Lessons from EURO 2024: Bigger isn’t always better, roll on the return of football at the Kenny

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EURO 2024 is fast approaching its end; it might be a blessed relief for football purists. Overall, it has been a tournament short of quality and lacking in genuine excitement.

Spain the exception to the rule

Perhaps the one exception to this unflattering review might be Spain who arrived in Germany bursting with life and looking like none of their players had just come off the back of an arduous nine-month season. To that end, it is unsurprising to see that the latest EURO 2024 winner odds list La Roja as the outright favourites to win the competition at 15/8.

Tellingly, it is a view backed up in the most recent EURO 2024 tips with the experts also not able to see a way past an energetic Spanish team.

While the Spanish might be deserving of praise for their performances in Germany, they are very much the exception and not the rule. Indeed, for the rest, it has been a sweltering summer slog that hasn’t been easy on the eye.

Does Germany’s world-class infrastructure produce lifeless games?

At least, consider that France reached the semis of EURO 2024 without scoring a goal from open play and that England twice required 120 minutes of football to beat the likes of Slovakia and Switzerland. It’s hard to remember a tournament in history where football has looked as exhausting as this one.

As for why this might have been the case, the enormous airless roofed stadiums in Germany haven’t helped and have instead, sucked the life out of contests owing to poor ventilation.

Those stadiums without roofs in Germany, like the Olympiastadion in Berlin, also do little to generate an atmosphere due to the huge athletics track that separates the crowd from the players.

The bottom line is that these stadiums, which are architectural marvels, aren’t always better as they lack charm and a certain quirkiness that football grounds need to get the best out of players. These are, of course, two traits that Kenilworth Road has in abundance.

Kenilworth Road: a proven recipe for chaos

For Luton Town fans, the return of the football season means a chance to return to this iconic ground with a capacity of just 12,000.

Luton’s first home fixture of the 2024/2025 season will be against fellow relegated club Burnley on Monday, August 12th.

On this mid-August evening, this small patch of Bury Park in Luton will provide the backdrop to what is likely to be an end-to-end game. This is so often the case at Kenilworth Road as the intimate setting jolts players into life.

It is a throwback to a bygone era where every passing quip and chant can be heard from the terraces. Being privy to the crowd’s thoughts typically evokes a strong reaction from players and ensures a hold-onto-your-hats type of affair.

Luton boss Rob Edwards will be hoping that this lively environment will assist his charges in making an immediate return to the Premier League.

While only time will tell if the Hatters will be celebrating promotion in the spring of 2025, one thing is certain: small grounds demand that players show their character.

It has been a summer of slow football but that is about to change as Luton edge closer to the start of their Championship campaign at the Kenny.

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