Brabin determined to win Luton fans over

Town assistant boss Gary Brabin
Town assistant boss Gary Brabin

Luton assistant boss Gary Brabin is determined to earn the respect from the Hatters fans and convince them he is the right man for the job during his second spell at the club.

The 48-year-old returned to Kenilworth Road in the summer, named as number two by new manager Graeme Jones.

Brabin’s previous stint at the club had seen him start as chief scout in October 2009, then becoming assistant to Richard Money, before taking charge himself in March 2011.

He was sacked just over a year later though, when the club dropped out of the play-off places, going on to manager Southport and Tranmere Rovers, amongst other jobs, before Jones came calling.

Speaking about his return, Brabin said: “I want to earn that respect as the fans probably haven’t seen the best of me yet.

“This is an opportunity for me now to try and win those fans over and hopefully we can be part of something that brings more success to the club.

“As well as having the experience of last time I had the job, I feel like I’m a better all-rounded coach and person.

“I always look at the positive side of things, it was a good experience, I’m really proud that I’ve managed this club.

“It’s something that I’ve always cherished and you look at some of the best managers, they don’t win all the fans over.

“I think I’m coming here this time, a better person, a better equipped coach.

“I’d like to be part of the next big success and hopefully convince those fans that did doubt that I am the right person.

“I’ve moved to the area now, I speak to a lot of fans and they’ve been brilliant.

“They’ve made me feel really welcome, made my family feel really welcome so I’m looking forward to it.”

On how he has been received so far by the Town supporters, he continued: "There has been a lot of genuine support.

"Without being over the top, it’s a club that obviously means something to me.

"I had my first child when I lived here, so for her to come back, it seems quite weird for me and my wife bringing my daughter back to where she lived.

"There is a lot of little personal things as well, but overall I’m delighted to come back."

Brabin, who had been a penalty shoot-out away from leading Town back into the Football League himself, losing to AFC Wimbledon at the Etihad Stadium in May 2012, did have to weigh up certain things before agreeing to take the position offered.

He continued: “I think I’ve got skin like a rhino, so I’m not going to be one of those people who takes things personally, but I just didn’t want to come here and put Graeme under any immediate pressure, or the people behind the scenes.

“I didn’t want to put any under any unnecessary pressure by being a negative.

"Everyone I got to meet and speak to, I think I had a good relationship with those people, but obviously the supporters I don’t feel have seen the best of me.

“I was only caretaker when I first took over. I remember being excited if I got promoted, I always knew the job would be a little easier if we got promoted after that.

“So when we missed out on that penalty shoot-out I knew it was going to be a tough job, and it was one that I had to really think long and hard about before I eventually took the job.

“I knew there was a lot of work to be done, I felt during that period that I had to change a lot.

“There were a lot of players that were probably on the decline in their careers.

"We had to change things round to move forward and I felt I had made strides in that, with the signings I’d made.

“It was tough when I left but you have to dust yourself down and get on with your own career.

“I’ve been delighted for the people I did get really close with at the club who live down this end of the world that I‘ve stayed friends with.

“And I was delighted for the club to have the success that they’ve had.

“It seems unbelievable now it’s back where it’s at and I’ve got another opportunity to come here and work again.”

Although Brabin was dismissed with seven games to go of the 2011-12 season, he still remained firm friends with members of the Hatters hierarchy.

That played a part in what was a difficult decision in moving his whole family back to Bedfordshire, as Brabin added: “I have my opinion on my spell here as a manager, I always knew it was going to be tough, but I’ve always watched them, I’ve been proud and delighted for the club that has got back to where it wanted.

“To be some part of that, I’m proud that I’ve been a manager of this football club.

“To see where it is now, and to get the chance to come back and be part of it in the Championship, and have another go at it, it’s a great feeling personally.

“I’ve always kept in touch and congratulated certain people when the club’s had success and done well.

“It was a great opportunity for me to come back, it was a big decision for me to come back too.

"Since I’ve left here, I’d settled back in the north and the jobs I’ve had have never caused me to have to leave home.

“So it was a big decision, my kids are at school and once I made the decision to come here, it was a decision that I wanted my whole family to make with me.

“We’ve moved back down here and we’re really enjoying it, the kids started school and it’s been a real experience.

“But I’m not the type of person I concentrate too much on myself.

"I’ve got a job here to do, and I’ll try to bring some more success to the football club.”