I never thought that it would happen, with us and the bloke from Newham
That night we won promotion, that night we ain't forgotten
Now. I’m not normally a man to reach for the Squeeze lyrics on important occasions; I’m normally a man, as you’ll know by now, who overly romanticises the sometimes mundane ritual of following a provincial football club, and I live in hope that some of you occasionally recognise a little bit of yourselves in the pathetic, sentimental and emotionally expensive way I approach staring and shouting at the footballers of Luton Town. It’s probably why we get on, me and you, mate.
John Still’s a man, like your mate’s dad, who still has a ring tone that he downloaded off the internet. Unlike your mate’s dad (who likes Dire Straits and watches Top Gear, the bad prick) John Still’s ringtone is ‘Up the junction’ by the band Squeeze, who you’ll know by now.
It’s a kitchen sink drama of a pop song about a normal man (like you) falling in love with a girl (like you) on Clapham Common, working hard to start a family and then losing it all to the booze and the bookies, delivered in a lazy London monotone – never too high never too low.
Still’s a man that could appreciate the simple romance and heartbreak of an unglamorous, occasionally scandalous but essentially unfashionable tale of English life. He’s the type of soppy sod that could probably get a bit obsessed by it to be honest, to the point that he spends half his money following it to fucking Gateshead in the FA Trophy and getting tattoos of it on is calves. You know the type…
Without getting too maudlin and Scouse about the whole thing, I want to wish the man who got us back in the league the very best that life after Luton can offer, because a lot of us thought it was never going to happen. Plenty of half decent managers had a crack before John and were found wanting, or seething, and there’ll be plenty more coming down the road. We had a right old time of it for what seemed like a hell of a lot longer than a couple of years and for a while there Still squeezed something fairly special out of us soppy sods at Kenilworth Road and we’re all a little bit richer for it.
In the cold heart of the preseason bookmaker, Boxing Day against the Wanderers of Wycombe might have been touted as a promotion six-pointer, and the ridiculous thing about this league is that for two teams currently lying around the middle and bottom bits of the #EFLL2 or whatever it’s called today, it still could be.
So once I've finished Cointreauing the Cointreaullables, I for one intend to drag my increasingly seasonal Ian RopeNulterly Aris out of Christmas cabin fever and towards the beautifully lit star of wonder that is Kenilworth Road.
Everyone’ll be there. Even old Jake Howells.
Cheers, John, and g’on you Rip Roarin’.