Hatters Heroes

Luton – The Legends Series – Paul Futcher

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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, Ian Buxton and Lars Elstrup, Peter Anderson and Graham French, Alan West, David Moss, Terry Branston and John Aston

The latest Hatter to be featured is Paul Futcher, as suggested by Matthew Walters.

As an impressionable teenager, it was always strikers that I looked up to, that is until Luton Town FC signed a defender who played the game like I’d never seen anyone, apart from on television, before.

Paul Futcher, even at a tender age, was a ball-playing defender, a player who was comfortable on the ball and someone who wasn’t afraid to bring the ball out of defence with an air of elegance.

Often he’d emerge, with the ball, from difficult defensive situations leaving you wonder just how he’d done it.

Signed from Chester City, in the summer of 1974, for the princely sum of £100,000 Paul was one half of a deal that also saw his twin brother, Ron, also become a Luton player, a previously published article – Unsung Heroes – carries my reflections on how Ron, a striker, performed for the Hatters.

Luton took a gamble in signing Paul after he’d made just 20 appearances for is home town club, but it was to be a gamble that paid massive dividends, Paul was to become a mainstay of the Luton defence and went on to make 131 league appearances, managing just a solitary league goal while with the Hatters.

But his cultured defensive displays were always going to attract interest from the bigger clubs, even more so with Paul winning 10 England U21 Caps.

Therefore, it came as no surprise when Luton Town sold Paul to Manchester City, in June 1978 for a fee of £350,000 which, at the time, was a record fee for a defender.

Unfortunately, Paul’s career didn’t flourish as much as expected at City and his tenure with the club lasted just over a year before he joined Oldham Athletic, for a much reduced fee of £150,000.

Regrettably, Paul never did make the full England team although he came close on a couple of occasions, but fate was to deal a cruel hand with Paul being forced, on each occasion, to withdraw courtesy of road accidents.

In his later career Paul went on to play for numerous clubs before a spell in management, but I can’t help wondering whether he really ever did fullfil that true potential he showed during his spell at Kenilworth Road.

Sadly, Paul passed away on 24-November-2016, aged just 60.

RIP – Paul Futcher

Paul Futcher – Mini Fact File

Name – Paul Futcher

Date of Birth – 25-September-1956

Place of Birth – Chester, England

Height – 6 feet 0 inches

Position – Centre Back

Career – Chester City, Luton Town, Manchester City, Oldham Athletic, Derby County, Barnsley, Halifax Town, Grimsby Town, Dundalk, Droylsden, Gresley Rovers, Southport

International Career – England U21

Managerial Career – Darlington, Gresley Town, Southport, Stalybridge Celtic, Ashton United

If you feel able to share any of your thoughts or memories on the Hatters career of Paul Futcher, 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 – John Ryan suggested by Trevor Bradley Walters


Previous article by Mad Hatter

Luton – Let’s Win This One For Alan Lads

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  • Andrew says:

    I heard the story that when the luton went to chester it was ti look at someone else and was told about Paul who was not even playing that night , so glad went to have a look at Paul, he was so cool on the ball never saw him rush anything . He could have and should have played for England. Coyh

  • Phillip Bassill says:

    Paul is the best player I have seen playing for The Hatters. His positional play and passing were outstanding. He was never quite as good after his car accident but he was still worthy of international recognition. Unfortunately things didn’t work out for him at Manchester City.
    I treasure the times I saw him play for LTFC.

  • Philip Carter says:

    I would like to propose Ray Whitaker who came to the fore laying on umpteen goals for John O’ Rou rke.As well as being an excellent left winger and an important member of Allan Brown’s Championship winning team of the 4th Division he was a brilliant penalty taker.

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