Jordan Clark, the goal scorer for Luton Town, said that manager Rob Edwards had instructed them to win the Championship Play-Off Final for Tom Lockyer after the defender passed away during the first few minutes of the game.
After his team won a penalty shootout, the 28-year-old captain of the Hatters was immediately transported to the hospital, where he was seen celebrating in his bed.
As Clark stated to Sky Sports, “The gaffer said we had to do it for him.”
It “felt a little bit wrong to celebrate,” according to Edwards.
Nine years ago, Luton played in the non-league, and after beating Coventry, they returned to the top level for the first time since 1992.
However, the day had already started off in a concerning manner when they lost Lockyer in the very first minute. The Wales international had to be carried off the field on a stretcher after colliding with the ground.
The Hatters took the lead with Clark’s first-half goal despite losing their captain, but Coventry forced extra time after Gustavo Hamer equalized on 66 minutes.
Before a superb shootout was won by Coventry’s Fankaty Dabo, neither team could find a way through extra time.
Edwards declared to BBC Three Counties Radio that he was “only thinking about Lockyer” shortly after the victory was assured. Later, he admitted to Sky Sports, “I was just emotional. ‘Locks’ has been our best player this year, so I feel bad for him.
Dan Potts, who netted Luton’s sixth penalty while donning the captain’s armband, said he felt “gutted” for Lockyer.
“He deserved to be there holding that trophy,” he continued.
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Goalkeeper Ethan Horvath stated that he had “no doubt” that Town would prevail in the penalty shootout because they had been practicing penalties throughout their play-off campaign.
He told Sky Sports, “We’re a brotherhood, and we’re all behind each other. “Today, we needed everyone.”
Gary Sweet, the chief executive of the Hatters, told BBC Three Counties Radio that this was not the final chapter in the Luton story, adding, “We’re not finished yet.”
The club was reportedly “close to being completely liquidated” when Sweet’s Luton Town 2020 company purchased it in 2008.
After 15 years, Luton will open its 10,356-seat Kenilworth Road stadium to teams like Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Liverpool.
Sweet said, “I’m numb with happiness. I find it hard to believe. We have arrived exactly where we intended to. History.
“I never imagined that the club or the town would perish. I vowed never to allow that to occur.
“We’re moving upward. We’re not done yet. This is not the end of the story.
Kenilworth Road, according to Clark, is “an wonderful place,” and he added: “I can’t wait to play there with this set of men next season. It’s wonderful to be among such a close-knit bunch.
Former Luton player and manager Mick Harford, a club legend, told BBC 3CR that Luton’s promotion to the top level was the conclusion of a “unbelievable story.”
It’s most likely one of the nicest things that has ever happened to me, he remarked.
“At the end, I started crying. We deserved this promised land very well, and here we are. The challenge of the Premier League excites me.