts County on 18 September 1993. When the club moved from Cassio Road in 1922, the Union Stand was transported and reconstructed on this side of the ground, it was replaced by the Shrodells Stand, constructed during the 1930s. It was extended in 1979 with a further 2,200 seats replacing the standing enclosure in front of the stand; the final match for the Shrodells Stand was a 1–1 draw against Manchester United on 3 May 1986, the Graham Taylor Stand opened on 23 August 1986, when Oxford United visited Vicarage Road, with Watford coming out 3–0 winners. The Sir Elton John Stand sits on the east side of the ground, contains the changing rooms & tunnel; the stand was opened on 13 December 2014, in a ceremony attended by Sir Elton John. Prior to the development of the Sir Elton John Stand, the east side of the ground was home to the Main Stand, constructed in 1922 following Watford FC's move from Cassio Road.
The Main Stand was closed in 2008 due to safety con
Association football, more known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport; the game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal. Association football is one of a family of football codes, which emerged from various ball games played worldwide since antiquity; the modern game traces its origins to 1863 when the Laws of the Game were codified in England by The Football Association. Players are not allowed to touch the ball with hands or arms while it is in play, except for the goalkeepers within the penalty area. Other players use their feet to strike or pass the ball, but may use any other part of their body except the hands and the arms; the team that scores most goals by the end of the match wins.
If the score is level at the end of the game, either a draw is declared or the game goes into extra time or a penalty shootout depending on the format of the competition. Association football is governed internationally by the International Federation of Association Football, which organises World Cups for both men and women every four years; the rules of association football were codified in England by the Football Association in 1863 and the name association football was coined to distinguish the game from the other forms of football played at the time rugby football. The first written "reference to the inflated ball used in the game" was in the mid-14th century: "Þe heued fro þe body went, Als it were a foteballe"; the Online Etymology Dictionary states that the "rules of the game" were made in 1848, before the "split off in 1863". The term soccer comes from a slang or jocular abbreviation of the word "association", with the suffix "-er" appended to it; the word soccer was first recorded in 1889 in the earlier form of socca.
Within the English-speaking world, association football is now called "football" in the United Kingdom and "soccer" in Canada and the United States. People in countries where other codes of football are prevalent may use either term, although national associations in Australia and New Zealand now use "football" for the formal name. According to FIFA, the Chinese competitive game cuju is the earliest form of football for which there is evidence. Cuju players could use any part of the body apart from hands and the intent was kicking a ball through an opening into a net, it was remarkably similar to modern football. During the Han Dynasty, cuju games were standardised and rules were established. Phaininda and episkyros were Greek ball games. An image of an episkyros player depicted in low relief on a vase at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens appears on the UEFA European Championship Cup. Athenaeus, writing in 228 AD, referenced the Roman ball game harpastum. Phaininda and harpastum were played involving hands and violence.
They all appear to have resembled rugby football and volleyball more than what is recognizable as modern football. As with pre-codified "mob football", the antecedent of all modern football codes, these three games involved more handling the ball than kicking. Other games included kemari in chuk-guk in Korea. Association football in itself does not have a classical history. Notwithstanding any similarities to other ball games played around the world FIFA has recognised that no historical connection exists with any game played in antiquity outside Europe; the modern rules of association football are based on the mid-19th century efforts to standardise the varying forms of football played in the public schools of England. The history of football in England dates back to at least the eighth century AD; the Cambridge Rules, first drawn up at Cambridge University in 1848, were influential in the development of subsequent codes, including association football. The Cambridge Rules were written at Trinity College, Cambridge, at a meeting attended by representatives from Eton, Rugby and Shrewsbury schools.
They were not universally adopted. During the 1850s, many clubs unconnected to schools or universities were formed throughout the English-speaking world, to play various forms of football; some came up with their own distinct codes of rules, most notably the Sheffield Football Club, formed by former public school pupils in 1857, which led to formation of a Sheffield FA in 1867. In 1862, John Charles Thring of Uppingham School devised an influential set of rules; these ongoing efforts contributed to the formation of The Football Association in 1863, which first met on the morning of 26 October 1863 at the Freemasons' Tavern in Great Queen Street, London. The only school to be represented on this occasion was Charterhouse; the Freemason's Tavern was the setting for five more meetings between October and December, which produced the first comprehensive set of rules. At the final meeting, the first FA treasurer, the representative from Blackheath, withdrew his club from the FA over the removal of two draft rules at the previous meeting: the first allowed for running with the ball in hand.
