Guide to Luton Town’s iconic stadium
Luton Town will mix it with the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool in the Premier League next season after winning the Championship play-off final on penalties against Coventry.
Neither Coventry or Luton were not expected to be in the picture for promotion from the Championship this season, but a brilliant story came to a climax when Luton – who were in League Two as recently as 2017/18 season – triumphed on spot kicks at Wembley.
Their rise in stature has seen football fans take keen notice of their unique home ground; Kenilworth Road. On aesthetic alone, it isn’t exactly the sort of stadium associated with the best players in the world, but will undoubtedly provide one of the best atmospheres in 2023/24.
Here is everything you need to know about Kenilworth Road, the home of Luton Town who will play in the Premier League next season.
Read more on the play-off hunt across the EFL
Luton’s arrival to the Premier League means another team from London or the surrounding area joining the top flight.
Luton is located in Bedfordshire, just north of London. A direct train from Luton will take you into the centre of London in 30-45 minutes, making it a very simple away trip for many teams in the division.
Kenilworth Road currently has a capacity of just 10,356 and is packed into the incredibly densely populated area of Bury Park. This is what led to the ground becoming something of a meme on social media, specifically the away end.
In order to enter the stadium as an away fan, as the picture shows, fans must essentially go through the ground floor of two Victorian terraced houses. The BBC recently interviewed locals about the stadium and the responses were overwhelmingly positive.
Hina Shafi, the Her Game Too ambassador for Luton, said: “I live 10 minutes away from the ground and it is honestly so amazing. Just the energy and vibe when you’re walking through Bury Park, the diversity increases and you just see so many individuals from different backgrounds.
“It’s literally as if you’re going through someone’s back garden. It’s not this prim and proper stadium as it would be in Wembley or London. It is what we are as a community and what Luton is.”
Getting promoted to the Premier League is one of the most lucrative things a club can do and there’s a reason why the Championship play-off final is known as the richest match in football.
For Luton, though, work at Kenilworth Ground will have to take place in order to make sure it’s up to the standard the Premier League sets. Similar thoughts were had about the Vitality Stadium when Bournemouth were promoted but their ground did comply with regulations.
It seems Luton will be allowed to play at Kenilworth Road next season in the Premier League, but only with some speedy investment over the summer.
It has been widely reported rather than just making money from getting to the Premier League, Luton will have to spend around £10m in order to improve facilities and get the stadium up to scratch.
It would be the smallest capacity ground in the Premier League but still above the minimum level required. Chief executive Gary Sweet has spoken about the possible expansion of Kenilworth Road in the past, saying: “It’s quite a heavy investment for football at that level for us and will firmly put us into the Premier League bracket.
“But just to be able to get [the ground] ready now, just for maybe two or three years, is maybe more of a gargantuan task than building a new stadium.”
As much as fans love Kenilworth Road and the major attention the ground is garnering right now, they have been trying to build a new stadium for a very long time.
Anything they do to Kenilworth Road would be temporary as they are trying to build a stadium at Power Court, which will be closer to the town centre. They were expected to be much closer to the move by now but the COVID-19 pandemic put the brakes on the project.
The £100m they get from gaining promotion to the Premier League would go a long way to accelerating the project. It can’t be ruled out that early home games in the Premier League would need to be deferred while building work continues, or they may need to organise a ground share.