Hatters Heroes

Luton – The Legends Series – Brian Stein

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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 Luton figure who became a fans favourite.

Following on from those already covered – John Moore, David Preece, Mal Donaghy, Brian Lewis, Bruce Rioch, Fred Jardine, Brian Horton, Kevin Nicholls, Tony Read, Steve Foster, Mike Keen, Ian Buxton, Lars Elstrup, Peter Anderson, Graham French, Alan West, David Moss, Terry Branston, John Aston, Paul Futcher, John Ryan, Syd Owen, Marvin Johnson, Malcolm MacDonald, Bob Hatton, Steve Buckley,Chris Coyne, Ron Baynham, John Still, Jack Bannister, Ricky Hill, Chris Nicholl, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, Don Givens and Gordon Turner

In the latest of our ongoing legends series, we’re taking a look at the career of Brian Stein, as suggested by Mad Hatter.

Brian Stein was an icon at Kenilworth Road, the South African born striker was a mainstay in many a Luton side, making 496 appearances for the Hatters between 1977 and 1978, before returning to the club for a second spell in 1991.

Signed from the non-league side, Edgware Town, in 1977, Harry Haslam certainly unearthed a rare talent on the recommendation of a certain David Pleat, then employed as Luton’s reserve team coach.

During those aformentioned 496 appearances, Brian scored 154 goals and sits third in the all-time Hatters top-scorers list, behind Andy Rennie (162 goals) and Gordon Turner (276 goals).

Originally a winger, Brian came into his own when he was switched to a more central position. His pace was somewhat deceptive, he often looked as if he was running through toffee but was rarely dispossesed by the opposition.

During his early days at Kenilworth Road, Stein improved his game playing alongside the legend that was Bob Hatton and then being the perfect partner for Steve White as the Hatters clinched the old Division Two title in 1981/1982.

With Luton’s top-flight status assured, Brian was to have a new partner alngside him leading the attack, the exciting Paul Walsh.

In the 1982/1983 season, Stein showed his class, as a David Pleat inspired team produced numerous attacking displays, with many Luton supporters, including myself, remembering his two classic goals, at Anfield, as Luton drew 3-3 with Liverpool.

Sadly, Stein broke his foot, in December of that season, but returned for the memorable, everything at stake game, away to Manchester City on the last day of the season.

Indeed, it was Stein who supplied the cross for Raddy Antic to slide home the only goal of the game to preserve Luton’s top-flight status and condemn Manchester City to relegation to the second tier of English football.

One memorable aspect of that era was the sight of Stein and Walsh, both Luton players, leading the England attack in an international fixture, in Paris, against France.

With Walsh destined for bigger things, moving to Liverpool, Brian was to then form a formidable aprtnership with another Luton legend, Mick Harford. It was a period in which Brian was to witness his finest hour, scoring two goals, including the late winner, against Arsenal, in the 1988 League Cup Final.

Sadly, Brian left Kenilworth Road for a spell in French football, playing for Caen and then Annecy. However, he returned to Luton for a second spell in the 1991/1992 season, but although he was an automatic starting XI choice, his goals dried up and he scored on just 3 occasions, with a move to Barnet following.

However, Brian was to have a third spell with Luton, returning in 2000 to take up a post of reserve team coach. In 2004 he was promoted to assitant manager, working alongside Mike Newell and, after Newell was removed from office, became caretaker manager, a position he held for just one game, a home fixure against Ipswich Town that saw Luton slip to a 2-0 defeat.

With Kevin Blackwell appointed as the new gaffer, Stein’s association with Luton ended at the end of the 2006/2007 season when the new boss brought in his own backroom staff.

Brian Stein – Mini Fact File

Name – Brian Stein

Date of Birth – 19-October-1957

Place of Birth – Cape Town, South Africa

Position – Forward

Youth Career – Edgeware Town

Playing Career – Luton Town, Caen, Annecy, Luton Town, Barnet, St Albans City

International Career – England U21, England

Managerial Career – Luton Town (caretaker)

If you feel able to share any of your thoughts or memories on the Hatters career of Brian Stein, 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 – Jesse Pye as suggested by Alan Seymour


Previous article by Mad Hatter

Two More Former Luton Town Players Join New Clubs

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