Although he’s done it the hard way, new Hatters Peter Kioso wouldn’t change his route to the Football League one bit after signing for Luton last week.
The 20-year-old had started out in the academy at MK Dons, before being released as a teenager.
Rather than let that be the end of his dream of making it as a pro though, Kioso went to Dunstable Town for a season, where his performances caught the eye of a number of clubs, including Hartlepool United, whom he joined in the summer of 2018.
Quickly becoming a fans favourite at Victoria Park, his displays alerted the attentions of the Hatters, who made their move a week ago, with Kioso arriving for an undisclosed fee.
Speaking about his journey to Kenilworth Road, Kioso said: “I’ve done it the hard way, but in my opinion the best way. You learn and you get a lot more experience from doing it that way and playing men’s football as well.
“After I left school, all I had in my mind was what I want to do is football, and no matter how I was going to do it, I was going to make sure I did it.
“I wanted to be at the top and play at the top and I still want to do that.
“Every day I just have to have the mindset that I need to work hard and play hard so I can get there.”
On his time at Creasey Park, where he was managed by former Luton youth coach Tony McCool, Kioso believed it definitely help him develop at a young age.
He said: “It was extraordinary as the time I was there, it was a period where no-one was getting paid, so we were playing for free.
“I didn’t have it in my mind about the money, I just had it in my mind about working hard and trying to get to the next stage.
“My brother, he was playing at Dunstable and he spoke to the manager.
“I told my brother ‘I’m not playing anywhere at the moment, so I might as well go there,’ and I ended up playing right back, my brother left back, so it was a good experience.
“I was still quite young, but at that age to be playing against men who are 30, and I’m only 18, I think that helped me a lot and made me mature quickly as well.
“I had a few (clubs) interested, but nothing concrete, nothing serious.
"So I ended up finishing my season and all thanks to God if you think about it, that luckily I was able to finish the season as I learned a lot more there than if I had left.”
When Kioso did decide to move, he certainly didn’t take an easy option either, preferring to travel the 230 miles to and relocate to Hartlepool.
It was an easy decision though, as he continued: “I didn’t have to think at all. I got the call, at the time it was Matthew Bates, he brought me in, a great manager and I have to give him loads of thanks as well, because he gave me a chance.
“I went there for what was supposed to be a weeks trial, did quite well, so after three days he signed me.
“It wasn’t something I had to think about, as soon as he called me, I said, ‘yes, I’m coming, when do you want me?’
“It was different, completely different to how it would be down south.
“First of all it’s freezing, and I’m from Ireland!
“Even though I was born in Ireland, that kind of freezing is completely different.
“It’s so windy as well, even when it’s hot it’s windy, so it was hard adjusting up there, but you get used to it.
“You have some boys that were up there with me that were from down south as well, so in my mind I had it that ‘if I suffer, you suffer with me,’ so it was all right.
“It was quite hard at the beginning as it’s a big step from Dunstable’s league to National League, but after a while you understand certain things you should be doing and certain things you shouldn’t be doing.
“Then as a player you mature as well and when you start learning, you start making better decisions.
“The fans were amazing with me, credit to them, from the get go.
“They all used to give me love, so I have to show them loads of respect as well, no matter where I am, I will always show them respect as they treated me like I was one of their own.”
However, once he knew of Luton’s interest in the transfer window, there was only one move on his mind, adding: “I heard about it on the Wednesday of the week that I had a game against Yeovil, so it was exciting for me as I thought Luton as a club are amazing club.
“They’ve produced so many great players, they’re ambitious and they always reach their goals.
"Every goal they’ve set they’ve reached and for me that's a great club for me to want to be at, and as soon as I heard that I wanted to get it done.