Other English rugby clubs followed this lead and did not join the FA and instead in 1871 formed the Rugby Football Union. The eleven remaining clubs, under
Kenilworth Road is a football stadium in Luton, England. It has been home to Luton Town Football Club since 1905; the ground has hosted women's and youth international matches. The 10,356 all-seater stadium is situated in one mile west of the centre of Luton, it is named after the road which runs along one end of it. Kenilworth Road hosted football in the Southern League until 1920 in the Football League until 2009, when Luton were relegated to the Conference Premier, it has hosted Football League matches once more since 2014. The ground is known for the artificial playing surface, present from 1985 to 1991, the unusual entrance to the Oak Road End, the five-season ban on away supporters that Luton Town imposed following a riot by visiting fans in 1985. Floodlights were fitted in 1953, the ground became all-seated in 1991; the record attendance of 30,069 was set in an FA Cup sixth round replay against Blackpool. Luton Town moved to Kenilworth Road in 1905, leaving their previous home at Dunstable Road after their landlord sold the site for housing at short notice.
The club's directors procured a new site, the club's first match at the new ground came on 4 September 1905—a 0–0 draw against Plymouth Argyle. Watford player C. Barnes scored the first goal at the stadium, in a reserve match. Known as Ivy Road, the new ground brought success with it—in their last season at Dunstable Road, Luton had finished second from bottom, but in the first at Kenilworth Road, Luton finished fourth in the Southern League; the ground has undergone several major changes since its original construction in 1905. The original Main Stand, boasting a press loft and a balcony above the roof, burnt down in 1921, was replaced by the current stand before the 1922–23 campaign; the new Main Stand was split into two: the upper tier contained wooden seats, so there was a ban on smoking in the stand. When attendances were first counted, in 1932–33, Luton Town's average home attendance was taken at 5,868. Kenilworth Road's capacity of the time was 25,000, so it was not deemed necessary to improve the ground.
However, only three years on 25 April 1936, a match against Coventry City attracted 23,142 spectators—at that time a club record. The decision was taken to renovate the stadium in disrepair, work began at the end of the following season; the Kenilworth End terrace was extended, the Oak Road End received a roof and major work was done on the Main Stand. Following these steps, the ground was more in line with those of rival clubs, the capacity standing at 30,000; the first ten years following Kenilworth Road's renovation saw average attendances of between 15,000 and 18,000. Floodlights were installed at the ground before the 1953–54 season, used for the first time in a friendly against Turkish side Fenerbahçe on 7 October 1953; the Oak Road terrace was extended in 1955, promotion to the First Division for 1955–56 saw the average attendance climb as high as 21,454. Renovation of Kenilworth Road was neglected for the next two decades—financial difficulties and the club's ambitions to build a new ground meant that regeneration was unaffordable, would prove unnecessary should relocation occur.
However, following the rejection of several potential sites for a new ground, the club turned their attentions back to the maintenance of Kenilworth Road. The first real modernisation of the ground came in 1973, with the first addition of seats at the stadium since the construction of the new Main Stand in 1922; the Bobbers Stand became all-seated. The new look stand could hold only 1,539 seats, as a result the capacity of the ground dropped to 22,601. A£1 million refurbishment got underway in 1985 with the introduction of artificial turf, as well as the conversion of the ground to all-seater, which began a year in 1986; the Oak Road End was filled with seats, while the Bobbers Stand had its seats ripped out to be replaced with executive boxes. The Main Stand's enclosure received seats, work began on converting the Kenilworth Stand, which had a roof added at this time; the stand would receive seats in stages over the coming years. The David Preece Stand was erected in 1991 called the New Stand on construction.
The final improvements to the ground came in 2005, when the conversion of the Kenilworth Stand was completed to bring the capacity to its present 10,356. On 24 March 2015 the ground was renamed "The Prostate Cancer UK Stadium" for one day, for the game against Wycombe Wanderers, in support of charity and raising awareness of prostate cancer. In 1985, following the lead of Queen Park Rangers' experiment at Loftus Road four years earlier, the grass pitch was dug up and replaced with an artificial playing surface; the surface, called Sporturf Professional, was manufactured by En-Tout-Cas, cost the club £350,000. The first match on the new pitch resulted in a 1–1 draw with Nottingham Forest; the new surface became exceedingly unpopular, was derided as "the plastic pitch". Protests about the pitch from other teams resulted in a meeting with a number of major clubs in 1989, mediated by a Football League Commission; the Commission concluded that the pitch had suffered excessive wear and tear from too much use, Luton installed a new surface, at a cost of £60,000, during the summer of 1989.
The second artificial pitch was removed during the summer of 1991, following the banning of such surfaces from English football. On 13 March 1985, Millwall visited Kenilworth Road for an FA Cup