Our countdown to the season continues: 60 days until the start of the 2014/15 campaign...
The Hatters had swept all before them during 2013/14. 30 wins, 102 goals, 27 games unbeaten, 23 clean sheets, lifting the title – you name it.
But there was no cheer bigger from the Town faithful than on the final day of the season at Hyde when Jonathan Smith was introduced from the substitutes’ bench in injury time.
It was the midfielder’s 60th appearance in Luton colours and one, despite being his shortest, he will no doubt remember for the rest of his career.
Up until Boxing Day Smith had been one of the driving forces behind the Town’s surge up to the summit of the Skrill Premier. One unfortunate and untimely tackle later his season – he thought; we all thought – was over.
However, a spirited and determined recovery began in earnest, and within a few weeks the popular Preston-born midfielder was on his feet and jogging again. The players had vowed to “do it for Smudger”. Indeed, the game after his injury saw the Town beat Kidderminster 6-0.
All the time Smith’s rapid rehabilitation continued. In early April he was seen kicking a ball in a warm-up on the Kenilworth Road pitch.
And then the magical moment came at Ewen Fields when John Still sent him on for Andre Gray. A raucous, if not emotion-tinged, round of applause rose from the Hatters hordes. Luton were back and so too was Smudger.