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  • Writer's pictureOliver Kay

26th January 2013 - Norwich City 0 - 1 Luton Town : What happened to these historic hatters?

When Luton Town beat Norwich City in the FA Cup 4th Round in 2013, Paul Buckles' Hatters had made history at Carrow Road. This was the first time in the Premier League era, since all the money flowed into the top level of professional football, where a top division team were beaten by a team in non league. To add further significance to this achievement, this had not happened on a top tiers sides turf since Altrincham beat Birmingham City at St. Andrews in 1986. With this victory and passage into the 5th round of the FA Cup, Luton Town had become only the seventh non-league team since football resumed post World War II to progress to the 5th round. It was truly some achievement, and today we celebrate the 10th anniversary of this monumental achievement, and look furthermore we look forward to a 4th round tie on Saturday, but this time as one of the leading teams competing in the Championship after an incredible climb up the Football pyramid, in just a decade. To get to the fourth round in the 2012/2013 season, we entered the FA Cup during the fourth qualifying round, which is completely different from the third round entry that we have recently grown accustomed to. We beat Cambridge, a fellow non-league exile, 2-0 on their home turf. Before being taken to a replay by Nuneaton Town, which we won 2-0, also on their home turf. We then came up against the mighty Dorchester Town, who we beat 2-1 at the Kenny in front of 3,287 Hatters. Then came the first big ask, we were welcoming Championship Wolverhampton Wanderers to the Kenny. In front of 9,638 fans, Alex Lawless rocked the Kenny with a truly fantastic strike, after John Shaw capitalised on a poor Kevin Foley clearance, 1-0 to the Hatters. Thanks Kev. Wolves then sacked Stale Solbakken hours after the match. Then came Norwich and the game, here are some extended highlights. We were truly the underdogs. Norwich had a solid team, certainly more than we should have been able to handle. Amongst their ranks was a young Harry Kane, on yet another loan away from Spurs, before breaking into their first team, former Hatter Leon Barnett and Russell Martin (now the manager of Swansea). But who was in the Luton team that historic day, and what are they up to now? Mark Tyler After a mammoth 413 games for Peterborough United, Mark Tyler was not done. At the ripe age of 32, Tyler strapped the gloves back on and played another 297 games for the Hatters, playing for us throughout our non league tenure and staying with the Hatters back into our League 2 days, eventually leaving Nathan Jones' Luton, to go back to Peterborough as a goalkeeping coach, which is where he currently is. Lathaniel Rowe-Turner LRT linked back up with former Torquay manager Paul Buckle at Luton Town playing 37 times, as soon as John Still came in at Luton he immediately played LRT on the transfer list. After leaving Luton he played for Alfreton Town, Kidderminster, and worked his way down the leagues where he currently plays Stourbridge in the Southern League Premier Division.

Greg Taylor

Taylor was signed on loan initially by Gary Brabin from Darlington, with the move being made permanent after impressing after 5 games, however, Brabin would not be around at Luton much longer. He played 29 games for Luton and Buckle left the club in the weeks after the Norwich victory, John Still wanted to keep him in the team, but Taylor wanted a move to promotion rivals Mansfield. Greg Taylor is still playing for League 1 Cambridge United, where he has played 311 games.

Janos Kovacs

The towering centre back was a cult figure at Luton Town over his two stints with the club. First signed after his contract was terminated by mutual consent by Lincoln, after one season with the Hatters he left for Hereford on a free transfer, before returning to Luton on an emergency loan, after which he was released by Hereford and Gary Brabin snapped him up on a free. Finally after a total of 91 appearances across his three stints with Luton, he was released on a free, and moved to Budapest Honved. Now aged 37, I believe he's retired now.

Ronnie Henry

He was a robust right back that led us back into League 2 as club captain. Often remembered for having words with a fan, but that was a catalyst that started to bind the club together in the long term. After joining us from Stevenage, he went onto make 87 appearances for the Hatters and then left to go back to Stevenage where he became their all time record holder. As age caught up with him he started moving down the leagues, with his last club being Royston Town in 2021.

Jake Howells I'm a big fan of Jake Howells, he has a cultured left foot, took a great penalty and was a product of our youth system. Having made 334 appearances for the Town he always represented the club with his full heart. Unfortunately his emergence into our team as a highly regarding 17 year old coincided with our slide down the league, and I feel he gave us his best years, when he was linked to teams in better positions at the time. He lasted a long time, eventually being released by Nathan Jones having played under 6 managers at the club in an 8 year period with the first team. Howells recently retired after stints with Hemel Hempstead, Kings Langley and Berkhamstead FC.

