Luton Town’s promotion to Premier League sparks celebration in city

The fact that their team will play in the Premier League next season has begun to dawn on Luton Town supporters.

The Hatters returned to the top flight for the first time in 31 years after defeating Coventry City on sudden-death penalties in the Championship play-off final.

Nine years ago, when they were squeaking by in the non-league pyramid, this was a far cry. Celebrations are set to begin with the Luton International Carnival on Sunday and a promotion party on Monday due to the triumph.

Alex Roberts, a teacher from Luton, said he felt “utter relief” in the Wembley stands when Coventry missed their last penalty in the shootout.

“I feel so happy for the town and the community – there is a beautiful buzz about the place right now,” said the 33-year-old.

“There can be a lot of negative press about Luton, so it’s positive to have something uplifting and engaging for a change and the young people.

Also Read: Tottenham looking to sign Manor Solomon

“I don’t feel like it’s sunk in properly that we will have the likes of [Manchester City players] Erling Haaland and Jack Grealish coming down to Kenilworth Road.”

Former Luton chairman Nick Owen told BBC Breakfast: “I am buzzing, still pinching myself after what we’ve been through.”

The BBC presenter was in charge when the club faced bankruptcy in 2008. He held that position until 2017.

He expressed hope that the financial windfall the club was about to receive would hasten the transfer from Kenilworth Road, a venue with little over 10,000 seats, to Power Court, which has up to 23,000 seats.

“This will facilitate, speed up, accelerate our moving to a new stadium because the funds will be invaluable,” said Mr Owen.

“When we get a new stadium, I think the crowds will look considerably bigger; the fanbase is huge and worldwide.”

Like other fans, Tariq Khan did not return to Luton from Wembley until about midnight after negotiating train delays.

“When that penalty went over it was just pure jubilation,” said Mr Khan, who was behind the goal for the shoot-out. “It still hasn’t sunk in and I don’t think it will until the fixture list is released.”

Kevin Harper, a board member at the Luton Town Supporters’ Trust, said: “It’s an incredible achievement from everyone, top to bottom, who’s been involved in our journey. It means absolutely everything.”