Ex-Hatter Naismith reveals chance to work with the 'best manager in the league' and join a side who want to 'go and get promoted' were his main reasons for joining Bristol City

Defender speaks following his move from Kenilworth Road to Ashton Gate

By Mike Simmonds
Saturday, 28th May 2022, 8:51 am
Kal Naismith has been discussing his move from Luton to Bristol City
Kal Naismith has been discussing his move from Luton to Bristol City

Former Luton defender Kal Naismith admitted the chance to work with the ‘best manager in the league’ in Nigel Pearson and join a side who wants to ‘go and get promoted,’ were his main reasons for leaving the Hatters to head to Bristol City yesterday.

The 30-year-old opted to call time on an impressive 18 months at Kenilworth Road, especially last term, when he was voted Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season, a big part of Luton’s rise to the play-offs under Nathan Jones, who was named EFL Manager of the Season, and just missed out on the LMA award, pipped by Liverpool chief Jurgen Klopp, to sign a three year deal at Ashton Gate.

He moves to a Robins side who finished 17th last season, some 11 places and 20 points below the Hatters, and 19th the previous year, linking up with the experienced Pearson who led Leicester to the League One title in 2009, plus the Championship title five years later, also having spells in charge of Southampton, Hull, Derby and Watford.

Speaking to the Robins official website about the move, Naismith said: “What attracted me to come here was the manager, the stature of the manager, the players, the fanbase.

"The high performance centre is incredible and a massive bonus, I'll love driving through the gates every day to come to work here and give it my all but ultimately I want to be at a club that wants to move in the right direction, wants to win, wants to go and get promoted, wants to go and do all those things and that was my main reason for coming to the club.

"I wanted to be somewhere where we can create a winning environment and that's the thing I'll be concentrating on here.

"The club is huge, the club is massive, the players at the club are great.

"We've got one of the best managers, if not the best manager in the league, who has done absolutely everything in the game, an absolutely amazing coach.

"There’s everything here for it to be a successful club on the pitch and ultimately that’s up to the players to give everything every day, never go through the motions, always try to get better day in day out and I believe if we do that, the quality we’ve got here, it will stand us in good stead."

After playing both legs of Town’s play-off semi-final defeat to Huddersfield earlier this month, Naismith, who bagged four goals in 68 games for the Hatters after joining in January 2021, carving out a real niche for himself as the left centre half in a three man defence, was keen to get his move sorted,

He continued: “It feels great to get it done and it feels brilliant to be here.

"It's a huge club and I'm just massively excited to be a part of it.

"It was something I wanted, I was pushing to try and get promoted last year with my previous club and we fell short of that.

"My full focus was on that, but as soon as that was done I spoke to my agent, I spoke to my missus and that was something we wanted to get done quick.

"We didn't want to wait around, I can go and enjoy my holidays now, enjoy some time off with my family, and ultimately look forward and know where I'm going to be come the start of the season.”

Naismith’s stellar displays for Luton last year were enough for him to be selected for the EA Sports FIFA 22 EFL Team of the Season, while he was also tipped to be in the running for a Scotland call-up too.

He is now determined to carry on those high level performances at his new club, adding: “I want to take on my form from last year straight into this year.

"I know at the start it will be getting to know my team-mates, building relationships with them on and off the pitch which is all stuff I'm looking forward to and then I want to make as much of an impact as I can at this club on the pitch.

"I want to make an impact off the pitch too, I love being part of the city, if I can help young lads, I'm obviously a bit older now, but I believe I can add to the boys on and off the pitch so that’s something that I'll look to do.

"There's so many good young players, so many good experienced players that I’m looking forward to working with as well that have had incredible careers that are still hungry, that are still doing really well at a top level.

"There's places we can definitely strengthen and get better at, I think we can be a real force next year and I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do.”