Luton chief Graeme Jones didn’t think it would be ‘ethically correct’ to leave his role at West Bromwich Albion in January and join the Hatters.
Once Nathan Jones had left Kenilworth Road for Stoke City, his namesake Graeme was Town’s number one target, the only issue being that he already had a job, number two to Darren Moore at the Hawthorns.
Although Jones himself was interested in a first venture into management, he wasn’t ever going to jump ship, meaning Luton would have to bide their time to get their man.
That they did, with Mick Harford agreeing to become interim boss, leading the club to the Championship.
Jones said: “On the ninth of January, I could have come in and become Luton manager, I did not want to leave Darren Moore.
“Darren Moore has been a friend for 25 years, somebody I respect.
“I didn’t want to leave West Bromwich Albion Football Club, we were in the middle of a campaign to get out of the league.
“I don’t think it’s ethically correct to do that in the middle of a season, and at that point, they were my priority.
“I wasn’t prepared to leave Darren, I wasn’t prepared to leave West Brom, and the players, the players there were fantastic.
“I enjoyed working with every single one of them and enjoyed the football club, so I was totally committed to that.
“If it wasn’t for Gary’s (Sweet) sensitivity with the talks and Mick’s sensitivity and David Wilkinson’s, then I wouldn’t be in this position.
“They had to understand that I was committed to that.
“That’s why I’m grateful to Mick Harford because he took the reins and obviously guided the club to the position they’re in today, so all those things were important to me.”
Matters changed for Jones during March though, as both he and Moore were sacked by the Baggies, despite being fourth in the Championship.
He admitted to a sense of surprise by the club’s decision, saying: “I’ll be delighted if on the ninth of March this year if Luton have got 61 points and are one of the top goalscorers in the Championship.
“It’s a Premier League club that came down and that’s not easy as Stoke have found out, as Swansea have found out, to make that club competitive.
“There’s a real after effect when you get relegated from the Premier League and to make the club competitive is one of the things I’m most proud of in my career.
“Myself and Darren changed a style of play which isn’t easy, it takes time, sometimes it costs you results, and I think we were in a strong position.
“But the club decided to make a decision, which is their right and we all abide by it, and I’m now just looking forward as I’m in a privileged position at Luton Town.
“These things didn’t work out exactly how everybody planned, but as long as your conscious is clear and you give your best, then you can be happy and I certainly am.”
Knowing he had been the Hatters’ only target to replace Jones in the hot-seat was a huge reason in taking over the club too, as he continued: “Well it’s another contributing factor of why I’m sitting here.
“I would have never applied for a job, I think my CV as an assistant is enough, for somebody that was intelligent enough to see it, and Gary was.
“So when we sat down, we’re very like-minded, you either connect or you don’t that’s really how I am as a person and I felt that instantly, so it’s been very positive.”
Although Town were at the summit of League One when Jones agreed to become manager, he would have joined the club even if they had missed out on going up this term.
He added: “Once I agreed with Gary in early February I was going to take the job.
“If it was League One, it was League One, I’d committed to the football club because I liked what I saw.”