Cup exit… but Danny could meet Blues again

Borough goal ace targets the Premier League after facing Chelsea

Friday, 4th March — By Zakaria Taibi

Danny Hylton

Danny Hylton started out playing in the Regent’s Park youth league. Photo: LTFC

IT was a true David versus Goliath showdown as Championship side Luton Town took on world champions Chelsea last night (Wednesday) in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

The tie saw a club that just eight years ago was playing in the fifth tier of English football going up against one of the richest clubs in the world.

And right in the thick of it was a player who grew up kicking a ball around the streets of Camden and Islington.

Hotshot Danny Hylton came on as a second-half substitute hoping to guide the Hatters into the quarter-finals. But in the end it was Chelsea’s £150million strikeforce of Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner that settled the tie.

Hylton, who grew up on the Regent’s Park estate, had every reason to be confident going into the match having scored the winner against Derby County on Saturday to fire Luton into the Championship play-off places.

Swapping the league for the magic of the FA Cup, however, posed a very different challenge.

“It was a great occasion and a nice distraction from the league,” Hylton told the New Journal. “I don’t know if it was the biggest game of my career, but obviously if we’re talking size of the club then certainly, yes.

“With the level they are at at the moment, playing in the Champions League, on paper they’re one of the best clubs in the world at the moment.”

Under the lights at Kenilworth Road a miracle against the money-men proved just too great an ask. Luton twice took the lead, but Chelsea dug in to eke out a 3-2 win on the night that owner Roman Abramovic announced that he was selling the club.

The Hatters now have their sights set on arguably a bigger prize – earning a place in the best league in the world.

Hylton added: “Games come thick and fast, you don’t have time to dwell on the last game.

“We’re in a really good run at the moment in the league – but when you say Premier League it sounds crazy. Reaching the Premier League would be beyond my wildest dreams.

“If we get there it would be amazing, but we don’t want to get carried away at the moment.”

Playing the likes of Chelsea and boyhood club Arsenal on a weekly basis is a goal very much within reach for former Haverstock pupil Hylton. Luton are sixth in the Championship table, and have games in hand on their promotion rivals.

The Premier League would certainly be a far cry from where the 33-year-old first started out. “I used to play football all the time, we loved it,” said Hylton. “There was a group of 20 of us, and we used to literally go out and play football all day, every day.

“We used to play in the Regent’s Park League on Saturday morning. One of the coaches, Ash Rahman, put in a lot of time on us. He carried on checking on me and a few of the players to see that we were doing well.”

Related Articles