Business as usual for Still despite Daggers ties

John Still
John Still

Hatters boss John Still has confirmed it will be business as usual when he sends his team out to face former club Dagenham & Redbridge tonight.

The Luton chief has a long and successful affiliation with the east London club, playing for Daggers and leading them from the Conference into League Two during his nine years at the helm.

Speaking about his mindset before the game, Still said: “It’s a weird feeling, it’s not one I was particularly looking forward to playing, yet I am now.

“It’s just another game, it will be nice to see some people that I know, and that’s good, but the most important thing is the game.

“I speak to Wayne (Burnett) their manager possibly every day. We haven’t spoke this week though and I probably won’t as that’s the nature of the game.

“When you think about it, I supported them, played for them, managed them, not just managed them, but I’d known the chairman when I was there, since I was 19.

“That’s how long that association is and people around it I’ve known for years. Players come and go, lots of the players there are not my players, but people around the boardroom and supporters, I’ve known for a long time.

“It’s not like you’ve been somewhere for five minutes, I was there for a long time and you build up relationships. Football is business though and business is business. This is business and it’s important business.

“Everything about what I do is no different than if we were playing someone else.

“As much as I want Dagenham to have great success, I’ve got to beat them. It’s never personal, it’s just the job and all I’m focused on is doing the job.”

Daggers are struggling in League Two this season, sitting in 19th position and Still is well aware, just staying in the division will be viewed as some achievement by the club.

He said: “They’re probably the first result I look for as I always want them to do well, because what that club has achieved over the last 10 years is a miracle.

“And that’s not just down to me, that’s the resources they do it on, players that have been sold, really has kept the club going.

“They haven’t got loads of supporters, but loyal supporters. People behind the scenes work terrifically hard and every time Dagenham stay up it’s a miracle on their resouces, I think they do fantastically, so every credit to everyone at the club.”

It’s the first time Still has come up against his old club in a competitive clash though and he knows it will be a weird feeling taking his place in the dug out.

He laughed: “I thought someone might be moaning at me! It’s good, when I go to Dagenham to watch games there, I always get a decent reception, which is nice.

“It will be nice to see some Dagenham supporters too, although I see them walking around the shops as I live so close.

“But this is really important for everyone, this isn’t about John Still and Terry Harris and what was, this is about Luton and Dagenham.

“It’s really important for both clubs that this is about trying to win football matches.

“The personal stuff has never really worried me either way, good or bad. I don’t get disheartened with negative comments and don’t jump through hopes with positive comments.

“I just go to work, do my job, if it’s good it’s good and when it’s not, some people won’t be happy and when it is people will be happy, that’s life.”

It’s not just Still and assistant Terry Harris who have close links to the visitors tonight, as Paul Benson, Scott Griffiths and Luke Wilkinson all played for the club, while Daggers have Town’s former midfielder Andre Boucaud in their ranks and Darren Currie among the backroom staff.

Still added: “Darren Currie, that’s played here, played for me at Barnet and Dagenham. There’s loads of connections, Paul, Luke and Scotty, people who are familiar there.

“Andre Boucaud, who was here too, but that happens in football and they’re all professionals.”