World News – GB – Ex-hatter David Oldfield considers himself ‘very lucky’ to have performed in ‘fantastic time’ for Luton


The hatter trio are back in training but Luton may not be on time for Stoke shock

Former Luton player David Oldfield said he was « very lucky » to have been at Kenilworth Road during arguably one of the best moments in club history

The midfielder was recruited as a teenager after being spotted at Stoke Goldington, with his breakthrough season 1987-88

This has turned out to be a year for the club, as with a host of well-known and international names in their ranks including Ricky Hill, Brian Stein and Mick Harford, Town finished ninth in Division 1, their most high ranking ever achieved the FA Cup semi-final and also won the Littlewoods Cup, beating Arsenal 3-2 at Wembley

Oldfield, who was at Wembley that day, said: « It’s one of those times when only looking back you realize how important it was and how strong this group was

« We were very happy because Kingsley (Black) was the same age as us, all these boys, there were young boys

« I was in the squad (for the cup final) but wasn’t part of the changed squad, but there are a few pictures of me with my fluffy hair

« This group reached the semi-final of the FA Cup that year, it was a good time, and I was very lucky to be involved in this

« There were also players like Danny Wilson, Mal Donaghy, Andy Dibble was brilliant that day, important players like Rob Johnson, Tim Breacker was there, David Preece was so important and Brian Stein was brilliant

« All of these players are still legends of Luton now, it was an absolutely great time, but a really good squad and a big learning curve for me as a young player

Oldfield’s first-team debut came in a game that probably would have escaped most Town fan memories by now, a 2-1 Simod Cup victory at Everton in February 1988, where he scored both goals

He continued: “I managed to score a few goals and nobody knew anything about me at the time and what he was saying in the program was ‘Oldfield, born in Perth, Australia’

« Everyone thought I was just from Australia, but I didn’t, but I was born there, it wasn’t the case that I just got signed , because I came as a child from Australia and grew up effectively in North Buckinghamshire

« It was great making your debut with so many strong and legendary Luton players on the squad, your Mick Harford, we all knew how strong a group it was »

Oldfield’s league debut wasn’t a memorable one either, in a 4-0 loss to Newcastle United in April, but his first full start for Town, just a week after the Cup victory, is definitely that one

Then on May 2 he was named in the 11th start to face fierce rival Watford at Kenilworth Road, scoring the opening goal in the 2-1 win, with Danny Wilson getting the other from the penalty spot

With no streaks available, Oldfield has yet to see the goal since that day, as he continued: “I managed to score against Watford at home, it’s still a big game so I was very lucky

« It was shortly after the cup victory, I think Brian (Stein) was injured or was not available and I played because of it

« Haven’t seen it since, someone pointed out to me a few years ago that it wasn’t there, but from memory it was a touch and a volley at a narrow angle , I think Tony Coton was in goal and he just walked in « 

This led to a run of stellar form for Oldfield as he started the last six games and scored goals at Anfield and City Ground in 1-1 draws with Liverpool and Nottingham Forest

Speaking of running flawlessly to pass Bruce Grobbelaar at Kop End, he said: “This goal is still in my memory

« I was very lucky at the end of the season, I had the opportunity to play and manage to score a few goals

« I have four children, two are older and two are younger, my oldest son mentioned this to my youngest who couldn’t believe I did because Liverpool are obviously so good at it. moment

Although Oldfield moved to Luton when David Pleat was at the helm, it was actually Ray Harford who made his first-team debut

It wasn’t just these two who had a big impact on his career, with club legend John Moore receiving special praise as well

Oldfield said, “He (Moore) is definitely a very important character for a lot of us and for me.

« John was caring, strong, disciplined, tactical, really sensitive to the reality of the game and really helped me throughout

« He was determined to be a person who really made us understand how hard we have to work and how dedicated we have to be in trying to reach our potential

«  » I remember joining Luton as a kid, thinking I was okay, but realizing very quickly that I couldn’t really play and I had to work on my touch and that I had to really work on my game

« John Moore and David Pleat were very influential in this, whereas they (Pleat and Harford) were very progressive, very avant-garde

« They wanted to play and pass, wanted to be aware of tactics, they were good coaches, good managers and knew what they wanted and were very influential in the squad

« I know the senior boys really liked them and worked really hard and I know it was a strong group full of very good people

Oldfield played much of the following season, scoring in 21 league games, and was also called up to England U21s for a 1-1 draw with Sweden at Coventry City in October 1988, replacing Jason Dozzell for the second half

It was then sold to Manchester City for £ 650,000 in March 1989, a fairly high amount at the time

Asked about the price pressures, he said: “It was a pretty large sum, certainly for the time, but I think I was too naive to worry about it.

