Nathan Jones
Photograph: Dave Howarth/PA

Nathan Jones has returned

I guess I should welcome Nathan Jones back to Kenilworth Road, but I’m still trying to come to grips with it if I’m completely honest. Normally when your club announces a new manager it’s a time of excitement as you try to comprehend their philosophies and style by either watching their previous teams play or the type of player they bring in. There won’t be any of that at Luton as Nathan is a familiar face, but not a very liked one.

Nathan rejoined The Hatters on Thursday, the day of his 47th birthday, with CEO Gary Sweet saying:

“We need a manager who can hit the ground sprinting – someone who knows us, our players and our environment and someone who knows the league. There’s only one man who has those characteristics and that’s Nathan Jones.”

Nathan also spoke to the press through a zoom call telling them:

“I had a fantastic relationship with the fans and I betrayed that. I went against everything they had given me, but I had to earn that, let’s not forget, I wasn’t embraced immediately. I had to earn that, and that’s exactly what I’m going to have to do again and that’s exactly what I intend to do.”

I’ve already gone into detail in a previous article in regards to Nathan’s first go-round at Luton and the fall out from his decision to leave and join Stoke City, so in this article, I will cover what we will get from a return of the prodigal son.

Firstly, it will divide the fan base, there is no doubting it, as those who remain hurt by the manner of his exit will be less than ecstatic hearing of his return. Luckily for Jones and the board, the likelihood of fans returning to games any time soon is slim to none giving him time to string some results together and win them over in a sense.

Secondly, there is relatively no gamble with the appointment as the board knows what Jones can do and in turn, he knows what the board expects and with what budget. There’s no denying he was a success first time around getting us out of League Two and on the verge of the Championship when he left. Plus he returns to a lot of familiar faces in regards to players with the majority of the squad still intact from his first go-round.

The only two concern-able casualties are the losses of Jack Stacey and James Justin to Premier League sides Bournemouth and Leicester respectively. The two full-backs played a huge part in Jones’ attacking philosophy in his first stint as manager and while Martin Cranie and Dan Potts are serviceable neither fit that attacking mold quite as well as Justin and Stacey.

Thirdly, he admitted during an EFL podcast that he was naive and regretted how he exited the club meaning he may feel like he owes us. A fired-up Jones and a fired-up squad, playing to their strengths might mean survival if the season ever resumes. If we don’t survive, and let’s face it it’s a long shot, we know we have someone capable of managing a winning side in League One.

They say you should never go back but maybe this is the exception to the rule. We both did some things we regret. Jones posed with a manager of the month award he won at Luton in his new team’s colors, while Luton fans sent death threats to him after he left. None of us are perfect and maybe that’s what works.

Luton Town FC Mount Rushmore

A few weeks back I wrote an article about Luton Town CEO Gary Sweet and how he always had the best interests of the club at heart. Today’s announcement doesn’t change that. If the return of the prodigal son is what Gary and the other members believe is best then I am 100% behind him and the 2020 board. I believe in Gary Sweet.