‘Luton fans have seen some dark times so it’s great we can give them a smile’

<span>Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Observer</span>
Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Observer

Rob Edwards, the Luton manager, insisted the club will not go berserk after sealing a fairytale promotion to the Premier League worth at least £170m. Luton returned to the top flight for the first time since 1992 courtesy of a 6-5 shootout victory in the Championship playoff final against Coventry.

Jordan Clark opened the scoring in the first half before Gus Hamer, who was later forced off with injury, scored a fine equaliser. But the game went to penalties after a nervy period of extra time. Luton had one of the smallest budgets in the Championship – smaller than some League One clubs – but promotion caps an extraordinary and unprecedented rise. If Luton were to survive in their first season back in the top flight, promotion is estimated to be worth £270m.

“We’re not going to go mental,” Edwards said. “We have to play to our strengths which is what we’ve tried to keep going since I’ve come in.

“We realise it’s going to be the biggest challenge ever. It is the best league with the best managers, the best players. We know how tough it is going to be. We will be sensible. The fans have seen some dark, dark times. It is great that we can give them a smile.”

Luton’s captain, Tom Lockyer, went to hospital after collapsing on the pitch eight minutes into the game and will undergo further tests in the next 24 hours. Edwards told his players at half-time to win the game for Lockyer. The Wales defender was responsive and talking with his family when Luton clinched promotion. Lockyer’s dad, Steve, said on Twitter: “Tom is OK. Very happy but so sad he can’t be there with his teammates.”

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Mark Robins, the Coventry manager, said: “They [Luton] lost in the playoff semi-finals last year and have gone one better. We have to get back here as quickly as we possibly can.”