Wednesday 26 June 2019

Stoke boss Jones: 'I cried leaving Luton, I was married to the club'

Stoke City's new manager Nathan Jones. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire
Stoke City's new manager Nathan Jones. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire

Nick Mashiter

New Stoke boss Nathan Jones revealed he cried after leaving Luton.

The 45-year-old was named as Gary Rowett's replacement on a three-and-a-half year deal on Wednesday.

He spent three years at Luton, winning promotion to League One last season, and moves to the bet365 Stadium with Stoke eight points off the Championship play-offs.

But he admitted it was an emotional exit from Kenilworth Road.

He said: "The amount of times I've cried from text messages from players... it makes me emotional because I was married to the club.

"It's a calculated gamble but it's the right step for me and the club. I think I've left them in a wonderful position.

"It really wasn't (an easy decision). I had a really good place at Luton, it was a wonderful club. We were in a wonderful place.

"When it happens you just have to put things aside and think professionally. It was a real wrench, we built something special at Luton and it would have taken something special.

"I had an opportunity to leave (before) and I never did, when this came up it was too good to turn down. It became the right decision but not an easy one."

Sacked

Stoke are 14th in the Championship and Jones becomes their third manager in 12 months after the club sacked Rowett on Tuesday.

But the former Brighton and Yeovil defender has been given no time-frame to return the Potters to the Premier League after relegation last season.

"I'm confident, I felt this was the right fit. It was a wrench leaving Luton and at no point had I taken them as far as I could go," he said.

"But I didn't want to start again, I didn't want to go into a place where I'd have to rip the bones out of it.

"I don't just want to be an attractive side, I want to be a successful side. We will get there, how quickly depends on everyone at the club.

"The greatest pressure I will be under will be from myself. The gap is eight points (to the play-offs), what we have to do is instil a philosophy and a culture which takes the club forward long term.

"I don't think there's a time-scale on it, I haven't been told one."

Jones will also give the squad, many who were in the Premier League last season when the manager was in League Two, a chance to buy into his philosophy.

He added: "I've seen no egos, not one ego, that goes from the hotel staff to the people at the club and especially the players.

"The best way to bridge a gap from lower leagues to where we are now is just do good work."

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