Luton Town will not for one second risk themselves financially to compete in the Championship next season.
That was the message from chief executive Gary Sweet after the Hatters were crowned League One champions last weekend.
Sweet was part of the 2020 consortium who took over in July 2008, just before the FA decided to impose a 30-point penalty on the club, as they dropped into the Conference the following season.
The CEO vowed that would never happen again, despite moving into a league where Town’s budget will be dwarfed by almost all their opponents.
He said: “There’s a lot of talk about how much more money we get, from broadcast rights, sponsorship rights from the league and it is a significant increase.
“But it’s probably only about a third of the increase that you might need to spend to be an average payer of salaries for footballers.
“So it’s going to become much, much more difficult for us to compete at that level.
“We’re filling Kenilworth Road, we’re maxing out our income broadly in League One, other than that uplifting in broadcasting, there’s not a lot else we can get.
“So we’ve got to be realistic about that and the one thing that I and we as a board will refuse to do is overstretch.
“We won’t risk, we’ve had too much of that in the past, we won’t risk the football club’s finances to chase an ambitious dream.
“We’ll only bring in a squad that we can afford, so the pressure’s on Mick (Harford) actually.
“This is really all about recruitment in our view and playing style.
“We are going to be asking an awful lot of our scouts and recruitment team, but also the manager and the coaches to get the best out of the team, it’s going to be a challenge.
“But I think it’s what we’re good at, we are very, very good.
“We praise Mick for being a safe pair of hands for the second half of the season, but actually what he’s particularly good at is identifying players that fit into our football styles, so we’ve got a lot of confidence that we can continue that in the Championship.”