'Best 18 months of my life' - Edwards emotional as Luton face drop

Luton boss Rob Edwards says the club have given him "the best 18 months of my life" and impending relegation from the Premier League has only made him more determined to get back to the top flight.

Edwards looked crestfallen and wiped away a tear as he faced the Luton fans at London Stadium after their 3-1 defeat by West Ham on Saturday.

The Hatters boss admitted he was still feeling emotional when he faced the media 45 minutes after the final whistle.

The result leaves Luton all-but relegated with one game left, three points adrift of 18th-placed Nottingham Forest and needing a huge swing in goal difference to stay up.

"It is really difficult," he said. "How the supporters reacted made me emotional.

"I said thank you to the players because they, along with the fans and board, have given me the best 18 months of my life.

"It has been an incredible journey and I always believed. Even at half-time I believed and I feel responsible. I am so disappointed we have not been able to do it."

Luton led at half-time but were outclassed by West Ham after the break.

Their failure to win an away game since December and a lack of clean sheets ultimately proved their undoing.

However, after getting promoted with one of the smallest budgets in the Championship, Luton defied the odds for most of the season, earning respect and praise for the way they battled to survive.

As Edwards and his players made their way to the tunnel after acknowledging their own fans, they were warmly applauded by West Ham's supporters.

"That was touching," said Edwards. "Maybe the fact we have been brave and not stepped off teams changed people's minds along the way."

Edwards said that, while he has solely been focused on survival, behind the scenes Luton had a plan in place should the worst happen.

They will benefit from parachute payments next season and, although substantive talks with chief executive Gary Sweet have yet to take place, he is positive about the future.

"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,” he said.

"But this just fuels the fire to get back. We will be in a stronger position to attack it from 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."