Town defender Alan Sheehan was overjoyed to finally ditch his ‘nearly man’ tag by winning the first promotion of his 13-year career on Saturday.
The Irishman had the captain’s armband as Luton sealed the deal in Cumbria where their 1-1 draw with Carlisle was enough to ensure they will be playing League One football next term.
Sheehan, who counts Swindon and Notts County as two of his former sides, said: “It’s my first official promotion, I could claim some, but I won’t, this was my first one, so I’m absolutely delighted with it.
“I suppose I’ve been called the nearly man. A few play-off final losses, few play-off semis, a few losses on the final day, and stuff like that, so I’ve been close, but never quite got it. It’s brilliant.”
What made the success even more pleasing for Sheehan was that it came the season after one of the worst experiences of his footballing life, losing in the play-off semi-final to Blackpool 6-5 on aggregate, after a stoppage time leveller in their 3-3 draw at Kenilworth Road.
The 31-year-old said: “The Blackpool game was probably the worst I’ve felt and I suppose this year was the most that we wanted it as we were so determined to put it right, because it was a sickening night.
The Blackpool game was probably the worst I’ve felt and I suppose this year was the most that we wanted it as we were so determined to put it right.Alan Sheehan
“I’ll never forget that as long as I live, but I do feel better now, now we can finally put it to bed. I was watching the highlights when I was on holiday with my missus, and she was like, ‘just enjoy your holiday’, I was like, ‘I can’t, I don’t think I can let this go.’
“But now I can finally, it was motivation, because we never wanted to feel like that again.”
The achievement also saw Sheehan get to enjoy his meal of choice too, adding: “It was all or nothing, full duck or no dinner, I suppose we’ll be having duck tonight won’t we?
“We’ll have to wash that down with something, but it’s a great achievement. We wanted to win the league, but this time next year, it doesn’t matter, because we’re in League One now.”