Shea ecstatic to feel wanted by 'unique' Luton as leaving Town 'scares the life' out of Hatters keeper

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Experienced stopper pens contract extension

Long-serving goalkeeper James Shea had never once considered moving on from what he described as a ‘unique’ club in Luton, revealing the thought of ever leaving Kenilworth Road ‘scares the life’ out of him

​The 32-year-old, who joined when the team were a League Two side back in the summer of 2017, will now prepare for his eighth campaign as a Hatter after it was announced he had penned a new deal to stay in Bedfordshire recently. Although he only made one appearance last term, that coming in the final game of the season against Fulham, dropping to third choice behind Thomas Kaminski and Tim Krul, it was clear that Shea was thrilled to be kept on, saying: “There was an option on my contract which I’m over the moon the club has taken up to be honest.

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"I’ve never thought about leaving or having to go anywhere else, I love it at Luton. I say the same thing to everyone I speak to, I wake up every single day and I love going over there. I look forward to it, I love training, I love the players, I love the environment, the coaches, everything about it. That’s massive for me, I just love going to work, it can’t get much better.

Town keeper James Shea is staying with the Hatters after agreeing a new contract recently - pic: Liam SmithTown keeper James Shea is staying with the Hatters after agreeing a new contract recently - pic: Liam Smith
Town keeper James Shea is staying with the Hatters after agreeing a new contract recently - pic: Liam Smith

"Of course, don’t get me wrong, I’d give my right arm to be playing, but I’ve spoken to other boys who have left in the past and they all say the same thing, it’s not the same as Luton and that scares the life out of me! I go in every single day, I absolutely love it. The coaches are brilliant, the goalkeeping group we’ve had has always been fantastic, past and present, so it’s a no-brainer for me.

"You can’t underestimate how important it is to have such a good group. It’s a unique place over there, it really is. I know it didn’t go to plan this year, but I can turn around and say it’s never been a depressed environment. There’s never been people going ‘what’s going on there?’ It’s never been like that. Even if we were on a bad run of fixtures, bad results, the boys would still come in with a smile on their face, enjoying themselves and that’s the way it should be.”

With Shea making it clear he wanted to prolong his stint with Luton, learning that manager Rob Edwards felt the same too was a huge plus, as he continued: “Massively. If they turned round and said to me, we think your time has come now, we think it’s time for you to move on, I would have said not a problem.

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"I would have gone in and shook everyone’s hand, said thank you so much for everything and I would have moved on, but because the gaffer turned around and said he’d like me to stay, it means everything to me. It means a lot. You want to be somewhere where you are wanted, it does make a big difference, because if I’m not wanted, I’ll move on.”

As Shea’s mind was solely on staying with the Hatters, he hadn’t even entertained thoughts of going elsewhere, saying: “I didn’t even ask or anything, it wasn’t even in my thinking to move on. I’d spoken to Pilks (Kevin Pilkington) a while ago just asking him about it and he said he wants me to stay and he took it from there. He spoke to the gaffer and the gaffer said he wanted me to stay, so I was never in the position where I was thinking I’ve got to look for something else. It’s always been ‘I’ll see you next season.’”

When discussing why he wanted to keep the popular ex-Arsenal youngster on, Edwards spoke about the importance of maintaining a core group of players that had been with the club on their journey up the divisions, culminating in their 12 months in the top flight recently. Shea, who is now the second longest serving player after Dan Potts left in the summer, agreed, adding: “We’ve been there in League Two, Pelly (Mpanzu) in the Conference days and we know what the club means to everyone. The staff that have been there a long time, the fans, and it’s always good because it just shows where the club's been and where it is now. Like the gaffer said, it’s always good to keep a core group of the boys who have been there in the early stages.”

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