Jack Walton felt his pulse race as Luton Town completed their Wembley fairytale.
But the confident keeper is determined to ensure Dundee United fans don’t endure any heart-stopping moments during the Tangerines’ own promotion push.
Walton, 25, joined the Hatters from Barnsley in January and, despite injury robbing him of the chance to stake a concerted claim for the gloves, he relished being part of an unforgettable run to the promised land of the Premier League.
The London underdogs secured a third-place finish in the Championship before seeing off Sunderland in the playoff semi-final.
And they completed a stunning rise to the top-flight — for the first time since 1992 — by defeating Coventry City following a nerve-shredding 1-1 draw under the famous arches of the English national stadium.
“The play-off final was amazing,” smiled Walton. “Although watching it was horrible — it was the longest three hours of my life! It was nail-biting stuff. We should have been well ahead and then we almost lost it in the second half.
“Thankfully, I wasn’t wearing a heart monitor because God knows what it would have said.
“I did the warm-up, as I was third choice on the day, and when they missed the penalty for us to win it I was straight on the park. How I didn’t do my hamstring, with the way I sprinted? I will never know.
“We deserved what we got as the boys were brilliant and they have so much quality in the squad. I am looking forward to seeing what they can do. They have been written off by a lot of people but they might surprise a few.”
Highs and lows
That was the third promotion-winning squad Walton has been involved in, having reached the Championship twice with Barnsley during a yo-yo period for the Tykes.
While still relatively youthful, particularly for a goalkeeper, Walton boasts 43 appearances in the English Championship and plenty of formative experiences ahead of his arrival on loan at Tannadice.
“I was at Barnsley from 15 and stayed for years,” he recalled. “I had two promotions. I was really young for one, then was a part of the second one (2018/19).
“I’ve had a relegation there as well so I know how it feels for Dundee United.
“At Barnsley, we turned it back into a positive quickly to kick on the next season. That’s what we want to do here.”
Walton has already impressed United fans with a series of solid showings between the sticks, most recently making a couple of super stops to deny Callumn Morrison and Brad McKay as the Terrors defeated Falkirk 1-0 on Tuesday.
And his self-assured presence on the pitch is mirrored by his determination off it.
“I have come here for promotion,” continued Walton. “I have played games in the Championship and League One, so I have a lot of experience. Now I am ready to kick on and play a full season; starting week-in and week-out.
“We have high expectations here and I enjoy that pressure. I am a winner. I know what it takes to be in a winning dressing room — simple things like togetherness, spirit and making sure you work hard for your team-mates.
“If someone makes a mistake, someone else is there to help them. You need that.
“And I can feel we have everything here to be successful.”