Midfielder MICHAEL LEARY spent five years with the Hatters after coming through the ranks at Kenilworth Road and joined the Mariners in 2009, spending two seasons at Blundell Park.
The versatile ADRIAN FORBES enjoyed a successful time with the Hatters, winning the Division Three Title in 2002, having joined Luton from Norwich for £65,000, he later moved to Blundell Park in January 2009.
There are several long-serving players who have turned out for both of tonight’s two teams. Northern Ireland International KINGSLEY BLACK has the unusual distinction of winning at Wembley with both sides, having tasted success in the League Cup for Luton in 1988 and then ten years later with the Mariners in the Auto Windscreens Shield.
Defender PAUL FUTCHER spent four years with the Hatters in the mid-70s after being plucked from Chester, before being sold in a big-money move to Manchester City. Futch arrived at Blundell Park in 1990, having been languishing in Halifax’s reserve side. The veteran enjoyed a swansong with the Mariners and was selected for Football League duty, amongst other honours.
Another popular centre half at Blundell Park was current Football In The Community Officer GRAHAM RODGER who moved directly from Kenilworth Road in 1992. A towering presence at the back for the Mariners, Grez scored plenty of goals and captained the side before injury ended his career in 1998. He later want onto be assistant manager and then spent a spell in charge of the club in 2006.
A real fan favourite at Blundell Park was striker MATT TEES who enjoyed two prolific spells with the club. Leaving the East Coast in the mid-60s for Charlton, Matt returned ‘home’ in 1971 after a successful two-year spell with the Hatters. Matt is still a revered figure amongst Mariners fans and often takes in games at Blundell Park.
Loan star CALVIN ANDREW joined Russell Slade’s side from Luton in August 2005 and scored his solitary goal for the club in a win at Barnet. Other loanees to have played for both clubs include MORTEN HYLDGAARD, STEVE KABBA and JUDE STIRLING.
Striker TONY THORPE enjoyed four successful spells with the Hatters and scored a hatful of goals for the club. Arriving at Blundell Park in September 2006, the veteran frontman saw his spell with the Mariners halted by injury and illness.
With a defensive crisis at Blundell Park, former Hatters’ boss LENNIE LAWRENCE signed ALAN NEILSON from Fulham on a short-term deal in October 2001. The Welsh International later moved to Kenilworth Road where he is a member of the Hatters’ backroom staff.
Other players to have turned out for both of today’s clubs include PAUL HOLSGROVE, LEE NOGAN, MICK CULLEN, TOMMY WRIGHT, TONY KNIGHTS, MARC NORTH, MICK SAXBY and HORACE WALLBANKS.
It would be difficult to forget the dynamic managerial duo of MIKE NEWELL and BRIAN STEIN who are largely responsible for these two teams meeting in the Conference for tonight’s fixture.