Luton Town have just confirmed that they will be a Premier League club, next season, for the first time in their history, after beating Coventry City on penalties in the EFL Championship play-off final. They have climbed the leagues, despite financial constraint, and have reached the promised land.
Luton Town's National League Stint
In English football terms, dreams are often overshadowed by the realities that come with the game we all love. Dreams are pursued, memories are created and, for Luton Town, goals are achieved.
English football's system of promotion and relegation can be so cruel, yet so rewarding. Luton Town benefitted from the latter, courtesy of football's richest game; The EFL Championship play-off final. However, it has not been all rosy for the Hatters...
In the 70's and 80's Luton Town were formally a top flight club. This soon curtailed as the millennium began, with the Hatters dropping down into the fifth tier of English football and playing non-league. Determined to put their financial constraints behind them, Luton Town's fans helped to rally their team up the football pyramid.
The club underwent a comprehensive restructuring, with many changes becoming apparent, when results on the pitch began to turn positive. This change in fortunes saw the Hatters win the 2013-14 National League trophy, and started the club's surge up the football leagues.
Luton's League Football Journey
Luton Town shortly went on to achieve back to back promotions in 2017-18 and 2018-19, which saw the club return to English football's second division. This marked a significant moment in the clubs history, and was testament to their remarkable turnaround. The Hatters did have a chance of becoming a Premier League club last season, but fell just short in the play-off's when they narrowly lost out to Huddersfield Town in the Semi-Finals.
The 2022/23 season was a rollercoaster of emotions for Hatter's fans. The club welcomed Nathan Jones back at the helm, to cement a play-off push, but Jones decided to jump ship to a struggling Southampton, leaving the head coach position vacant. Up stepped Rob Edwards, fresh from the axe at Watford, and it is fair to say he did not disappoint.
Edwards guided Luton to a third place finish in the Championship, with the club winning the play-off final versus Coventry City. This completed Luton's journey from the depths of despair to the riches of the Premier League. They became the first club ever to be relegated from the top flight all the way down to the fifth tier of English football and win promotion's back again to the Premier League. One person who has been on the journey with them the entire way is Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu.
Mpanzu, along with Luton, made footballing history in being promoted from every tier of English football - a record that may never be broken. This is particularly remarkable as he has had to make the step up to each division, where many players are typically moved on. Luton and Mpanzu have allowed those all up and down England's football pyramid to dream. Fans will be eagerly anticipating the start of the 2023/24 season to see how Luton Town and Mpanzu adapt to the best league in the world.