sport news It was pure instinct to run on... I was like a crazy kangaroo, wasn't I? David ...

The brown suit was given away to a charity shop and the shoes were sold off at auction for £4,000. There is, of course, no price on the memories.

It is 35 years since David Pleat made his famous dash across the green grass of Maine Road on the final afternoon of the 1983 First Division season.

‘I was like a crazy kangaroo, wasn’t I?’ recalled Pleat with a smile.

David Pleat recalls the story of how his Luton side avoided relegation 35 years ago

David Pleat recalls the story of how his Luton side avoided relegation 35 years ago

Pleat masterminded Luton's survival against all the odds in the 1982/83 season in Division One

Pleat masterminded Luton's survival against all the odds in the 1982/83 season in Division One

Pleat sat down with Sportsmail's Football Editor, Ian Ladyman, to talk about his career

Pleat sat down with Sportsmail's Football Editor, Ian Ladyman, to talk about his career

In a relegation shoot-out at Manchester City, Pleat’s Luton Town team prevailed by a single goal scored with five minutes to go by a substitute, Yugoslavian midfielder Raddy Antic. Luton stayed up and City — who only needed a draw to survive — went down.

‘I laugh when I see managers these days showing players all these bits of paper before a sub goes on,’ added Pleat this week.

‘That day I just said, “Raddy, good luck. If you get a chance to shoot, take it...”

‘Maybe he was listening. He scored one of the most valuable goals in Luton’s history.

Pleat runs onto the pitch at the final whistle after his side avoided relegation at Maine Road

Pleat runs onto the pitch at the final whistle after his side avoided relegation at Maine Road

The former manager remembers his dance and says he looked like a 'crazy kangaroo'

The former manager remembers his dance and says he looked like a 'crazy kangaroo'

A manager’s gravestone should say... ‘One more goal’ - David Pleat 

‘Had we gone down, we may never have come back. But we stayed in the top division for eight more years. I joke that on a manager’s gravestone it should say: “Just one more goal”. That’s all you pray for sometimes. Just one more. It was the difference between success and failure, survival and relegation.

‘At the end I just instinctively ran on to the field. It is a blur now and I have no idea what I was thinking about. It was the release of pent-up emotion. It was pride. That’s what I felt.

‘It was my team. I had built it and to stay up meant everything.

‘Maybe that dance and that suit is what I am remembered for, which is a bit of a shame because it eclipses the progress we made. But I am OK with it.’

Two days before the biggest game of his burgeoning managerial career, Pleat’s father-in-law had died. ‘I was emotional and all over the place really,’ he told Sportsmail.

Already it had been a strange week for a team trying to survive at the end of their first year in the top division.

Luton were ending the season badly and had lost 5-1 at home to Everton on the penultimate Saturday, then 3-0 at on the Monday to pitch them into a fight to the death at City. Before the serious stuff, Pleat took the curious decision to fulfil a promise to play a testimonial game at Watford on the Tuesday night.

Luton and Graham Taylor’s Watford were fierce rivals and had been promoted together from the Second Division the season before.

Pleat recalled: ‘We got terrible stick from the Watford fans that night. They sang that we were going down, but at half-time Graham got on the microphone in the centre circle and told his fans to shut up. That was classy.

Pleat shows his frustration at his players during a game at Luton's Kenilworth Road

Pleat shows his frustration at his players during a game at Luton's Kenilworth Road

Graham Taylor celebrates after managing Watford to promotion from Division Two in 1979

Graham Taylor celebrates after managing Watford to promotion from Division Two in 1979

‘We were the same age and background. We were huge rivals with different styles. He started at Lincoln six months before I did at Nuneaton.

‘I played the game because I felt I should honour the promise and in some ways it perhaps took the players’ minds off the big match ahead.’

Pleat had taken over at Luton at the age of 33 in 1978. Slowly he had assembled an attractive team of players from the bottom of the league pyramid and further down.

Striker Brian Stein had come from Edgware Town and defender Mal Donaghy from Larne in Northern Ireland, while midfielder Ricky Hill had been picked up straight from school. ‘I used to read a column in the Telegraph about budding non-League players,’ Pleat explained.

‘I got the local papers delivered from around the country and read snippets on players in the bath after training. When I spotted Stein at Edgware, I was actually there to watch another player.’

At Maine Road on May 14, 1983, City fielded a more glamorous team featuring the likes of Dennis Tueart, Asa Hartford, Ray Ranson and Kevin Bond.

‘We shouldn’t have had a chance really, but my team could play and I knew that,’ said Pleat.

‘Yes, we were underdogs and we were nervous. But as we left our hotel in Stafford, there was a cavalcade of cars with orange scarves driving up the motorway to Manchester and that was fantastic. It was like me saying to the players, “You are not alone”.

‘We had music on the bus, as usual. I remember hearing True by Spandau Ballet on the radio. Somehow the players delivered for me.’

Reports of the game suggest that City, managed by John Benson, froze. The home team registered barely a shot on target. ‘Afterwards I just ran to my great captain, Brian Horton,’ said Pleat.

‘City fans were on the pitch. It was slightly volatile, but I was just so pleased and proud of what we had done.

‘Afterwards, City chairman Peter Swales was there in his platform shoes and with his hairpiece on. He was almost in tears. He said, “I am pleased for you but this will kill us”. I said it would have been worse for us. They came back. We may not have.

Afterwards, City chairman Peter Swales was there with his hairpiece on... he was in tears - Pleat 

‘I remember going into the City treatment room to find John. He was a lovely man and I wanted to commiserate. Anyway, Eddie Large, the comedian, was in there with him. I will always remember that. I didn’t know what to say. I was just a bit embarrassed.’

Outside Maine Road, as the Luton coach headed home, there was more drama.

‘The City fans were going crazy,’ said Pleat. ‘It was “Swales out” and “Sack the Board”.

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