Alex Lawless

Lawless originally joined Luton Town on loan from York who were our bitter conference rivals at the time, initially on loan with a view to a permanent deal. Initially Lawless wasn't a fan favourite, but after the 2012/2013 season he was firmly a fan favourite shown by being voted the fans player of the year. He was also voted the FA player of the round for his 3rd round heroics against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Lawless became a mainstay of our team, until injuries started catching up with him in the 2014/15 season. Eventually his contract wasn't renewed and he left us at the end of the 2015/16 season with 203 games played and 22 goals, moving onto Yoevil and Leyton Orient and since rejoining Luton as an Academy coach.

Arnaud Mendy Mendy joined Luton Town on loan in October 2012 from Macclesfield, who were also in the National League, before the transfer was made permanent in January 2013. However, when John Still came into the club, Mendy was one of the many that was placed on the transfer list as surplus to requirements. He departed for Lincoln having made 29 appearances for the Hatters, before winding down his career moving around various non league clubs including; Whitehawk, Hemel Hempstead and Welling United.

Jonathan Smith

The incredibly combative midfielder was a firm fan favourite over his 176 games for Luton Town, which is a remarkable number of games considering the horrendous leg break he suffered in the 2-1 win over Barnet. Another player that was signed from York on loan initially and then signed permanently, Smudge won the 2014/15 players' player of the year and Fans' player of the year showing how crucial he was in the midfield engine room. His longevity for Town was impressive too, as he was in the squad for the playoff semi final heartbreak against Blackpool, before being transfer listed by Nathan Jones to aid his squad overhaul prior to the 2017/18 season.

Jon Shaw

Oh Jon Shaw. A player that was so prolific for Gateshead in the National League, but when we eventually signed him he just didn't put up the numbers for us, with 51 games played and only 10 goals. For us he mainly was an impact sub, with little impact. After two seasons with Luton he was packed off back to Gateshead, and he's played for a few other teams in the lower leagues up in the North East, since leaving Gateshead he played for South Shields and now plays for Dunston in the Northern Premier League.

Andre Gray

Without doubt the player from this historic giant killing team, who had the best career. After impressing against Luton in an FA Trophy tie for Hinckley, he was brought in initially on loan before the transfer was made permanent, after impressive the clubs' backroom staff in 9 games at the back end of the 2011/12 season, with 5 goals in 9 games. He was a proper athlete, rapid and had a good finish on him. After our playoff final defeat to York, Gray signed permanently for a fee of £30,000, which was money well spent, considering Gray was vital in firing us to the National League title a few years later under John Still. After achieving promotion he was sold to Brentford for a figure significantly larger than what we paid with additional add ons. He then moved from Brentford to Burnley for a club record deal (£6m), and then to Watford again for a club record deal (£17m). He has since been released by Watford and now plays his football for Aris Thessaloniki in Greece.

From the Bench

JJ O'Donnell

He will always be remembered for that incredible run and ball into Scott Rendell. JJ was an incredibly rapid winger, that didn't really find that consistency at Luton Town, with constant loans to other teams further down the pyramid. He did manage to play 51 times in all competitions for the Hatters, contributing 3 goals. Since leaving Luton he moved to the North East to play for Gateshead, and now at the age of 31 is playing for Blyth Spartans.

Scott Rendell

Scorer of the goal that made the historic giant killing possible. Signed from Wycombe for an undisclosed fee, he played 46 games, scoring 12 goals. He didn't feature in John Stills' plans and was shopped around for trials with Woking and Torquay before Woking snapped him up. Interestingly he sustained a knee injury which Woking fans raised £10,000 to help him pay for the procedure, but then he joined their bitter rivals Aldershot Town, and delighted in frequently scoring against Woking. That's a shame. He currently plays for AFC Totton in the Southern League Division One South.

Stuart Fleetwood

Once compared by Gary Brabin to Robert Pires, Stuart Fleetwood joined Luton from Hereford for an undisclosed fee in August 2011, and struggled to score regularly, because Brabin insisted on playing him as a winger. Paul Buckle started playing Fleetwood as a striker and the goals started to flow. However, upon John Still joining the club he was another player that didn't make the grade so he was released at the end of the 2012/13 season moving to join Eastleigh. He has gone onto play for Sutton United, Bath City, Methyr Town, Swindon Supermarine and currently plays his football for Cinderford Town in the Southern League Division One south.

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