Luton Town: The squad assembled for less than £5m dreaming of a 'transformational' promotion

  • ITV News Anglia's Andy Ward looks back at Luton's incredible journey

Promotion to the Premier League would have a "transformational" effect on Luton Town, according to a respected football finance expert.

The Hatters defied the odds to reach the Championship play-offs this season, despite having one of the smallest budgets in the division.

They will play the first leg of their semi-final against Huddersfield Town in front of a sell-out crowd at Kenilworth Road on Friday evening, before heading to Yorkshire for the return leg on Monday.

Luton's achievement is made all the more remarkable when you consider that their squad cost just £4.9m to assemble, compared to second-placed Bournemouth who shelled out £198m to put theirs together.

  • Watch an extended interview with Kieran Maguire

"What Luton have achieved is absolutely incredible in the sense that there are clubs in that division who have squads that are worth almost £200m," football finance expert Kieran Maguire told ITV News Anglia.

"The club generates less money than the vast majority of clubs in the Championship; it certainly pays out less money in wages. The average wage in the Championship is around £15,000 a week; Luton's is probably about £6,000."

That disparity in wages is perhaps best illustrated by the startling fact that Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrović has reportedly been taking home more than £100,000 a week this season, a figure that is likely to be more than Luton are paying their entire starting eleven.

The Hatters also generate significantly less income than the vast majority of clubs in the league, bringing in £12m during the 2020/21 campaign.

Luton Town boss Nathan Jones has worked wonders at Kenilworth Road. Credit: PA

Luton's bargain buys

How much did the team that faced Reading cost?

Goalkeeper - Matt Ingram (loan, Hull City)

Defenders - Reece Burke (free, Hull City), Sonny Bradley (free, Plymouth Argyle), Kal Naismith (free, Wigan Atheltic), James Bree (nominal fee, Aston Villa), Amari'i Bell (free, Blackburn Rovers)

Midfielders - Allan Campbell (compensation fee, Motherwell), Henri Lansbury (free, Bristol City), Jordan Clark (free, Accrington Stanley)

Strikers - Cameron Jerome (free, MK Dons), Harry Cornick (undisclosed fee, Bournemouth)

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To put that in perspective, only Coventry City, Preston North End and Millwall generated less, while Bournemouth's income was £76m.

With a place in the Premier League worth a minimum of £100m, promotion would bring with it a huge cash injection for Luton that would not only allow them to strengthen their squad, but also help with infrastructure projects off the pitch - such as their proposed new stadium at Power Court.

"I think it (promotion) would be transformational in terms of the opportunities it will give that club," said Mr Maguire.

"We'd be going from Luton being a £12m club, to realistically, we'd expect them to be closer to £120m in the Premier League because they'd be able to sign other deals on top of that.

"If some of that money is allocated for the infrastructure projects, in terms of the new stadium, it will assist the club, although in my dealings with people at the club, they never count their chickens and they do have an aim for the new stadium to be built - regardless of where Luton are next season."

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