England: 'The ball smashed my window' - what do Luton residents think of their stadium?

source: inews.co.uk; author: Kuba Kowalski

England: 'The ball smashed my window' - what do Luton residents think of their stadium? How do they live next to one of the world's most peculiar stadiums? The Premier League kicks off, and it includes an arena sandwiched between buildings about which not everything has yet been said. So let's give the floor to eyewitnesses.


"The club spends money on the stadium, look at my stairs".

Hidden among the red brick houses of Bedfordshire, Kenilworth Road Stadium is one of English football's most recognisable venues. While it may appear inconspicuous from the outside, its interior hides a lot of history. The entrance to the stadium leads through narrow streets, past fences and houses that have witnessed important moments in Luton Town FC's history. Many supporters describe the experience of entering the stadium like entering someone's house. Sam Cunningham, inews reporter, asked residents and passers-by about the details around the facility.

Grace went there with her 10-year-old son, Kang. We're going to try to get tickets to come here for the game, says Grace. I googled the gate at this place and thought it was really interesting, all these houses nearby and then all of a sudden the gate to the stadium and other people still living here. It's even next to the stairs where the fans enter the stand. How do they manage that?

Lucky, 39, whose home is adjacent to the arena, could have a lot to say on the subject. The club is spending all this money on the stadium, she says of the £10m refurbishment to help meet the Premier League's requirements for broadcasting matches. They could spend some money on my front steps. Look at them. Do they look nice? No. Talk to the people in Luton. It wouldn't cost a lot of money. That's my priority! Lucky doesn't complain about the fans, though. I don't mind when they play, he says. There are a lot of police here. Everyone is very friendly. Sometimes, when there's a game, it's very nice. I like all the people. Only some of the staff were very rude to my children. Very rude!

Oak Road© Nigel Cox

"The locals are used to the fans seeing them"

Abdul Ali grew up in one of the ground floor houses and still lives there with his family. He recalls footballs hitting their windows until they complained to the club and netting and sheeting was put in place. Other residents report rubbish thrown into their gardens, eggs thrown at their homes or bottles and cans left by their doors. It seems that fan behaviour in Luton has worsened, mirroring what happens at football matches across the country.

My dad used to come here to watch Middlesbrough in the 1970s and he would always tell me about how he had to go through people's houses to get to the pitch, - says Dan Pick, who arrived for the picture with his family, wife Rachel and children Sam and Sophia. It's a football facility that has always intrigued me, it has great character, he explains. Tight terraced housing and a pitch in the middle of it all. People who go through those turnstiles can look into the residents' gardens, so those residents must be used to the fans seeing them.

Kenilworth Road Stadium© Patrick Hendriksen

"You can see them hanging the wash out"

Some, on the other hand, appreciate the atmosphere of this cosy stadium and say they prefer such venues to larger and modern ones. Joel, a Norwich fan, said: I came here six months ago for a Norwich away game. I walked through the stand right there. I couldn't believe what I saw when I walked into the gates. It's a special place. I go to most of Norwich's away games. This one is by far the strangest. When you go through the gates, you literally walk out into someone's garden. You can see them laying out the laundry - it's really weird! I prefer these smaller - if I don't offend people - shabby stadiums, compared to these Old Trafford and Etihad stadiums. They're just different. There's a better atmosphere there.

How does the town of Luton itself function and is it safe there? Lodve Haugland and his wife Laila came here for a... holiday. The man has a recipe for a peculiar life in this bleak place. I have to say that people in Luton are very friendly. My wife was surprised that I wasn't afraid to walk the streets alone and I said never. I wasn't scared. I'm usually drunk too.