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19 May 2017



19 May 2017

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Listen again to the Town CEO's interview from last night

Hatters chief executive Gary Sweet spoke to BBC Three Counties Radio immediately after last night’s agonising Sky Bet League Two play-off semi-final defeat to Blackpool in front of a sell-out 10,032 crowd at Kenilworth Road.

If you didn’t have a chance to hear it live, you can listen above or read below the positive messages Gary delivered about:
  • The amazing support Nathan Jones and the team received last night
  • The plans for next season
  • The manager's future
  • The new training ground at The Brache
  • The planning application for Power Court

He was also interviewed on the Breakfast Show this morning by Justin Dealey, and you can listen to that interview by clicking here and scrolling to 2.54:35


Geoff Doyle: Gary, a sense of shell-shock at the moment here at Kenilworth Road?

Gary Sweet: Yes, I’ve lost my voice a bit as well I think. I think they were genuinely shocked. At 80 minutes, I think we had it, and could only see one winner, and for it to have been turned around like that – football sometimes is such a cruel, cruel game. Sucker-punch. But you know what, we are so, so strong, so determined. Everything about 2020 is long-term. This isn’t about tonight’s game, this season, this month, whatever. This is about the football club progressing, gradually, surely, solidly, soundly, and this is going to be a very, very good lesson for our character. We are going to be a better team next year. I can guarantee you that. League Two clubs will have been looking tonight and thinking ‘We’ve got them again next year’, and they know we are going to get better next year. So, League Two next season. That’s fine, absolutely fine. But you know what, we are in a new training ground. We’ve got a planning applicating pending. We are strong, we are battlers. You saw the crowd tonight. Oh God, I was so, so proud of these people tonight. Ten thousand Luton fans in here that sung their hearts out. It was unbelievable. Every single one of us sitting in that directors’ box, it made their hair stand on end. It was such a proud moment when we heard that. Thank you very much everybody for staying with us. There was no negativity in the crowd tonight. It was all positive. You sang your hearts out, you did your bit, the players did their bit. Everyone did their bit today, but we just learned how cruel the game is occasionally.

GD: That is sometimes how football is, and the manner in which they played tonight suggests that they are again going to do well next season. Maybe just three or four added to the squad, just to get you over that next line and go up automatically?

GS: Yes, we’ll look at it tomorrow. Literally, we are not going to waste any time to lick our wounds. We are already behind the game because we have had play-offs. We’ve got decisions to make and we’ll be starting that tomorrow.

GD: Straight in, straight ahead – and you chat to the manager and he’ll say ‘This is what we need, we need that, that and that’?

GS: No, we’ve already planned a lot of it. We know where we are, but there are targets there and  Mick (Harford), Nathan, a couple of others and myself are getting together in the morning. Literally, there is no time here for us to lick our wounds and feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve got to feel proud. Every single supporter out there that witnessed this tonight, they can’t feel sorry for themselves. They’ve got to look at this and feel proud at what we’ve achieved tonight, together with their support, and then look forward to next season. Our season is over. From tomorrow morning, it’s next season.

GD: Nathan Jones has been linked with the Wigan job. Will you have a battle to keep him in the summer?

GS: No, Nathan’s our manager. There’s been no formal or informal inquiry from Wigan or any other club for Nathan Jones in the last few weeks. There was a little bit of a mumbling at the beginning of the year, but you know what, Nathan is such a Luton through and through guy. He loves this club. He loves working for us and he is one of us. He just lives and breathes the same things that we do at the moment. He’s not going to give that up. He’s so enthusiastic about next season, regardless of what league we are in.

GD: I know you’re disappointed like everyone who is leaving this ground now. A message for everybody as they are getting in their cars?

GS: Just thank you. What you gave us tonight…the last time I felt that was probably 2009 at Wembley. It was such an unbelievable atmosphere. Thank you. Stay with us next year, it’s going to be an exhilarating season. We are getting better and better. We are a good football team, we’ve just got to be better next year. Come back. They’ll be fitter, they’re going to have a new training ground, they’ll be fitter, and hopefully by the time we kick off next season we’ll start to hear what’s happening with our new stadium because you know what, after tonight, we need it, don’t we?

GD: You’ve mentioned in the programme about that. It’s looking like it’s going to be a bit later on this year that you hope to hear some news?

GS: It’s not in our hands completely. We are doing everything in our powers to push things forward, but the council will be looking at all the technical aspects of it, which we’ve provided them now, but they also have an eye on how ambitious we are. If they witnessed tonight, they’ll see what an absolutely determined and strong football club we are. We are getting promoted, whether it’s this year or next year. We are getting promoted and the football club is progressing. The football club is going to get a new stadium. It’s not about whether we get planning permission this year, next year. The football club is going to get a new football stadium. We’ve got a new training ground. This is progression, right in front of your eyes, and I’m thoroughly proud to be a part of it and thoroughly proud to be one of the 10,000 fans here tonight. Just thank you to everybody.

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