Hatters Heroes

Luton – The Legends Series – Lars Elstrup

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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 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 and Steve Foster, Mike Keen and Ian Buxton

The latest Hatter to be featured is Lars Elstrup, as suggested by David Howard.

Lars was only on the books of Luton Town FC between 1989 and 1991 but his feats will be long remembered, also, post his Hatters career, some research shows that he was a complex character.

Elstrup signed for Luton Town on 21-August 1989, with the club paying a record fee to the Danish club, Odense. The fee was £850,000 which, at the time, was a record for Luton Town.

During is time at Kenilworth Road, Elstrup made 60 league appearances, spanning two seasons, and netted on 19 occasions with his goals being sufficient to ensure Luton Town retained their top flight status.

But just as it looked as if Lars was going to establish himself as a permanent fixture in English football, news broke through that he had been sold with the Danish international striker moving back to Odense.

The fee, despite Luton Town paying a club record for his services, of £850,000, was a mere £200,000, it was a fee that was difficult to comprehend as he’d shown his scoring prowess with the Hatters and should, most probably, have made the club a profit.

After returning to Odense, the Hatters fall from grace started and the club were relegated, but Elstrup continued to hit the net, regularly, notching another 24 goals before it all started to turn strange.

Although proving to be a success, in 1993 the forward suddenly announced his retirement, declaring that he felt he was living under the expectation of others and it was damaging his body and mind.

But the complex life of the Dane was to take another couple of twists, clearly seeking inner peace he joined a religious sect, he spent six years, adopting the name of Darando, before leaving, in yet more strange circumstances, after being arrested for striking a child.

In January 2000, Elstrup was tempted to make a comeback but did not pursue it after the club that were hankering after him refused to pay him for the trial.

The striker will always be remembered fondly by the Hatters faithful, his eye for a chance and his clinical finishing, were always going to endear him to the support and I still wonder if his departure, after those two seasons, majorly contributed to our top-flight relegation.

Please feel free to watch the following video compilation, courtesy of LUTON VIDS that showcases the Luton Town career of Lars:

Lars Elstrup – Mini Fact File

Name – Lars Dahl Elstrup

Date of Birth – 24-March-1963

Place of Birth – Raby, Denmark

Height – 5 feet 11 and a half inches

Position – Striker

Youth Career – IF Fjorden i Havndal

Career – Randers Freja, Brondby IF, Feyenoord, Odense BK, Luton Town, Odense BK

International Career – Denmark

If you feel able to share any of your thoughts or memories on the Hatters career of Lars Elstrup, 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 – Peter Anderson suggested by Alan R


Previous article by Mad Hatter

Luton – The Great EFL Championship Play-Off Place Poll Result

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  • Philip Carter says:

    Can I nominate Terry Branston as a legend and captain of the 1968 team.

    I have a photograph of my son running out with Lars Elstrup when he was chosen as a mascot for the home game with Spurs

  • jimbo says:

    terry branston and supermac, my all time favourites.mike harrison was quick on the wing, but he would pull one of his massive leg muscles. happy days. COYH.

  • Tony Byfield says:

    Remember a great hatrick Elstrup scored away ay Norwich, at least two assists by Steve Williams.

  • Dave Howard says:

    Thank you for that. A marvellous player, but a complex character. Psychological issues seem to have dogged his post-football life. I believe he may have also been charged with public nudity, and streaking.

    I think David Pleat wanted to extend his contract, but he wanted more than the Club could afford, and he never felt really settled in the UK.

    They used to say “you’ll never beat Des Walker”, but Lars did, on more than one occasion!

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