Q&A: Managing the Luton way

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The Independent Online
Q. In the 1959 FA Cup final, which Luton lost 2-1 to Nottingham Forest, Luton were led out on to the field by their chairman as they did not have a manager at the time. Who was the manager who took Luton to Wembley and what were the circumstances leading to his departure?

A. Luton had, in fact, reached Wembley without the supervision of a manager. Dally Duncan had left seven months earlier to take a job at Blackburn and, amazingly, the Board of Directors failed to appoint a replacement. An ad hoc committee of three directors, the trainer Frank King and the team captain Syd Owen was formed to look after team affairs.

Perhaps the most bizarre decision of all was to field the same 11 men for all cup ties, regardless of whether better players were available. This policy meant no place at Wembley for the club's goalscoring hero Gordon Turner, who had missed the third-round tie with Birmingham.

Luton's performance at Wembley was frankly a fiasco and it is clear the makeshift managerial arrangements started an alarming decline. From the glitter of Wembley and the First Division's top six, the Hatters slid straight down to the Fourth Division in five years. They were the first club to achieve this riches-to-rags feat. Fortunately, Allan Brown, Alec Stock and Harry Haslam came to the rescue and within a further 10 years the club had returned to the top flight. - Rob Hadgraft, London N3

Q. A crowd of 31,626 turned out for Paul Merson's testimonial between Arsenal and Tottenham at Highbury recently. What is the record for an attendance at such matches?

A. The record attendance for a testimonial is the crowd of 47,901 at Maine Road in 1964 for the Manchester City goalkeeper Bert Trautmann. The former German prisoner-of-war, who succeeded the great Frank Swift in 1949, played 545 League and cup games for City before retiring in 1964 and is perhaps best remembered for carrying on playing despite sustaining a broken neck in City's 3-1 victory over Birmingham City in the 1956 FA Cup final. - Adrian Bodkin, London N2

ANSWERS PLEASE

Q. Crystal Palace have reached the First Division play-off final and if they beat Leicester on 27 May, this will be the seventh promotion for Dave Bassett, their manager. Will this be a record? - Jack Lawton, Scunthorpe

Q. Eric Cantona was Manchester United's top scorer with just 14 goals. When was the last time the top Division champions had a lower leading scorer? - Jack Park, Harlow

Q. Preston North End won the 1995-96 Third Division Championship - scoring the most goals, achieving the Fair Play award by a wide margin and only losing six of the 46 League games played. However, Gary Peters, the club manager, did not achieve one Manager of the Month award and did not come in the first three for the Manager of the Year in his Division. Is this a record? - G T Carr, Preston

Q. University cricket seems to be in good shape this season with several centuries scored. In the modern era, which Oxford and Cambridge cricketers have gone straight into the England side? - Peter Allbright, Worcester

If you know the answers to any of these questions or have a question of your own, write to: Q & A, Sports Desk, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL.

Fax: 0171-293 2894

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