Hatters Heroes

Luton – The Legends Series – Gordon Turner

Image for Luton – The Legends Series – Gordon Turner

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 and Don Givens

In the latest of our ongoing legends series, we’re taking a look at the career of Gordon Turner, as suggested by both Geoff Wilson and Dave Howard.

Now, sadly, I can’t profess to having seen Gordon play for the Hatters as his spell with Luton Town began before I first ventured into the realms of supporting Luton Town.

However, my dad used to, quite often, regale me with tales of how prolific Gordon was in front of goal and I even got introduced to the man himself when he ran his sports shop, along with another Luton favourite, Wally Shanks.

Besides, how can somebody who is Luton Town’s record goal scorer not be included in our legends’ series?

Born in the Yorkshire town of Doncaster, football was in Gordon’s blood with his dad having played for Hull City.

His path to becoming a footballer was a strange one. Playing as a midfielder, Gordon, while doing National Service, was recommended to the then Luton manager, Dally Duncan, by two Royal Navy officers, Duncan himself was familiar with the Turner family having played alongside Gordon’s father at Hull City, a case of it being a small world.

Signed as an apprentice, in 1949, Gordon made his Luton debut in December 1950, but his Hatters career was to blossom the following season when he switched from playing in midfield to playing up front., the move was an enormous success with Gordon scoring a hat-trick in just his fourth game in his new role.

With Gordon becoming a prolific scorer, his 32 goals, in the 1954/1955 season, played a major part in the Hatters being promoted, for the first time ever, into the top-flight of English football.

However, despite being Luton’s most prolific scorer, he was to miss the 1959 FA Cup Final, against Nottingham Forest, our only ever appearance in an FA Cup Final. Having missed an earlier game, due to injury, a fit again Turner wasn’t selected for the final, if he had of played, could his presence and skills have changed the result, my late dad certainly thought so.

Gordon’s Luton career came to an end in April 1964, against Watford, he left the club with a remarkable 276 goals to his name, a figure that I see as being likely to stand, possibly, for ever.

One aspect of his career that forever puzzled my late dad was the fact he never got to show his skills in an England jersey, a crying shame he used to say.

After leaving Luton, Gordon, as previously mentioned, ran a sports shop, Shanks and Turner, first in Dunstable Road and then in the, now long-gone, West Side Centre.

Sadly, Gordon passed away at the young age of 46, after being struck down with Motor Neurone Disease at the age of 41.

Gordon Turner – Mini Fact File

Name – Gordon Reginald Turner

Date of Birth – 07-June-1930

Place of Birth – Doncaster, Yorkshire, England

Date of Death – 23-December-1976

Position – Forward

Playing Career – Luton Town, Wisbech Town, Kettering Town

If you feel able to share any of your thoughts or memories on the Hatters career of Gordon Turner, 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 – Brian Stein as suggested by Mad Hatter


Previous article by Mad Hatter

Luton – Support Breathe A Huge Sigh Of Relief

Share this article

Welcome To My Tea Party!


  • Dave Howard says:

    Thank you for running this piece. My Dad felt exactly the same: if Gordon Turner had played, we would have won the FA Cup in 1959!…oh well, there’s always next year!

  • Tony Byfield says:

    I have mentioned before Gordon scoring 4 goals against Sunderland (8-2).
    He was a brilliant finisher, don’t remember him being good in the air but put the ball in front of him and he would usually score,
    If he played today would have been snapped up by one of the big clubs for a good fee and high wage.

  • Billy says:

    A little bit before my time but I bought my first pair of football boots from Shanks and Turner in West Street Dunstable. They were like a pair of army boots with studs!!

  • Peter Walker says:

    Alan Slough and Jimmy Ryan must not be forgotten.
    Thank you
    Peter Walker
    Supporter since 1956

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *