Football: 'The most remarkable season ever' - Luton Town boss John Still hails his record breakersTOM SHARP
When summer recruit Shaun Whalley missed a spot kick on the opening day of the Skrill Premier season with Luton Town chasing the lead at Southport, not many would have foreseen the script that was to be written thereafter.
A disappointing August and early September saw the Hatters off the pace and without a spark.
However, seven months and many miles down the road, Saturday’s 1-0 victory at relegated Hyde left manager John Still marvelling at a season “he could not have dreamt of”.
Having conquered several long-standing club and league records including number of clean sheets in a season (23) and biggest Conference points gap between the champions and second place (19) and hit the 100 plus mark for points and goals scored, Still hailed his class of 2013/14.
“The most pleasing thing is, to win a league, you have got to win at all times, in all conditions, when you are not at your best and when you feel depleted and we have done that this season,” said Still.
“We have broken loads of records, Andre (Gray) has picked up the league’s Golden Boot and we have played some great football.
“I have won the league times before but for me, this has been the most remarkable season ever.”
Despite not delivering the jumbo result the league table suggested would occur, Luton finished the season like true champions.
A highlight for many Hatters was a late substitute appearance for midfielder Jonathan Smith, confined to the sidelines for the past four months with a broken leg suffered at Barnet last Boxing Day.
“It was an unbelievable reception from the fans,” said Smith.
“It has been a long, hard road to recovery but that reaction when I came on made it all worthwhile.
“No way in the world I expected that.”
Smith and the rest of his team-mates were afforded several days off this week to celebrate their amazing title triumph and Still openly admitted he had taken his eye off the ball for part of this week to wind down as well.
He knows the hard work for next season is just around the corner though.
“After Monday’s game I did have a couple of days away to see my grand-daughter in Spain and now this game is out of the way, we have the parade and the civic reception which will be fantastic,” said Still.
“I have a couple of months to get us ready for next season so that is a great challenge.
“It will be strange just focussing on the off-field stuff rather then the on-field proceedings but it is part and parcel of being a manager so I will relish that.
“For the next week or so though, we are all going to celebrate what we have done this year.”
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