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Chelsea out to maul Black Cats

Chelsea 8 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Jan 11, 2008

Blackwell and backroom staff set to quit Luton

Kevin Blackwell and his Luton management team have tendered their resignations at Kenilworth Road.

Effective following the February 9 League One clash with Bournemouth, manager Blackwell, his assistant Sam Ellis and head coach John Carver will walk away from the cash-strapped club after losing patience with administrators.

Five players have left while three others are under offer leaving former Leeds boss Blackwell to take the drastic action.

'We came to Luton Town Football Club last spring with a clear mission,' read a statement from the trio.

'Very quickly we found that Luton Town Football Club did not do what it said on the tin.

'We have had to generate cash - more than £3 million from the sale of key players - rather than invest it. Our inheritance has ended up including law-suits and FA charges.

'We have to face reality for ourselves. It is now our belief that no possible future scenario for this club can match - in any way, shape or form - what we came here to do.

'Ironically, we no longer have contracts that would require us to give notice - but we are acutely aware that to just down tools and walk out would simply add to the short-term problems.

'We will therefore continue to work, under our current basic terms and conditions, for approximately one month - leaving the club after the home game against Bournemouth on February 9.'

Luton's season has been a tale of woe after moving into administration on November 22, losing 10 points in the process and leaving them in the relegation zone, where they are currently three points adrift of safety.

The players and management team have seen their wages held back but managed to hold Liverpool to a 1-1 draw in last week's FA Cup third round, ensuring a money-spinning replay at Anfield.

Blackwell was left fuming, however, when the sale of 21-year-old midfielder David Edwards was agreed with Wolves for a £675,000 fee and defender Chris Coyne was sold to Colchester for £350,000.

Lewis Emanuel and Ed Asafu-Adjaye have been sent on loan to Lincoln and Salisbury respectively, while midfielder Ahmet Brkovic has made his loan deal Millwall a permanent one.

Bids for goalkeeper Dean Brill and strikers Calvin Andrew, and Drew Talbot have also been lodged.

A consortium fronted by former morning television host Nick Owen is hoping to provide a rescue package but whether that takeover could be concluded in time to persuade Blackwell - who has guided his side to just one defeat in their last 13 matches despite the problems - to change his mind and stay remains to be seen.

'Managers come and go. Administrators, Directors, Boards and players - they all come and go, but a lot of fans can't or don't,' added Blackwell.

'We would like to pay particular tribute to ours. It's been a long time since they have had any kind of sequence of good news and they deserve some success, and our hope is that it comes in the not too distant future.

'Their support for us during this period of adversity has been astonishing and when we and the players applaud them at the end of the game, it is with the utmost sincerity.'