Sweet ‘amazed’ that new Luton boss Jones hasn’t managed before

Town chief executive Gary Sweet is amazed that new Luton boss Graeme Jones is taking his first steps as a manager with the Hatters.

Wednesday, 8th May 2019, 9:13 am
New Luton boss Graeme Jones with Thierry Henry and Roberto Martinez during his time at Belgium - Getty Images

The 49-year-old was appointed last week as the new number one at Kenilworth Road, taking over from Mick Harford.

He has a hugely impressive CV as an assistant to date, starting at Swansea City under Roberto Martinez.

Jones then followed the Spaniard to Wigan, Everton and Belgium, whom he was with at last year’s World Cup, helping them to achieve third place.

He then joined forces with Darren Moore at West Bromwich Albion, before the pair left their roles back in March.

Sweet said: “We knew Graeme from a distance going back some time.

“He’s had an illustrious career as an assistant manager, he’s got excellent pedigree.

“If you think when he takes over, we’ve not probably had a manager ever that’s got the kind of pedigree that Graeme’s got.

“He’s effectively managed or coached World Cup players on the biggest stage and arguably they might have been the best team in the world at that time.

“But through Premier League, Championship, and what we quite like about him as well is that he’s played from non-league football, all the way through in the lower levels. So actually he’s really grounded, he’s connected with the kind of culture we’ve got.

“When we met him, you can see that he’s very honest, honourable, straight and we like that, for obvious reasons, that’s what we are, we like to think of ourselves as that.

“I think from a character point of view, he’ll fit in instantly, and has done actually, we’ve been working with him for a long time now, so he has done.

“In terms of his football brain, his ability, he’s got his own style and this is why I think we’re really so lucky to tempt him into management.

“I’m amazed that he hasn’t done it before, because Graeme has got his own mind, his own ideas on football philosophy, on how to play.

“Those ideas are very, very similar in the way we want to entertain as a club, they won’t be too far away from the type of football we’re playing at the moment.”

Sweet also confirmed that the majority of the current squad and coaching staff will remain at the club, although he does expect Jones to bolster where he feels necessary.

He added: “It won’t need huge amount of personnel change within the squad,only just really improvement where we can get that.

“Likewise with staff and coaches. We’ve got coaches here, we want to be a stable club, stability means you keep as many people as you can for as long as you can, as long as they can continue in the right way.

“We had that discussion, we think that people here can also continue next season.

“Of course there’ll be one or two people he’ll want to bring in, but going up to the Championship, we’ll probably want to bolster the staff anyway, so I think it works perfectly.”

The fact that this will be Jones’ first role is of no concern to Sweet either, having seen the impact that previous incumbent Nathan Jones had in his maiden move into management.

He added: “You might ask that he’s never managed before, so is that a risk?

“I don’t think so. Nathan was a similar risk and that paid off very, very well.

“We’re a football club that has to be bold, has to do things differently to be able to compete.

“If we do what everyone else does, we will only really compete as far as our budget will allow and that will probably be at the bottom of the league.

“Graeme has been the chief coach, the head coach in the past, Roberto gave him an awful lot of authority within the structure when he worked with him for 11 years.

“Likewise Darren Moore did the same, so we know an awful lot about what he’s contributed to those clubs and he’s done almost half the manager’s job in the past anyway.”