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It’s a difficult day – Luton boss Rob Edwards in tears as relegation looms

Luton manager Rob Edwards wipes away tears at the final whistle (Victoria Jones/PA).
Luton manager Rob Edwards wipes away tears at the final whistle (Victoria Jones/PA).

Rob Edwards was in tears after hugging Luton captain Tom Lockyer in front of the away supporters as their relegation was all but confirmed by a 3-1 defeat at West Ham.

The Luton boss saw his side give themselves a fighting chance of taking the survival battle to the final day when Albert Sambi Lokonga headed them into an early lead.

But second-half goals from James Ward-Prowse, Tomas Soucek and teenager George Earthy left the Hatters resigned to a return to the Championship.

Lockyer, who collapsed on the pitch after suffering a cardiac arrest in December, was at Edwards’ side when the final whistle blew.

“It was really difficult, hugging Locks at the end and seeing how the supporters reacted made me emotional,” said Edwards, whose side are not yet mathematically down as Nottingham Forest were beaten by Chelsea in the late kick-off.

“It’s a difficult day. What I said to our players and staff in the dressing room afterwards was ‘thank you’. They, along with our fans and the board, have given me the best 18 months of my life.

“I wanted to thank them today. We didn’t get relegated because of today. I am really disappointed that I am the one responsible, I feel that way, that we’ve not been able to do it.”

The Hatters players were applauded off by West Ham’s fans, illustrating the respect their efforts have earned this season.

“We’ve thrown everything at it but just come up short,” Edwards added. “It was difficult for us and in the end has just been a bit too much for us. But I’ve loved it and it fuels the fire to get back into it.”

There were emotions of a different kind as David Moyes waved farewell to the London Stadium after his final home match in charge of West Ham.

A smattering of boos followed Moyes down the tunnel after a poor first half, but all was forgiven after a vastly-improved display in the second.

“I was certainly emotional because I’ve been here four-and-a-half years,” said the Scot, who won West Ham’s first trophy in 43 years in last season’s Europa Conference League.

“I was a bit subdued because I knew what the other manager was going through.

David Moyes waves to the West Ham fans
David Moyes waves to the West Ham fans (Victoria Jones/PA).

“But it was good to see. Sometimes all you hear is negative stuff, but it looked like the best part of 50,000 supporters stayed behind in appreciation, which was good. I am really pleased about that.

“To join any football club and do something with them is not easy for any manager.

“Hopefully I will walk away with people saying something has been done here. Expectations have increased like you can’t believe.

“From a team which avoided relegation, now this is a club saying we want to be in Europe every year. It is a big turnaround in a few years.”