Newcastle caretaker boss Graeme Jones will call on his experience as Luton manager when he leads the Magpies at Crystal Palace

Former Town chief had 'real lows' and 'real highs' at Kenilworth Road

Saturday, 23rd October 2021, 9:18 am
Updated Saturday, 23rd October 2021, 1:18 pm
Former Luton boss Graeme Jones with Steve Bruce at Newcastle

Former Luton boss Graeme Jones will draw on his experience from his time the dug-out at Kenilworth Road ahead of his first match in caretaker charge of Newcastle united against Crystal Palace this afternoon.

The 51-year-old was officially appointed Town chief back in May 2019 with the Hatters having won promotion to the Championship under Mick Harford.

It was to prove a tough first taste of life as a manager, with Jones who had a distinguished career as number two to Roberto Martinez at Wigan, Swansea, Everton and Belgium, leaving the Hatters by mutual consent when the coronavirus pandemic hit in April 2020, Luton sitting second bottom and seemingly on their way to League One.

Former boss Nathan Jones returned to save the day, as after a spell of four months out of work, Graeme Jones was back as first team coach at Bournemouth, before moving to his boyhood club Newcastle United in the same role in January.

With the club being taken over by a Saudi-based consortium earlier this month and boss Steve Bruce being relieved of his duties this week, Jones is now at the helm for the time being, the first time he will have led a team since Town's 0-0 draw at Wigan Athletic on March 7, 2020.

On using his Luton spell to prepare for the game at Selhurst Park, Jones told the Shields Gazette: “It certainly gave me the dress rehearsal to experience everything a manager goes through.

“I think in my time there I had some real lows, but also had some real highs.

“When you go through a difficult period, you’ve got to dig in.

“The ship had certainly turned when Nathan took over.

“From that point on, he’s done an incredible job. I just see everything as an experience, and one that I’ll certainly be calling on when I’m sat there in the dug-out.

“I don't know if I will be as happy as a manager because we haven't won a game yet.

"Everything I've got for this football club and make sure everybody standards are high, no matter what role I am given."

Jones will go into the game this afternoon knowing full well that his time as Magpies boss is expected to be a short one, as he continued: “I spoke to the owners on Wednesday morning and they have asked me to take the team on an interim basis for the next two games, so Crystal Palace and Chelsea at home.

"As I've said previously, I am fully focused on preparing the team the best we can to be competitive in those two games."

Having worked with Bruce for 10 months at St James' Parl, Jones was disappointed to see him out of a job this week, adding:” You never want to be in and around that in football because it means it has not worked.

"Initially on Wednesday, it was difficult, this is true.

"But we all know the speed of football and how quickly it needs to move on because if you miss a day or you miss a training session you are not as prepared as you could be for tomorrow's game.

"The focus quickly changed on Thursday and Friday in terms of positivity and getting the boys ready tactically for the game.”