Beds, Herts & Bucks

Luton Town FC celebrate promotion to the Football League with bus tour

Luton fan
Image caption The promotion party came five years after the club was relegated to the Football Conference after the 2008/9 season

Thousands have watched Luton Town Football Club celebrate promotion to the Football League with an open top bus tour and reception in the town.

The Conference Premier League champions left their Kenilworth Road ground at 11:30 BST and travelled to St George's Square.

BBC Three Counties Radio hosted a staged event before the squad went to a private reception in the town hall.

Club managing director Gary Sweet said the day was a "celebration of heroes".

The promotion party came five years after the club last toured the town on an open top bus as winners of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

But that 2008/9 season also saw the club's relegation to the Conference Premier League.

Image caption Luton Town fans gathered at the team's Kenilworth Road stadium where the parade began

'Runaway champions'

Luton Council said it believed about 12,000 fans had packed into St George's Square alone for the celebration.

Town mayor, councillor Sheila Roden, said it had seemed "an awfully long five years" since relegation but this year they were "runaway champions".

They ended the 2013/2014 campaign with 101 points, 19 points ahead of second place Cambridge United, and 102 goals.

Image caption The team travelled on the bus from Kenilworth Road to St George's Square in the town centre
Image caption "Luton is on the up in so many ways and we hope that our fantastic season on the pitch will heighten the feel-good factor in the town at the moment,” club managing director Gary Sweet said

Manager John Still said: "The football side sometimes takes time [to sort out] but without a shadow of a doubt what glued it together was [the fans], you are fantastic."

"To take something on that some people think is not possible .... well we made it possible."

Club captain Ronnie Henry said:"There's a lot of people here today and we need to enjoy it because [these days] don't come very often."

Image caption Club captain Ronnie Henry said he "knew [the day] was going to be special"
Image caption About 12,000 fans packed into St George's Square in Luton to cheer the players on the main stage
Image caption A sea of orange greeted the players when they arrived in the town centre

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