Luton Endure Agony in Defeat to West Ham at London Stadium, but the Hatters and Rob Edwards Aren’t Done Yet in the Premier League

Luton Endure Agony in Defeat to West Ham at London Stadium, but the Hatters and Rob Edwards Aren’t Done Yet in the Premier League

Rob Edwards was overcome with emotion as he and his Luton players stood in front of the away end at West Ham.

Defeat here all but sealed their relegation back to the Championship and Edwards wiped away tears as the Luton supporters continued to sing and applaud his side for their efforts.

Edwards is a young manager at 41 and the pain of relegation must sting, but this will surely not be the last we see of him or Luton in the Premier League.

‘This is my third year in management,’ Edwards said. ‘I have won a league title, been sacked, got promoted through the play-offs and now relegation, so it’s not been dull. But this just fuels the fire to get back. We will be in a stronger position to attack it than the last time we were in the Championship.

‘Then we got promoted with one of the smallest budgets. That won’t be the case now. We will be one of the stronger teams.’ Edwards and his players were also applauded off the pitch by the West Ham supporters, who had stayed behind for David Moyes’ farewell.

Rob Edwards tearfully watched on as Luton’s relegation was all but sealed in defeat to West Ham

Despite taking an early lead, the visitors ultimately suffered a 3-1 loss at the London Stadium

Despite taking an early lead, the visitors ultimately suffered a 3-1 loss at the London Stadium

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‘That was touching,’ Edwards said. ‘Maybe the fact we’ve been brave and not stepped off teams has changed people’s minds along the way. We brought a certain spirit, the underdog factor, and we changed opinions as we went. What makes me proud is how much we have improved in the hardest league in the world.

‘We have some what-ifs but I’m not making excuses. Every team who goes down will have them. We have fallen short but we have to learn and keep improving. We know we haven’t got enough points or results but I’d like to think it is about this, earning people’s respect because you want to earn points. We do want to do it in a certain way.’

Edwards was embraced by Moyes at the final whistle, with the West Ham boss also offering some words of comfort.

It was Moyes’ last game at the London Stadium before he leaves at the end of the season, and the Scot admitted he was emotional, while remaining mindful of how Edwards and his players would be feeling.

The Hatters were applauded off the pitch in a show of respect from the home fans

The Hatters were applauded off the pitch in a show of respect from the home fans

Hammers boss David Moyes heaped praise on the 41-year-old for his efforts this season

Hammers boss David Moyes heaped praise on the 41-year-old for his efforts this season

‘He’s a young manager who is doing a brilliant job at Luton,’ said Moyes. ‘I’ve been relegated and it’s a horrible feeling. The effort Luton have put in has been huge. They have kept it going until the last days of the season.’

It would be no surprise to see Edwards linked with other clubs in the Premier League should an opportunity present itself next season. But he insisted he is focused on improving himself as a coach and manager.

‘I am learning all the time and there is more that I don’t know than I do know,’ he added.

‘I’ve loved going up against the best and it makes me hungry to be here again. The fire is burning.’

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