In his first interview since gaining promotion to the Premier League, defender Gabe Osho discussed the feeling of winning the Championship play-off final with Luton Town.
The 24-year-old centre-half played 112 minutes at Wembley Stadium before coming off injured and was instrumental in the final matches of the 2022/23 season.
Since the play-off final, Osho explained: “It’s been crazy. It’s not really set in as of yet, I think on fixture release day that’s when it will all get a bit more real.”
Osho did have the ball in the net early on at Wembley before the goal was corrected flagged offside and his celebrations were quickly muted when he saw the linesman.
“I was really going to go crazy, I promise you”, said Osho. “But as I got up to celebrate, I saw the linesman with his flag up. If I went straight and didn’t see the line, I would have ran off!”
It was the first time in Osho’s career that he had played at Wembley Stadium, and he explained that he was more prepared than ever before ahead of the biggest game of his career.
“I felt grateful, that was the position I wanted to come at it from. There was no pressure really, just go out there, have fun and see where it takes you. I felt as prepared as I ever was going to be in terms of analysis, the way I was physically, I was just excited to go out at Wembley and play.
“There was confidence around the group going into the final, from the Sheffield United away game where we won one-nil, I think that was the game where everyone thought we could actually go up now because we went to a tough place like Bramall Lane, got three points and a clean sheet, it gave us that believe that we could beat anyone in the Championship now, there was nothing stopping us except for us.”
One of Osho’s good friends in the squad is striker Elijah Adebayo, whose brilliant assist for Jordan Clark opened the scoring at the National Stadium.
“That was like prime Elijah! You see him going out and chopping, and he’s six-foot-ten or something so shouldn’t be moving like that. It was amazing, then the touch from Clicks was amazing and I remember seeing it go in, it felt like slow motion.
"On the pitch, you don’t get to take in the noise of the celebrations as much because you are so happy with the goal, you just want to celebrate with the rest of the team. You don’t really get to take in how loud it is, I’m sure when you’re in the stands it feels like crazy. When you’re in the moment, you don’t get to take it in that much.”
The Hatters centre-half was substituted before Joe Taylor’s late disallowed goal, Osho described his reaction to what he thought was a late winner and his pre-match prediction for Taylor.
“Oh my god! I came off with cramp about five minutes before and my legs were finished, then when he scored I don’t know what was injected into me at that moment, I sprinted probably the quickest I had done all game. Then we found out it was disallowed and it was the longest stroll back, I didn’t even know whether to run back or walk. That moment when we thought he scored was crazy.
“I told Joe maybe two months ago in the gym that he would come on and score the winning goal in the play-off final, and then I thought he did it so that’s why I ran across the pitch. It was devastating, I don’t know what he was doing celebrating it! I didn’t see he handballed it from where I was, apparently on camera it was quite clear. I’m sure he didn’t mean for it to hit his hand, but it is what it is.”