When the Savior comes again, He will come in power and glory to claim the earth as his kingdom. – Church of Latter-Day Saints
I’ll admit I never thought Luton would be called a kingdom but the prophecy of the second coming has come to fruition as Nathan Jones (the lord and savior) has returned in power and glory to claim the earth – or at least Kenilworth Road – as his kingdom. A fitting move considering Jones’ deeply religious beliefs. Since his return in late May, Luton are unbeaten, with five points from a possible nine including a win against promotion chasing Swansea and a draw against table-topping Leeds United, both away from home. To say we are ahead of schedule in our fight against relegation would be an understatement, as five of our remaining six games are against teams in the bottom half and three of those five are against teams sitting just above us. Our destiny lays completely in our own hands.
Sure, no game is easy and those teams above us have had mini revivals of their own, but in the last three games, Luton has shown a determination and desire that lacked since our promotion from League One last year. The return of the savior (Nathan Jones) has definitely sparked that back into action. After all 90% of the team is the same as when he left over a year ago. Sure he is missing two very important players in Jack Stacey and James Justin who both left in the summer, but so far Jones is finding a way to make it work, first in the draw with Preston and then with the win over Swansea.
Upon his return, Jones spoke about building bridges with the people he hurt when he decided to up and leave for the bright lights of Stoke in January 2019. The first step was with the board and in particular, CEO Gary Sweet, who made no secret of his initial hesitance to ever speak to Jones, telling media in May “I think it’s generally well-known that I’ve been ignoring his calls for a long time”. Thanks to Mick Harford that changed and Gary, over time, found a way to forgive and bring the prodigal son home after 16 months away. The second step was going to be much more difficult and could still take some time even with the recent good results and that is with the fans.
It should come as no surprise that fans of most teams, no matter what the sport, can be hard-headed and short-sighted. Luton fans, including myself, are no different. I said when Nathan Jones was reappointed that I believed in Gary Sweet and I still do. I also said I enjoyed Jones’ style of play during his first stint and that hasn’t changed. Sure we are out of our depth against teams who have budgets we could only dream of, but we are Luton Fucking Town and we back down from no one. That has shown in the first few games since the restart and was something Jones himself commented on after the Swansea win saying
That’s what I love about this group, absolutely love about this group, is they want to work hard. They love it. There’s no pretentiousness about them. No stars. No superstars.”
That’s most likely a dig at his former players at Stoke who still act like a Premier League team while staring relegating to League One in the face, but it’s also the truth about this group of players.
I woke up at 4:30 am to watch the game on Saturday against Swansea and was not disappointed. Sure the result was massive and that is ultimately what you are looking for, but the way we played against a team pushing for the playoffs especially in the first half was nothing short of inspiring. I’d woken up for games at 7 am before the COVID-19 stoppage and been so bored I was back asleep by 7:30. Last Saturday I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen and after the game, Nathan told media
“Imagine 2,000 fans in that away end. It would have been a good day. It would have been one of those days where you could build bridges”
and I can’t disagree.
Tuesday was another one of those nights as the Hatters took a point from table topping Leeds United, as the blueprints for the reconstruction of the bridge continues. It’s going to take a while and the next month will let us know just how sturdy those blueprints are, but if results keep going Luton’s way those blueprints could find themselves pushed into construction before too long. Like all good relationships, it will take time and I’ll admit to still being wary of Jones after everything he did, but damn if he isn’t whispering all the right things into my ear right now. And he’s stopped beating his chest. Maybe he’s changed. Maybe he deserves this second chance. Maybe it’s all an act, like most religions. For now, however, I’m all in and happily investing in the Church of Nathan Jones.