Luton Heroes

Luton – The Legends Series – Brian Horton

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For the latest in our ongoing series covering those who have achieved legendary status among the support, we feature another former player nominated by myself.

Following on from those already covered – John Moore, David Preece, Mal Donaghy, Brian Lewis, Bruce Rioch and Fred Jardine, the latest to be selected in what is fast becoming a Hall of Fame comprised of Luton legends, is none other than Brian Horton

When it comes to football, it is fair to say that Brian Horton is one of a select breed having made 689 appearances as a player and in his managerial roles, at numerous clubs, taking charge for a colossal 1098 matches.

During his playing career, Horton was on the books, at Kenilworth Road, during the period 19811984.

Brought to the club, by David Pleat, Horton was brought in as the replacement for Alan West, who left the club to sign for Millwall, but they were two very different midfield players.

Horton was a physical, tenacious player, capable of winning the ball back, adding some aggression to the Luton midfield and was a natural leader.

Indeed, on signing for the Hatters, those attributes saw David Pleat give Horton the captaincy and played him in a midfield trio that, in my opinion ranks as one of the best we’ve had, a trio of Brian Horton, Ricky Hill and Lil Fuccillo.

Horton proved to be an inspired signing captaining the Hatters to the Division 2 title in 1981/1982, a season that will live long in our memories.

Led by Horton, Luton won the title 8 points clear of their nearest rivals and a massive 18 points clear of the fourth placed team, an indication of just how dominant we were that season.

Indeed, such was the Hatters dominance, when it came to naming the PFA Division 2 Team of the Year, Horton, Ricky Hill, David Moss and Kirk Stephens were all included.

But, having been promoted, Luton found life a lot tougher in the top flight and had to rely on that famous, last-day, win at Maine Road, against Manchester City, to survive, courtesy of that goal from Raddy Antic that sent the large travelling support into raptures.

It’s interesting to note that following the win against Manchester City, Horton was out of contract but despite having some offers on the table, chose to sign a new 2-year contract with Luton Town.

Sadly, Horton was to leave Kenilworth Road at the end of the 1983/1984 season, having made 131 appearances for the Hatters and scoring 14 goals, with the midfielder joining Hull City.

In summing Brian up, let’s just say he’d be one of my Luton choices I’d want by me in the trenches if the need arose.

After hanging up his boots, Horton went on to enjoy a long managerial career which, among others, included a spell at Manchester City.

As an indication of just how much David Pleat valued Brian Horton, watch the video (below) of that historic day at Maine Road, courtesy of those fine chaps at LUTON VIDS and watch, after Pleat’s jog of delight, just who he ran to first.

Brian Horton – Mini Fact File

Name – Brian Horton

Date of Birth – 4th February 1949

Place of Birth – Hednesford, England

Height – 5 Feet 10 Inches

Position – Midfielder

Youth Career – Walsall

Career – Hednesford Town, Port Vale, Brighton and Hove Albion, Luton Town, Hull City

Managerial Career – Hull City, Oxford United, Manchester City, Huddersfield Town, Brighton and Hove Albion, Port Vale, Macclesfield Town (2 spells)

If you feel able to share any of your thoughts on the Hatters career of Brian Horton, please feel free to do so in the comment facility beneath this article.

If you can think of anyone who deserves nominating for coverage in this ongoing series, please drop their name into the comment facility beneath this article.

My thanks go to those who have already nominated faces from the past, they will all be covered, in time.

Next up in the series will be – Kevin Nicholls suggested by Mad Hatter


Previous article by Mad Hatter

Luton – West Side Adventures #2 – The Dutchman

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