If you venture to the quaint footballing ground of Kenilworth Road on a matchday you may well hear one name proudly emblazoned on the lips of Luton Town fans. That name is the Hatters’ manager Nathan Jones, a man who this season has secured the club their highest league finish in eight years at 4th place and has secured them a spot in the League Two play-offs. An impressive record for a man who has only been a first team manager for all of 16 months, but why should Wigan Athletic fans be eager to bring in the Welshman to helm the club for the 2017/18 season?
After burning through an abundance of gaffers in a chaotic and disappointing season, the Latics need to make a smart appointment that will lead the charge back to the second tier of English football, and Nathan Jones is the man to do just that. Currently leading the charge for the Wigan Athletic hot spot, Jones has had his team exhibiting quality attacking football this season for Luton, with his team scoring an impressive 70 goals in the process, and his team selection would have the “two up-front” brigade at the DW Stadium release cries of euphoria if the same philosophy were to follow itself up north. Jones has seemingly bore the same ideology of high calibre football that Luton Town has built itself upon over the club’s extensive history, something that would be welcomed with open arms at Wigan; a club forced to endure a season plagued with monotonous football that produced little to no results.
The 43 year-old started his footballing career playing non-league football at Welsh side Merthyr Tydfil FC in 1991, racking up 84 appearances playing predominantly at left back, a position Jones was firmly rooted to in his career spanning over two decades. A journeyman phase ensued, playing both in England’s lower leagues and in Spain’s Segunda Division, before having extensive stints at Southend United, Brighton and Hove Albion and Yeovil Town, starting his coaching career at the latter whilst still playing after amassing a total of 563 career appearances. Jones was eventually led back to Brighton, spending over three years there in various coaching roles, including a short lived stint as caretaker manager, until Luton Town appointed him in 2016 and he promptly led them to the play-offs in his first full season in charge.
As well as Nathan Jones I imagine he would bring his own coaching team, including his assistant manager Paul Hart; a born and bred Wiganer himself and a defender at the highest level for Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday in the 1970s-80s. Hart would bring a connection with the fans to a managerial team who would be completely foreign to the club itself and hopefully be apart of a coaching staff we can truly get behind. With two former defenders at the height of the Latics coaching hierarchy, we can only hope that our defence would be as solid as ever whilst also becoming as free-scoring as Luton have been this season, hopefully replicating Wigan’s form of the title winning season a year ago.
So with an abysmal season for Wigan drawing to a close, contrastingly, a consummate season for Nathan Jones and Luton continues with blistering pace into the play-offs with the hope to seal there place in the same division the Latics will be dwelling in next season. Two sets of fans with two different atmospheres around the club, all with seemingly one manager at the forefront of their minds. With Nathan Jones the bookies’ favourite for the Wigan Athletic job, one question is on the minds of both sets of supporters:
What dugout will he be commanding next season?