LUTON TOWN'S GREATEST MANAGER (POST 1945)

Submitted by Andrew McMellon (@andrew_mc84)

Host of My Best Eleven Podcast, Journalist and Pundit (https://mybesteleven.podbean.com/) (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCosPHLqTf7KuZfKVtlVLy0Q)


The last in the series of best ever Luton Town players, we now turn, as we do in the My Best Eleven Podcast, to the manager. So many Luton managers have graced the halls of Kenilworth Road but very few have had the impact that these listed managers have had on the club. The debate many would have is the order of this list and not necessarily the list itself...


David Pleat A man who single handedly changed the club from top to bottom. Lots of managers talk about ‘projects’ in the modern era but Pleat really had and did exactly that. He was not afraid to hand debuts to youngsters and speaking to many ex pro’s, he spent as much time as possible watching youth football, trying to find the next player he could debut. Went onto manage Spurs and Sheffield Wednesday and was overlooked for the England job at a time when Graham Taylor got the nod.


Ray Harford Won the clubs only Major piece of silverware (unless you include the Guinness Sixes?!?) in 1988 by beating Arsenal. The club owes a huge debt to Harford for solidifying them after Pleat left (and a season under John Moore) and also for taking them to an FA Cup Semi Final that same season. The club had a number of good seasons in the First Division (now Premier League) under Harford, something which would probably get him the England job in today’s world.

Syd Owen The manager of the club for it’s charge to the FA Cup Final in 1959 (only to lose 1 nil to Nottingham Forest). He was player, captain and manager at the time and led the club from Centre Back in the game. He was a man who was very well respected at the club and took it to it’s only FA Cup Final appearance before going on to coach under Don Revie at Leeds.


John Still This is the man who picked the club up when they were at a loss how to get out of the non league ladder. ‘Control the Controllables’ and he did exactly that. He mixed youth with experience and took the club up at his first full season in the job bringing players such as Andre Gray through, making the club a profit in the same season too. Many Luton fans feel that he should be held in the same breath as Owen, Harford and Pleat due to the manner in which he brought the players, board, staff and fans together.

Nathan Jones Considering the difficult nature of being a football manager in the modern era, Jones has managed to bring through great young players and sell them at a profit for the club. Despite leaving the club for Stoke during the 2018-19 season, after promotion the season before, he came back to the club during the COVID pandemic season and miraculously led the club to safety on the last day at Blackburn. Since then, the club has come on leaps and bounds and most Luton fans have forgiven Jones for choices he has made in the past (and rightfully so)


Mick Harford The only manager to have had a relegation from starting the season as manager at the club and keep his job. He took over the club at a time when they were rock bottom, starting on minus 30 points but he galvanised and took the club to win the Football League Trophy in front of 40,000 fans at Wembley. He took the club up after taking over from Nathan Jones in mid 2018-19 season and won the title in one of the most memorable runs the club has ever had.

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