Sweet admits Jones blew Luton board away

Nathan Jones and Gary Sweet
Nathan Jones and Gary Sweet

Hatters chief executive Gary Sweet admitted the club were blown away by new manager Nathan Jones during his interview for the top job at Kenilworth Road.

Jones was appointed on Wednesday evening after a lengthy search by Sweet and the club’s board, before meeting the media for the first time yesterday.

“I’ll be honest, when Nathan came in and presented to us and the board, he blew us away.”

Gary Sweet

Although the former Brighton & Hove Albion first team coach is a first-time manager, Sweet believes his extensive coaching experience made him the right appointment.

He said: “We had 135 applications and one of the things that we did this time and we don’t really make any apologies for taking our time over this, as time of year was a bit difficult, the number of games we had during that period, but we wanted to talk to a lot of people.

“Not interview necessarily, but talk to a lot of people and a lot of these people might have had a little bit of their heart in Luton Town, past players, past managers, whatever.

“And because we were trying to recreate a some of the glorious football we played in the halcyon days, then we wanted to get a few other opinions that which we did.

“So whenever you start to talk to football people, start to ask them about the top coaches in the game, there was one name that kept repeating and we were aware of Nathan, in fact when we appointed John Still, we were aware of Nathan’s work at the time.

“So this time around there was no surprise given that progress he’s made in the last couple of years at Brighton that actually it was a name we were seriously put into a fairly neat, small and tidy list to begin with.

“But we did it right, we interviewed a number of people and different types of character, but I’ll be honest, when Nathan came in and presented to us and the board, he blew us away.”

It will be Jones’ second stint at Kenilworth Road as he was signed as a 22-year-old by David Pleat in 1995 for £10k from Merthyr Tydfil, but never actually made a first team appearance in that time.

However, Sweet believes the experiences gained during that short stint can only help him imprint his own philosophy on to the club.

He added: “Nathan’s time at Luton Town was as he said, not exactly legendary, but very, very important to us as David Pleat bought him here.

“The type of football that Nathan came into in his first professional contract has kind of been a little bit indoctrinated into his thought processes so when we started to talk to Nathan about what we wanted to try and achieve it was half way there.”