Outgoing Luton boss Mick Harford described leading the Hatters to the League One title as a ‘fairy tale’.
The Town chief, who took over in January after Nathan Jones left, masterminded 12 wins from 20 games, with six draws and two defeats, as Luton finished top of the pile, three points clear of Barnsley.
Harford, who was in charge when the Hatters went down to the Conference in 2009, had always felt partly responsible for the relegation, despite being severely hampered by a 30-point deduction.
However, those memories have been consigned to the past now, as he said: “Honestly, you couldn’t write it what’s happened to me in the last 10 years, it couldn’t be scripted.
“To have some kind of redemption to get the club into the Championship, the way we played and the way we did it, it’s just fairy tale stuff, a dream come true for me.
“I was honoured to take the role as caretaker manager and I thought that’s what it was.
To have some kind of redemption to get the club into the Championship, the way we played and the way we did it, it’s just fairy tale stuff, a dream come true for me.Mick Harford
“Then it went on and it went on and no-one would have believed what went on here.
“It’s a fantastic story for the football club and for me in all fairness, it’s amazing, it’s righted a few wrongs, it’s redemption.
“It was a weight and I’m proud enough to say that, it was tough for me in what I call the dark days.
“The club has responded magnificently from 10-11 years ago, where we’ve got to in such a short space of time is testament to the board, who have been magnificent.”
Harford was given a hero’s reception before Saturday’s 3-1 win over Oxford, and again when he and the players were introduced to the crowd after the full time whistle.
The celebrations carried on long into the night, before he was on the stage at St George’s Square for the promotion celebrations on Sunday.
As he has done throughout his tenure, Harford was quick to pass the plaudits on to Town’s squad.
He added: “I said to the players before we went out (against Oxford), outside there it will be an electric atmosphere.
“You’ve got to perform in this atmosphere, you’ve got play out there as you are under pressure, if you win you’re the champions.
“I said to them, ‘they will be singing my name out there, they will be singing my name for the majority of the game, but the reason they’re singing my name is because of you, the way you’ve played, the way you’ve performed, the way you’ve gone about your business.’
“If we weren’t winning football matches they wouldn’t be singing my name, so I give all the credit to all the squad who have performed and played for this football club.
“They’ve been brilliant, they’ve been a top bunch of lads.
“I’ll get some credit for it, steering the ship, and that’s what I did.
“We didn’t change much, as we went along and they bought into what I was trying to do.
“They’ve been absolutely brilliant, absolutely first class and all the credit should go to them.”