He’s never played for Luton Town. His manor is outside even the most generously drawn boundary of Lutonia, he’s never even been a coach here. Welcome to Luton Town, John Still. It’s a brave new world indeed.
Not since Joe Kinnear has a man placed an alien arse-cheek into the Kenilworth Road hot seat carrying no baggage; no emotional ties to the area, the club, the staff or the fans.
Managerial appointments at Luton have long been subject to criteria outside merely being the best man for the job.
Boardrooms of the past and present have often selected a gaffer who they hope can harness a nostalgic kernel from their past success with The Town or take a shortcut to that hard earned rapport with the fans by being vaguely Lutonian. From heroes like Hill and Harford to quasi-locals like Blackwell and Buckle, as with most things in football the strategy failed more than it succeeded.
The weight of expectation dragged some down while others, some fans claim, had their reign prolonged through nostalgia. Either way the Luton recruitment bubble has always been a source of frustration, especially when fresh thinking seemed to be lacking.
Ladies and gentlemen will you please welcome to the stage Mr John Still: formerly 4th longest serving manager in the game - a name and a stat to ruin your pub quiz. Dagenham & Redbridge manager since before the club existed, he's a paid up company man nearing retirement age and ready for a new project.
To say that Our John comes with no baggage is a little bit misleading, perhaps. Because there is always at least a dribble of drama with Luton, he brings with him one neatly packed, if harmless, item of hand luggage.
Following our minus 30 season, Still gave a interview in which he stated that clubs should be punished (relegated) if they overspend and go into administration. Perhaps an understandable position for a manager scrabbling and selling his best players to make ends meet.
As innocuous a statement as it may have been for him to make at the time, some will be desperate for an opportunity to use it against him. Here’s hoping they never get the chance.
For in John Still, for the first time in a decade, we have an opportunity for a real fresh start. Gary Sweet said Still “will help us to reconstruct a football culture at the Club”, not understating the scale of the 'project' at hand. We know by now that this type of change doesn't happen overnight.
Maybe now is the time to emerge from that Bedfordshire bubble we so comfortably return to at the first sign of trouble; a bubble that has repeatedly failed to return us to playing that pretty ‘Luton way’.
Would Waddock, Robinson or Nico really have offered anything other than a new way to destroy a happy memory?
Still life* may turn out to be no oil painting, and success is unlikely to be instant, but if he gets us back to the League he’ll be a welcome addition to the furniture.
*A Still pun there. GET USED TO THEM.