Today marks the first anniversary since George Moncur scored twice and his best mate Elliot Lee the other as the Hatters beat Oxford United 3-1 at Kenilworth Road to secure the League One title.
Earlier today we caught up with midfielder Moncur to look back at a wonderful afternoon in which he scored a trademark free-kick in the third minute to get the party started, before creating Lee’s second and then scoring a second himself with just under 20 minutes to go.
The 26-year-old said: “I can remember the day so clear, because it was the last day of the season, we knew we were promoted, and I’ve never had it before, but there’s nothing better than having a gold medal around your neck at the end of the day.
“I got up and did exactly what I normally would do in the morning, prayed, and thankfully the Lord got us through and I was so happy and over the moon with that because it was a day that I’ll never forget.
“Obviously to score that early and then nick another one late on to secure the game, it couldn’t have gone any better for myself and the team. It was just a great day.”
His free-kick was Moncur’s fifth goal in a Luton shirt, having already netted the memorable one in the snow against Portsmouth that took the Town five points clear, soon after signing from Barnsley in the January transfer window.
In February he whipped one around the wall at Fleetwood, but asked which was his favourite, he replied: “I’m always going to say the Portsmouth one just for the pure fact of the moment in the game, and I think it put us five points clear that night, so the significance of that goal and the timing – I don’t think you can top that really. Portsmouth at home has to be my favourite one.
“It was the perfect way to introduce yourself to a new team and I was just thankful for the chance to take it.
“Five points is quite a lot in the grand scheme of a table, it is quite a good lead, and after that game we went from strength to strength – we didn’t drop that many points – so it really gave us a springboard to go forward.”
With Barnsley going neck-and-neck with the Hatters at the time, and eventually being promoted alongside us, it seemed to some a strange move to allow such a talented player to move.
Moncur explains: “For me, I wanted to get back down south for one, come to a club where I was wanted. I really enjoyed my time up north, but I think when you know your time’s up, your time’s up.
“It was tough because the day that I joined, I had a meeting with the manager at Barnsley, and he wasn’t happy at all. He wasn’t letting me go, but I think it was all agreed before he found out about it, so luckily enough for me it was already done and I knew that I could go, even though he was saying I couldn’t.
“You don’t really hear of another club selling to a rival in the same league, do you? So it was quite strange, but thankfully for me, I got down here and we won the title. It’s just the way it works out sometimes.”
Does he have any regrets? “No chance!” comes the emphatic reply, and although the Hatters fans will always remember George’s ‘Unlucky Barnsley!’ shout down the microphone on stage in St George’s Square the following day, he explains that he meant no ill towards his former club.
“It was just one of those things,” he says. “I always like to make people laugh so it was just a funny moment, and I knew people would like it, that’s the reason I did it. No disrespect to Barnsley, but it’s just the way I am sometimes.
“I don’t hold grudges. I was really happy with them getting promoted. That’s my honest opinion, because I’ve got a lot of mates there in that team, and I really liked my time there. I can only wish them the best.”
On his move, at a time when Mick Harford had just stepped into the hot-seat as interim manager, George added: “I can’t thank Mick enough. He knew me for a long time, had seen me play, and playing under him takes every bit of pressure off the players.
“He just lets you go out and play and you really enjoy your football because every day, you know what you’re getting, you know what needs to be done and it’s great just getting out on the pitch having no fear and no pressure at all.
“He helped me a lot with stuff in terms of my game, because I knew when I came in from Barnsley, I was on and off the pitch, but I wasn’t really taking it as serious in a way because I wasn’t playing and I didn’t really feel like I was wanted at that club.
“When I came into Luton I knew had to do a few different things in terms of my body fat and my weight and everything, because every now and then you’d smash the odd pizza and a bit of chocolate!
“But I knew what I had to do with Mick and he told me straight when I came in, he said ‘You’ve got a lot of talent George, but there’s certain things that you need to do’. I knew that he liked me so I wanted to do it for him as well. It’s when you get the backing of a manager, I think, gets the best out of players. All credit to him.
“It couldn’t have gone much better because he knew what I was about, he knew what sort of player I was and when he got the job for the last however many games, I was over the moon with that.”
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