Considering the next Luton Town Manager - 5 potential candidates who could succeed Nathan Jones

With Nathan Jones being given permission by Luton Town to speak to Southampton after the Stoke game (being played on the 8th November), all Luton fans are anxious about who our next appointment will be. Considering that 2020 have had mixed success with managerial appointments, it is hoped that they have learnt from their most recent failed appointment of Graeme Jones, and have drawn up a shortlist of candidates that could effectively hit the ground running for the second half of the season after the conclusion of the World Cup. I will make two assumptions in this opinion piece: 1. Nathan Jones will accept the managerial position at Southampton

2. Nathan Jones will take Chris Cohen with him as Assistant Manager


Briefly, I would like to state, although it never feels good for a manager to be poached and there is never a good time, with the exception of the end of a season, for a manager to leave a club that is performing well, I do believe that Nathan Jones deserves this. As stated in my previous opinion piece about Luton Town being here before, the club are in a different position now, as to when he was last poached. We are established as a Championship side, after success last season, and the squad has been recruited well with both experience and youth. In addition, we will have a month for a new manager to get his feet under the table, and experience a pre season with the squad.


The immediate future of Nathan Jones remains to be seen | Photo copyright of Gareth Owen/LTFC

Currently there are no betting odds to use as a frame of reference as Nathan Jones has not yet made a decision, therefore I will use an arbitrary scale of how likely I believe their appointment would be.

Neil Critchley


Critchley took over at Blackpool just before the season was curtailed due to Covid and finished 13th as a result of points per game. In his first full season with Blackpool they finished 3rd and were promoted via the playoffs. His first and only season in the Championship with Blackpool, they finished well clear of relegation in 16th place, played a good style of football, and made some shrewd signings on a very limited budget, including the acquisition of Josh Bowler on a free transfer. Critchley is currently a free agent, after leaving Aston Villa after Stephen Gerrard’s sacking. However, as shown by his choice of leaving Blackpool to become an Assistant Manager, he might not want to get back into the hot seat anytime soon. Managerial stats at Blackpool:


Games 109 – Won 45 – Drawn 30 – Lost 34 – Win percentage 41.44%


Possibility of taking over:

Sean Dyche


Dyche was the manager of Burnley for 10 years and gained promotion to the Premier League twice while in charge, first in 2013/14 and again in 2015/16, before stabilising Burnley as a Premier League club, even guiding them to European Football with a 7th place finish. Dyche was sacked from Burnley with 8 games remaining and the club in the relegation zone, and has not yet taken on another footballing project. His brand of football is commonly known as “Dyche-ball” and I would very much welcome it at the Kenny, as I feel we are quite well geared up for it, following on from our recruitment.


If we were able to bring Dyche into the club it would be such a coup, however, it is very unlikely due to reports that he was on £50k per week at Burnley, and is still receiving his compensation as a result of his sacking. If this is the case it’s unlikely he would take on a job as it could affect his compensation. He is also likely waiting for a Premier League team.


Managerial stats at Burnley: Games 425 – Won 149 – Drawn 118 – Lost 158 – Win percentage 35.1%


Possibility of taking over:




Rob Edwards

Edwards is highly thought of in the game as an up and coming Manager, with his reputation and promotion with Forest Green Rovers from League 2 getting him a big move to the club down the road from us. After being promised the world by the crooks in charge, he was swiftly exited after just 11 games, which was quick, even by their standards. He has had a taste of Championship football, so he is aware of what he might be getting into at this level.


However, this should not dent the reputation of Edwards, who has done stellar work with the Wolves U23 squad, and was Head Coach for the England U16s. After jumping ship too early from Forest Green after being promised a project at that club, it’s likely that Edwards is looking to bounce back with a position that will allow him to show that this was just a blip, and mend his reputation with a proper project in the game now that he is a free agent.


Managerial stats at Forest Green:


Games 53 – Won 24 – Drawn 19 – Lost 10 – Win percentage 45.28%


Possibility of taking over:





Chris Wilder


Wilder would be my first choice to bring in to replace Nathan Jones, he has quite some pedigree behind him at all levels in the game, with Luton coming up against his Northampton team during our time in League 2. In the 2015/16 season, Northampton Town finished on 99 points. He also took Sheffield United from League 1, promoted in 2016/17 with 100 points, and to the Premier League in 2018/19. In his first season in the Premier League he led Sheffield United to a 9th place finish. However, they were relegated the following season and he left by mutual consent with Sheffield United in the relegation zone. He has since managed Middlesbrough, after a great 2021/22 season he was sacked this October, after only winning 2 games out of 11 in the 2022/23 season. Wilder is known for playing with 3 at the back, and his overlapping wide centre back system would suit how we are currently playing. Just like Rob Edwards, I am sure he is looking to get back on the managerial horse, providing it’s the correct project. I would imagine that he would be an expensive option, although not as expensive as Dyche.


Managerial stats:


Oxford United – Games – 269 – Won – 121 – Drawn 70 – Lost 78 – Win percentage 45%

Northampton Town – 126 – 61 – 28 – 37 – Win percentage 48.4%

Sheffield United – 227 – 10647 – 74 – Win percentage 47.7%

Middlesbrough – 45 – 18 – 11 – 16 – Win percentage 40%


Possibility of taking over:




Steven Schumacher


Unlike the other managers mentioned above, Schumacher is not a free agent. This may halt proceedings before I even start talking about him, because our board mentioned previously, the last time Nathan Jones was poached that they didn’t approve of derailing another teams season. However, this football is dog eat dog, and currently we have bigger teeth than Plymouth. We may refrain from poaching as there is no World Cup break in League 1, but this should not stop us, if we approach the correct way.


Schumacher is a young up and coming manager, rather than walk out with Ryan Lowe when he poached by Preston, like he had done moving from Bury to Plymouth, he decided to stick around and moved from Assistant Manager to Manager. Unfortunately in his first season in charge, 2021/22, Schumacher and Plymouth narrowly missed out on a playoff position on the final day of the season. However, this season he has grabbed League 1 by the scruff of the neck and they are currently 4 points clear of Ipswich at the top of the table. Under Schumacher, Plymouth play very good attacking football, having scored 36 goals in 17 games, and remain solid at the back, interestingly playing a back 3.


Managerial stats:


Games 50 – Won 29 – Drawn 8 – Lost 13 – Win percentage 58%


Possibility of taking over:





Afterthoughts


After the calamitous hiring of Graeme Jones, I hope the board take into consideration that we need to keep pushing forward. We bottled lightning with Nathan Jones, and we can thank him for a job well done, but now we need a manager who has experience and will hit the ground running. We must also take into account budgetary constraints and not hire a manager that breaks our wage cap. My preferred replacement would be Stephen Schumacher, although, if Gary Sweet does decide not go the poaching route it would be Chris Wilder.


Featured image: Gareth Owen/LTFC

5,142 views3 comments