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  • Rob Butterfield

I USED TO WALK JOHN MOORE'S DOG

My claim to fame with a local legend.


Hatters Legend John Moore. Photographer unknown.

Those of you who are fans of the Hatters, Luton Town Football Club, will know very well the legend that is John Moore. He played 274 games for the club in the early 70’s seeing them rise from the fourth to the second division. He later managed the team to their club-best seventh place in the first division during the 1986-87 season.


What’s more (no pun intended!) during the 70’s John lived in the road I grew up in. About 10 or so houses up from me in Stoneygate Road, Luton. As a kid I went to many a Luton Town game with my Dad at Kenilworth Road – I recall seeing them play Manchester United once and getting hammered 3-0. The Red Devils team at the time included Bobby Charlton, George Best and Denis Law; those were the days.


Anyhow, John was a local hero and a great character in the street. Me and my mates used to play football in the field at the back of the houses we lived in and it wasn’t unheard of for John to jump over his garden fence and have the odd kick about with us. I remember this one time when he’d broken his ankle and was rested from playing for the Town. He still joined us lads for a kick about though, even with his foot in plaster he ran rings around us… what a guy!


But the best part of these memories is that I used to take John’s dog Bruce for a walk. Bruce was a feisty cross-breed of some kind. (If John ever reads this he’ll probably castigate me for calling Bruce a cross-breed. He was a probably a pure thoroughbred of some description but not one that was instantly recognisable to this 10 year old lad).


The usual walk would be a circuit up the road, down the cinder track around Whitbread, onto Oakley Road past the Electrolux and then back up Stoneygate. As older teenagers we’d often pass John of an evening walking his dog on a similar route. He’d always greet us with a friendly “Alright lads!” in his broad Scottish accent.


I’m not sure what John is up to today. Last I heard he was head coach at local Private School in Bedford, but that was 10 years ago if you can believe anything you read on Wikipedia! He’d be in his mid 70’s now. I hope he’s well and enjoying retirement. I know he’s got a lounge named after him at Luton Town’s ground these days – legend!


Whilst I’m not what you’d call a Luton Town ‘fan’ anymore I still follow their progress - currently progress anyway, but I think it’s fair to say they’ve had some challenging times – and I’ll always have a place in my heart for the home team of the town I grew up in.


And if I ever bump in to a die-hard fan, of which there are many, I always tell them of the time I used to walk John Moore’s dog!

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