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'Getting promoted has put a smile on people's faces'

Luton Town supporters celebrate winning promotion
Luton Town supporters celebrate winning promotion

Joe Nelson, BBC Sport

When Coventry City's Fankaty Dabo fired his penalty over the crossbar in the 2022-23 Championship play-off final, euphoria filled one half of Wembley Stadium.

Luton Town had ended their 31-year wait to be a Premier League club, completing their journey from non-league to the top flight.

Just a row behind fellow Luton legend Mick Harford, former Hatters midfielder Alan West embraced his son Josh.

Luton were back in the big time.

Almost 50 years after he swapped Burnley for Bedfordshire, remaining involved at the club when they were relegated from the Football League in 2009, West had seen the remarkable rise of a club he once represented.

"I was [Luton's] chaplain through that very difficult period when they were relegated and they went all the way down to the Conference," he explained. "And then now, of course, [they have got] all the way back up. It is quite an amazing story and journey.

"Getting promoted has just put a smile on people's faces. People weren't interested in football.

"Luton has got a lot of bad press, but now it has got some good press. And that's all to do with the football club.

"There's been a brilliant spirit and attitude in the town in the last few weeks, right the way through from local council to schools to kids. Everybody is really excited."

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