Forget WhatsApp or email, London Luton Airport has sent an unmissable high altitude, high-impact message of support for neighbouring Luton Town Football Club ahead of the team’s first Premier League match.
From 10th August, thousands of passengers flying from/into London Luton Airport (LLA) will be greeted with a giant eco-friendly grass painting on the flight path, featuring Luton Town midfielder Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu’s portrait alongside a tongue-in-cheek message: “Pundits, prepare to eat your hats. Luton Town FC has landed.”
The huge painting measures 55 by 45 metres (2,275sqm in total), the same width as LLA’s runway (45m) and the size of 87 London buses. The installation took over two days to create with over 500 litres of environmentally friendly paint and is set to be viewed by thousands of holidaymakers set to travel through the airport next week.
Following the team’s promotion, LLA is now the closest airport to a Premier League ground in the UK – just 3.1 miles from Kenilworth Road – meaning football fans from across the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Africa can fly into the airport to see a Premier League game.
LLA created the empowering artwork on behalf of the local community at Stockwood Park, Luton, as it sits beneath the airport’s flight path and close to the team’s training ground. The installation comes as excitement builds in the town ahead of the team’s first game against Brighton and Hove Albion this Saturday. The match will be Luton Town’s first in English football’s top flight since 1992, after beating the odds and earning promotion via the Championship play-offs at the end of last season.
Midfielder Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, the first player in footballing history to go from the non-league tiers of English football to the Premier League with the same club, visited the site to see the airport’s efforts to commemorate the team’s historical achievement.
Pelly expressed his excitement around the season and the design from LLA, saying, “The journey that this team and I have been on personally throughout my 10 years at Luton Town FC has been incredible. I’ve been bowled over by the love of the community during my years playing for the club, but seeing London Luton Airport create this today to cheer the team on has been out of this world. I can’t believe they’ve committed to showing their support by bringing their message and me to life on such a huge scale. We’re feeling confident for our first game and we’ll do all we can to prove people wrong.”
Captain Tom Lockyer and LTFC Manager Rob Edwards joined Pelly to witness some of the finishing touches of the message being applied, and to meet some of the Hatters supporting LLA staff that helped to bring the design to life.
Kerri Skingle, a member of the Guest Experience team at London Luton Airport and an avid Luton Town fan said, “The team’s promotion to the Premier League means so much to the people of the town and it’s amazing that LLA wants to show the players this simple and friendly demonstration of support for the upcoming season. It means a lot to the local community for the airport to stand behind the team on such a large scale and I feel really proud to be a part of it. We’re all behind the club and we wish them the best of luck in the match against the Seagulls [Brighton and Hove Albion football team] this Saturday.”
The newly appointed Premier League team recently travelled from the airport to Slovenia for their pre-season training camp. The players were greeted to a warm welcome by LLA staff and passengers, and kindly posed for photographs and signed fans’ merchandise.
Neil Thompson, Operations Director at London Luton Airport, added, “As members of the local community for the past 85 years, we felt it was important to commemorate this historic moment for the town and for the team and wanted to cheer them on from a high-altitude, as well as on the ground. We’re hoping Pelly and the rest of the team can spend the season in the Premier League flying high, but whatever happens, we’ll be there alongside the fans to support them. Up the Hatters!”
Luton Town FC Manager, Rob Edwards added “I speak on behalf of the whole team when I say that we are filled with immense pride and gratitude to our community. A tremendous thank you to London Luton Airport, for its remarkable show of support through the creation of this impressive good luck message on their flight path. This symbol of community will inspire the players for the games ahead and we hope we give fans a season to be proud of.
Celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, London Luton Airport is one of the UK’s leading and busiest airports, currently supporting over 27,000 jobs within the local community.