Sweet likens promotion to the top flight as a 'tidal wave' for Luton

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Hatters CEO on what it has been like for Town since Wembley win

The reality of promotion to the Premier League has been nothing short of a ‘tidal wave’ according to Hatters CEO Gary Sweet.

Luton reached the top flight for the first time in over 30 years after beating Coventry City 6-5 on penalties at Wembley last month in the Championship play-off final.

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Before the dust could even settle on such an achievement, the Hatters were having to plan just what was needed of them as a club at the top table of English football once more, the main issue having to fork out over £10m to ensure Kenilworth Road is ready to host a fixture of such magnitude.

Town CEO Gary Sweet celebrates winning promotion to the Premier League at WembleyTown CEO Gary Sweet celebrates winning promotion to the Premier League at Wembley
Town CEO Gary Sweet celebrates winning promotion to the Premier League at Wembley

It didn’t stop there though, as asked to sum up just what it has been like, speaking on Five Live Sport, Sweet said: “A tidal wave is how I'm describing it as you're completely and utterly swamped by everything from media interest.

"We partied hard one night and then literally 11 o'clock the next morning we were in a recruitment meeting.

“From then it’s been just completely manic and a lot of it has been brought on by ourselves as we know the gargantuan task.

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“We've got an awful lot more to do with our stadium than most other clubs coming through into the Premier League so that has taken on a bit of a life of its own and most of our time in some respects.

"As we've got to get to that right, but we are going very, very cautiously about this.”

Having been in the play-offs last term, Town’s hierarchy knew exactly what was going to be required from them if they did triumph at Wembley, with Sweet praising the Premier League for their help in giving them some prior knowledge of what lay ahead.

He continued: “I have to say in this respect the Premier League have been fantastic and we've done this before, this is our second season now as we were in the play-offs last season.

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“It starts around the January time, so when you're looking like you could be in the play-offs, they start to contact you, remind you of the rule specifications and make sure you're aware of them.

"You probably have a meeting or two, especially with grounds like ours where it is a massive challenge.

"They'll come round and have a little look and inspect and try and help you.

"At the end of day it’s our job to do it, but they will try and help you as much as they can.

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"We have done this twice, the rules changed actually between the two years as well, so there were some additional measures we had to look at.”

One thing that did help Luton is the fact that they are looking to move to a new ground at Power Court by 2026, which meant they had people in place to begin work on rebuilding the Bobbers Stand immediately.

Sweet added: “Where we’re lucky, because we're building a new football stadium, or we're starting to later this year rather, we've got one going through the planning stages, we had a team of architects and cost consultants and everything onboard already to be able to just pull them over on to this project.

"I think for three, four months, they've been full time on this.

"It's a big project we're managing.

"We're effectively rebuilding one stand in the space of about 12 weeks, so we had to be a little bit ready.”