Passionate Rea felt like a fan when watching Luton go up

Glen Rea celebrates on the Hatters' open top bus parade
Glen Rea celebrates on the Hatters' open top bus parade

Watching the Hatters win the League One title from the terraces has reawakened the supporter in midfielder Glen Rea once more.

The 24-year-old was a big part of Luton’s form in the early stages of the campaign, playing 27 times, producing some excellent displays at the base of the diamond.

However, he picked up a season-ending injury during the 2-0 win over Burton Albion in December.

After finding out the extent of his absence, the passionate Rea has been a regular with the Town faithful up and down the country, as he said: “At the start of the season I wasn’t in the team, I got myself into the team, was doing well, loving every minute of it, then I got injured.

“I felt like I took it quite well, I had a couple of days when it’s been real hard, but then watching the team every week, I’ve been to the away games, it took me back to when I was a fan at Brighton.

“I used to go to Brighton home and away, I used to love it, and I am a fan.

“I say to everyone I meet, all the fans I meet, I say I am a fan, I know what it’s like, I know the ups, I know the downs, and I’ll talk to anyone.

“I like to talk to people, so going in with the fans has been unreal.

“They love it, I love it, it’s just great, that’s why I said in an interview, I love football.

“This is why I love football, because it brings people together, that is why I love it.

“To see all the fans, they love it so much and to be involved with all them, as weird as it sounds with me not playing, it’s actually been really good.

“I’m living my dream, but if I wasn’t playing football, I would be in the terrace, albeit with Brighton,that’s why I just love it, I love every minute of it.”

However, Rea now has a special affinity with the Luton supporters having been involved in back-to-back promotions since arriving permanently from his beloved Seagulls in July 2016.

He continued: “The fans here are unbelievable and playing for Luton is so much better as the fans are so hardcore, it’s like you don’t want to play for anyone else.

“I’m not going to disrespect any teams, but some teams you go and the fans are not as good.

“These fans are unreal, as players we want to play in front of that.

“You want to play in front of it when they’re getting on your back, because you know as a player you’re going to turn it around.

“We have done this season, there’s been ups and downs, but we’ve all stuck together and it’s been unbelievable.”

Like most supporters, Rea couldn’t stop his emotions getting the better of him when Town sealed their place in the Championship thanks to Portsmouth and Sunderland both losing their midweek matches.

On how he reacted to the news, Rea said: “I was sat at home, watching Sky Sports News in my boxers and I was just thinking, ‘it’s actually happened.’

“And I’m shouting, I live in a block of flats, and I’m shouting and I think people can hear me outside, and I’m on my own, I’m loving it, it was just unbelievable.

“I couldn’t believe it and I couldn’t really get over it.

“Seeing all the fans come out, we’re champions now, it’s unbelievable.

“For my situation, it’s been put to one side, as the club’s now gone to the Championship, so it’s all about the players, all about the fans, all about everyone now, unbelievable.”

Rea had an inkling from the early stages of the campaign that it could be a special year for the Hatters too, adding: “As a fan you think, ‘hang on, we can actually do it,’ and there was a couple of times at the end.

“I’m in Charlton away, we scored the first goal, I thought ‘we could actually do this’ and obviously we lose the game, you think ‘oh no.’

“Then you’ve got to keep going, but for me stepping away from the playing side, I did think we could do it, because everyone was on it.

“Everyone’s been on it since we’ve started the season, everyone’s been on it since I’ve been here.

“Even when we were in the play-offs (defeat to Blackpool), it was such a heartache that we wanted to come back from that, and we did.

“Then we’ve gone again, and it’s just amazing, so good for everyone involved.”