Luton Town boss Rob Edwards says fans deserve Wembley trip

Rob Edwards believes Luton Town fans deserve their trip to Wembley for the Championship play-off final as a reward for their support during “dark times”.

Tuesday’s semi-final win over Sunderland leaves Luton one game away from a return to the top flight.

They were a non-league club just nine years ago.

“The supporters have been through some dark times. To win a semi-final and get to Wembley is special,” Hatters boss Edwards told BBC Three Counties Radio.

“I know we’ll go there in big numbers and hopefully we can celebrate again.”

Trailing 2-1 from the first leg, Luton overwhelmed Sunderland in front of a raucous home crowd, beating them 2-0 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate to reach the final on 27 May.

The Hatters finished the season third in the table following a remarkable renaissance.

Relegation from the old First Division in 1992, just before it became the Premier League, came four years after winning the League Cup. It was followed by a slide down the divisions and major problems off the pitch.

They dropped out of the English Football League in 2009 and only reclaimed their place five years later.

Nathan Jones presided over much of the recovery during two spells as manager, winning back-to-back promotions in 2018 and 2019.

And the momentum was maintained after Jones left for Southampton last November.

Edwards, who took over soon after being sacked by Luton’s arch rivals Watford, has won 16 and lost just five of his 31 matches at the helm.

“We’re one game away from the Premier League. It sounds special, it sounds surreal saying it,” Edwards added.

“We are, it’s a fact. And I’m really, really happy.

“The fans were great, and we needed them. They got the atmosphere going before kick-off. When the staff came in after the warm-up they said the atmosphere was really, really good.

“We were just glad we were able to repay them with a good performance.

“If we didn’t believe after being 2-1 down and being right in the game, then what’s the point?

“We believed from day one that we could achieve something. We’ve got one more game to go to try to do it, I’m not getting carried away.

“I’m really proud and want everyone to enjoy the moment of winning a semi-final.

“We’re going to go to Wembley for a day out and it’ll be really special.”

Original article published 17.05.2023 on the BBC Sport website.

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