'Salesman' Jones discusses just how his 'passionate' presentations help give Luton an edge when attracting new signings

Town manager on why he goes into so much detail when meeting potential additions to the squad

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 2:12 pm
Updated Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 2:28 pm
Luton boss Nathan Jones
Luton boss Nathan Jones

Luton boss Nathan Jones has been speaking about just how he plays the role of ‘salesman’ when it comes to enticing new signings to Kenilworth Road with what has become his now infamous presentation to any potential arrival.

Attacker Carlos Mendes Gomes, the seventh of Town’s summer acquisitions so far, was the latest to reveal the crucial part his chat with Jones played in his decision to move to the Hatters from Morecambe, despite having offers from other clubs in the Championship.

The Town manager goes into some depth ahead of meeting his new additions, as even Cameron Jerome, at the age of 34, with eight clubs under his belt, admitted that it was something he had never experienced before in his career, left 'blown away' by his discussions with the Welshman.

Henri Lansbury is one of Town's new signings this season

It was the same for Fred Onyedinma, Reece Burke, Allan Campbell, Amari’i Bell and Henri Lansbury, a number describing the 'passion' that Jones displayed in their meetings, while you can trace it all the way back to Alan McCormack in June 2017, who said: "As soon as I met Nathan he made me believe in the direction the club is going.

"As soon as we had that conversation, I knew pretty early what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go and coming here feels like the right decision."

When asked just what led to him going into so much detail in his bid to persuade new signings to choose Luton as their home, Jones said: “I never had it in my playing career, but when you go and sign for a manager, I always signed for a manager that knew about me and had a clear way for where he saw me playing, that was it.

“But we take it to a different level here. They’re hand-picked so when I meet them they’re usually the number one choice.

New Town addition Reece Burke

“So I say, ‘this is the work we do, this is where I see you playing, this is why I want you, this is what you’re going to bring, this is how we train, philosophy and everything.'

“'If you buy into that, then this is what could happen to you and why you should join.’

“Without giving too much away, we’re very thorough, but we know exactly why.

“If I meet Cameron Jerome, I know exactly why I want Cameron Jerome and it’s for different reasons to why I want Elijah Adebayo, so they’re two different presentations, but with a lot of the same meat around the bones.

“What I do is that I go, 'I’m passionate about Luton Town, I’m passionate about what Luton Town do, I’m passionate about what we do within our role at Luton Town,' and I just try and sell that.

“It’s a bit like a salesman really.

"I have to talk a lot about the club, and I have to talk a lot about me, which is pretty much two of my favourite subjects.”

It is something that Jones took with him to his former club Stoke City as well, but he believes that by putting the work in ahead of trying to sell the Hatters to any potential signings, it helps Town get an upper hand on their rivals, who can put more money on the table than Luton have to offer.

He continued: “I did it at my other clubs as well and at some of those I had a far bigger budget.

“The level of detail is still exactly the same, but we have to have edges here.

“We have to get in early, we have to back our judgement, we have to back our work, our training and then we have to persuade them.

“I’ll be brutally honest with you, a lot of people have come here for less money than they could’ve earned elsewhere and that shows a real hunger.

“It shows a real desire and a real belief in what we do and that’s the level we’re at."

Even before making his seven new additions during the summer, Jones had set his sights on continuing his record of improving the club's league position ever since he was appointed manager for the first time back in January 2016.

After an impressive 12th place last term, which saw Town record their highest second points tally since the 1981-82 campaign, the Luton boss knows it makes it doubly important just who he brings into the squad, saying: "As we progress year in, year out, it gets more difficult, because to finish higher than last year, we really have to have a good season and really need to recruit well and have a good season.

“But those are the boundaries, those are what we want to push, so recruitment gets harder every time.

“I identified certain characteristics we needed within the squad.

"We’ve managed to get those and now it’s about putting the real finishing touches on it.

“Anyone that comes in now will be pretty much a real big player in terms of that, because of where we are and what we’ve already got.

“We don’t just add numbers now, it’s about can we get even better?

“To be fair to Gary (Sweet, chief executive) and the board, they have backed us.

“Now, we haven’t spent millions, we’ve been very shrewd with our business.

"We’ve had to sell the club, sell the business and what we do, and fortunately enough we’ve gone for the right characters that have bought into that.

“So, we’re in a very good place.

"I’m really happy where we are and the next six weeks will give us a real gauge of really where we are.”

To help him bring in his raft of summer signings, Jones reshaped his scouting team back in February, bringing in Phil Chapple as Head of Scouting Operations, plus Jay Socik as Head of Recruitment Analysis.

When discussing just how big a part the duo have played in Town's recent transfer activity, he added: "It's about 25 per cent stat based, 25 per cent scouts, 25 per cent what we actually know and 25 per cent of what we see when we go out now and watch games.

“There’s lots of things that we do.

“We brought in Jay Socik, which helps us statistically and flags up things.

“Then we’ve got Phil Chapple, who I pretty much trust with my life, with his eye.

“We’ve got Mick (Harford, assistant boss), myself, analysts, our own knowledge, in terms of Chris Cohen, Paul Hart, so there’s masses of things that go into it.

“We identify, we evaluate, we then get a list of targets, one, two and three, then I have to go and meet them and persuade them to come and sign.

“Once I do that then Gary (Sweet) has to go to the board to get the finance to do that and we’ve been very bold this year.

“We haven’t gone after easy targets and everyone we’ve signed has had masses of competition, so it’s been very, very good.

“Fred (Onyedinma), we lined up at Christmas time, and managed to get it over the line early, but everyone else, we’ve really had to compete with and it’s been a really tiring process, because it’s been non-stop.

“Everyone’s been off and having a holiday, but we’ve been in constant work to try to get to a level where we are now.

“Stats is big, but so is the whole process.

"If the stats are brilliant, but the process and the eye is not very good then we’re nowhere near the level we are.

“And if we have the eye and good processes, but don’t have the stats, then we won’t quite get the marginal gains that we are getting at the minute.”