Luton Town captain Tom Lockyer celebrated his team’s promotion to the Premier League from hospital after collapsing on the pitch within minutes of the start of the Championship play-off final against Coventry at Wembley.
Lockyer was carried off on a stretcher in the 12th minute and taken to hospital for tests, but his father, Steve, later posted a picture on Twitter of the defender celebrating Luton’s 6-5 win on penalties from his bed.
Rob Edwards, the Luton manager, said: “I am just so thankful he is OK. Because that is all that matters. That’s why I wasn’t able to enjoy the celebrations at the end [until he knew].
“[At half-time] the staff were really good and made sure that they said to the players he was OK and he was speaking and we managed to calm everyone down. ‘Doing it for Locks’ – that was the message.”
The club still do not know why Lockyer collapsed and the player is undergoing checks.
Edwards has led Luton to an extraordinary return to English football’s top flight after 31 years away and insisted the club would “not go mental” when it came to spending the £100 million-plus riches of the Premier League.
“Our board won’t allow us to be in the position we were in around a decade ago [when Luton were relegated from League Two into the National League with a 30-point deduction],” he said. “We are not going to go mental. There will be changes in recruitment.
“Of course, we want to be competitive. We realise it’s going to be the biggest challenge ever. We get that. The best managers are all in the Premier League and the best players.
‘Neymar is available’
“We know how tough it is. Allow me to try to enjoy this night. We can enjoy the season [in the Premier League] as well. What it does do is probably secure the club’s future for a long, long time as well because we will be sensible about how we go forward.” He later joked that “Neymar is available”.
Edwards said that his own arrival in November after being sacked by Watford has “almost been like, ‘This is easy, let’s keep it going’. I am just so pleased for the lads and for the fans because they have been through some dark, dark times.”
He also joked post-match that work had started immediately on the gloriously decrepit Kenilworth Road, which will be the smallest Premier League ground in history and needs a new stand built this summer to bring it up to the minimum standards required.
He added: “I think it [Kenilworth Road] will be an asset. That is the ground we have to deal with it. We have to make it that way.”
Fankaty Dabo missed in the first round of sudden-death penalties after 11 successful spot-kicks and Coventry manager Mark Robins said: “Fankaty was trying to smash it in and unfortunately for us it went high, wide and not so handsome.
“This is part of sport. He will come back from it. You have to say how brave he was and courageous for stepping up.
“We have to come back strong. If you can’t do that then you are in the wrong sport.”