Kindred Premier League hopefuls are on the verge of storybook revivals without betting the ranch to get back to the big time
In an era of chronic overspend, transfer embargoes and points deductions for breaking financial rules, how refreshing that two teams who live within their means will contest the Championship playoff final, the English Football League’s showpiece event and a game worth at least £170m to the winner. Not so long ago Luton Town and Coventry City, clubs with a rich tapestry of top-flight moments, were black and blue – it is only five years since they were lining up against each other in League Two – but now they are on the verge of the bells and whistles of the Premier League.
It is the reason the Coventry manager, Mark Robins, described Saturday’s final at Wembley one for the romantics. Coventry spent 34 years in the top tier before being relegated in 2001. Luton were relegated in 1992 after a 10-year stay. Coventry lifted the FA Cup 1987 and Luton the League Cup the following year. Mick Harford was part of that Luton team in 1988. The club’s former manager, assistant manager and now chief recruitment officer says Luton’s story, from stomaching a 30-point deduction that brought relegation to non-league in 2009 to being this close to the big time, is fit for a film. But who would play Harford? “Who’s got a broken nose and dodgy knees?” he says, smiling. “It’s got to be Brad Pitt, hasn’t it?”
Written by Ben Fisher
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/football/2023/may/26/parallel-lives-coventry-and-lutons-long-roads-collide-in-playoff-final under the title “Parallel lives: Coventry and Luton’s long roads collide in playoff final”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.