Luton Town fans were finally able to watch their beloved club play at their home stadium on Tuesday night. The Hatters hosted League Two side Gillingham in a Carabao Cup fixture after stadium renovations finished. The hosts won the thrilling match 3-2 on their return to Kenilworth Road.
Premier League regulations forced the club to make significant alterations to its home arena following promotion to the Premier League this summer. Luton officials had to rebuild the Bobbers stand to comply with the top division’s media requirements. However, the renovations are not fully complete just yet. The new stand was at 75% capacity for their fixture versus Gillingham. Just under 9,500 fans were inside the stadium to watch the match.
Carabao Cup game a test run for games at Kenilworth Road
Luton CEO Gary Sweet has claimed that the cup match was a test ahead of a grueling Premier League campaign. “The cup tie and test event in the Bobbers represents a significant landmark in the development of this side of Kenilworth Road ahead of the planning for our first home game in the Premier League,” stated Sweet.
“Given the huge demands and the time and space constraints placed under us, we appreciate supporters’ patience in waiting for information.”
Stadium construction delayed Luton’s home opener against Burnley earlier in the month. The Hatters will, however, get the chance to host West Ham on Friday, September 1st.
Luton stand renovations only added hundreds of seats
Despite the massive changes to Kenilworth Road, the stadium only has a capacity of just over 11,300. This now means that Luton will narrowly not have the smallest ground in the Premier League. Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium currently holds a capacity of 11,307 fans.
The stand was impressively rebuilt in about three months. However, alterations helped broadcasters and league officials, rather than the fans. The $12 million stand has only added a few hundred seats underneath the massive media balcony above.
Nevertheless, Luton is still planning to build a new 23,000-seated stadium near the city’s center within the next three years. Assuming the Hatters remain in the top flight, this capacity would be situated between Burnley’s Turf Moor and Fulham’s Craven Cottage.
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