« Certainly when I went to Manchester City I didn’t mind at all, I hardly thought about it

« I was just trying to make sure I was as good as the other boys and trying to work as hard as I could, money wasn’t a problem, but probably because I was too naive to think about it

« I had been fortunate enough to get an offer from Norwich and finally decided not to go, I decided to stay at Luton and then a little later Manchester City and West Ham are entered at the same time

« I spoke to John Lyall at West Ham and was very impressed with them, but I was really happy to go to City, it was such a big club and there were a lot of youngsters players at the time

« I was very sad to leave Luton however, every time someone now asks me who I support it is definitely Luton as I was there from 14 years old it was sad to leave , but it was also an exciting time to join City « 

At City, Oldfield will always have legendary status for his role in the 5-1 pounding of rival Manchester United at Maine Road in September 1989

He said: « I am very lucky that this game is remembered because I don’t think City beat United for a little while afterwards and it was a big result »

His stay in Manchester was short-lived, he went to Leicester City in 1990 to reunite with his former boss Pleat, responsible for Filbert Street

Oldfield said: « The manager has changed, Howard Kendall has come in and wanted to bring a lot of former Everton players to City,

« I was involved in one of the swap deals to take someone (Wayne Clarke) from Leicester, and David Pleat was really, really important in that deal, I was delighted to bond with him

« I wasn’t there with him for very long, we struggled a bit, but Leicester were a great club which also had a lot of potential and I enjoyed my time at Leicester very much »

After five years with the Foxes, Oldfield returned to Luton in 1995, with Town spending £ 150,000, because although he scored 11 league goals that season, the Hatters finished 24th in the Premier League, relegated at the third floor

He said: “Before Bosman I had left Leicester for a long time without a contract, we couldn’t agree and in the end Luton arrived and I was happy to come back to Luton


« It was a club that was close to my heart and it was good to be back, we were a little lower in the league, but it was a very good group of players like Graham Alexander, Steve Davis, Marv (Johnson) was there , so it was good to be back then « 

Oldfield almost played a major role in Town to return to second tier in the 1997 play-offs, he scored three times in both matches for Crewe, only for Luton to lose 2-1 away and then make a match draw 2-2 at home

He said: « It was tough, we probably should have done better in all honesty, but it was a tough time

« I remember Lennie Lawrence was in charge at the time, he was a good manager, he knew what he was doing and he was a good leader around us

« We certainly got closer, but we didn’t do enough and it was a disappointing time for the play-offs, absolutely »

Oldfield had 10 goals the following season, before leaving for the last time with 178 appearances and 32 goals under his belt, moving on to today’s opponent Stoke City to join his old one again Leicester coach Brian Little

« Brian walked in and it was the size of the club, as much as the Brian Little factor

« We started off really well in Stoke, we had a great start, but we wilted a bit and Brian hasn’t been there for a very long time, but that was a factor

« One of the things I learned from going to these clubs is not the size of the football club, the passion of the supporters and the dynamism of the supporters are exactly the same

« The only difference is that in some of the so-called bigger clubs there are a few more, but I know that Luton fans are just as passionate as any other fan of these so- saying big clubs

« It was really the Brian factor and the opportunity to sign a longer term contract at my age that drew me up there and Stoke was a really good club

« We had a really good group of players there, it was a good environment to get into, a bit of a transition for the football club and there were some great times afterwards they managed to get promoted and stay in the Premier League for a long time

« We were a little lower back then, but it was important for me and all the players who were there, it was an honor to play for the club »

When with the Potters, he managed to score one of his seven goals in 74 appearances against Luton at Victoria Ground, adding: « I remember Kelvin (Davis) was in the goal and I spoke to Kelv not long ago he is doing well in Southampton

« I managed to score in Stoke, it was a little on one and I just managed to get there before him »

Stoke City FC, Luton Town FC, EFL Championship, Nathan Jones, Michael O’Neill, EFL Cup

World news – UK – Former hatter David Oldfield considers himself  » very lucky ”to have played in a“ fantastic time ”for Luton


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