Luton confirm Graeme Jones as the club's new manager
Luton have announced that former West Bromwich Albion assistant Graeme Jones will become the Hatters’ new manager from Tuesday.
The 49-year-old has signed a deal until the summer of 2022 and will take over a Town side in the second tier of English football, following their promotion to the Championship under Mick Harford was confirmed on Tuesday night.
Jones' appointment was secured earlier in the season, with the club preferring to wait until the campaign was concluded before making public, as a statement on the Hatters' official website said: "Graeme has agreed a three-year contract to take charge at Kenilworth Road until 2022, the terms of which were satisfactorily agreed in February, whichever league we would have been playing in, after amicable consultation with his then club West Bromwich Albion.
"The Hatters’ board were insistent on not disrupting another club’s season, and Graeme did not want to break the commitment he had made to both West Brom – as they bid to win promotion back to the Premier League – and his manager Darren Moore.
"The Championship club parted company with their management team in March, but despite Graeme’s early availability, we rightly continued to honour our commitment to Mick, just as he committed to the club.
"There will be minimal disruption to players and staff in the summer, and Graeme – who in recent weeks, since the severance of his contract with West Brom, has been fulfilling Mick’s usual role – has been fully respectful of Mick and his coaches being solely responsible for the team without interference."
Jones' playing career saw him have spells at Doncaster Rovers, Wigan Athletic, Southend United, Boston United and Bury in the Football League, as well as St Johnstone, Clyde and Hamilton Academical in Scotland, after working his way up from non-League football with North Shields and Bridlington Town.
He won the league's Golden Boot when at Wigan, netting 33 goals in the 1996-97 Division Three title-winning campaign and also lift the Auto Windscreens Shield with victory over Millwall at Wembley in 1999.
While at Athletic, he met Roberto Martinez, a team-mate with whom he would go on to build a glowing reputation as one of the most experienced assistant managers in the game.
Jones worked as the Spaniard’s number two for 11 years, first winning League One at Swansea City and spending a season in the Championship, then for four campaigns in the Premier League with Wigan, where he won the FA Cup against Manchester City in 2013.
He worked for another three in the top-flight with Martinez at Everton before moving into international football with Belgium.
After spending two years helping Martinez and Thierry Henry leading the likes of Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku to the World Cup, finishing third in Russia last summer, Jones returned to English football to become assistant head coach to Moore at West Brom following their relegation from the top-flight.
The pair left the Hawthorns in March despite West Brom being fourth in the Championship and just nine points adrift of the automatic promotion places.