26 February 2013

Welcome to Luton, John Still: Hand luggage only?

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.


  1. Let's get behind the man..he has got a big job on his hand.
    Well done mr buckle and mr sweet for allowing it to happen.
    3 years of trying to play football and get back ,but falling at the last hurdle with grace.
    Every player that buckle let go is performing and scoring goals at there new clubs.
    The dros that he has bought in can't even pass,control or throw a ball or cross a ball without Thinking about it and do not even know how to meet a ball as it comes in their direction..14 points adrift now,,
    Cheer up we are 11 ahead of the relegation spots

  2. Buckle has brought in 13 players, along with a few loan signings, and shipped loads out. Name me ONE player he brought in who has improved the team??!! Not possible; none of them have. None out of 13. What an incredible record; who sanctions these signings? Buckle creeps out of the club through the back door like a spineless little rat, with the departing words: “I’ve left the club in a much better shape than when I found it.” PARDON!!!!! Why don’t you just **** off to the US with your girlfriend – you’ll hopefully never get a job in English football again. The club is an utter shambles. Each year our playing squad gets worse and worse as more and more useless players drift in. and each time we think it can’t get worse, with the likes of Danny Crow…we get John Shaw and Rendell etc. The players are not good enough and the whole transfer policy is completely screwed up. While promising youngsters rot in the reserves or leave. All down to management. I wish 2020 would **** off as they’ve made a total mess of the club.

  3. Apparently Still is on a huge contract. The last big gamble of a failing regime. Of course I wish him well but hold little hope.We must be the laughing stock of this league. I bet they love playing Luton, with our delusions of grandeur and crap players and managerial merry-go-rounds. Root and branch change is needed. Shame it doesn’t include the Board.

  4. We are as stated a laughing stock of the league now !!Everyone is lining up to play us home or away it dosnt matter to them as long as they play us,they need the points to get out of this shit hole of a league where we dwell now.I just hope we avoid relegation.

  5. Please remember that if it was not for 2020 we probably would not have a club!

  6. 2020 - A rich kid clique who wont let go of this club until forced to. Little boys playing at running a football club. Sweet and Barringer are prime examples, no people skills, no likeable qualities, and nothing but smug and worthless. Still? Give the guy a fair chance. It isn't his fault.

  7. Last Anonymous poster: you have no idea what you're talking about.

  8. Buckle did seem obsessed with changing the squad (un-necessarily), shipping in new players no better than those he got rid of for the sake of change - at our best we have looked great (Norwich, Wolves) but generally average. Let's hope we now have a manager who can properly motivate our players game after game as this seems to have been our biggest problem - a settled team would be nice! Still looks to be a good bet given his past experience and CV - we must give him time to do the job.

    As for the criticisms of 2020 as far as I can see they saved the club and are keeping it in business - what is the alternative? A dodgy property speculator in to line his own pocket and get out leaving us in the shit as soon as the going gets tough - no thanks! Yes their past managerial choices have been dubious but lets's hope (and I believe!) they have got it right this time !

    COYH !!!


  9. That well used phrase 'be careful what you wish for' springs to mind with posters on here and Outlaws wishing for the end of 2020.Short memories clearly.
    Look at the Owners/Boards we had before that set us on this downward course with their decisions and ways.
    The damage was done with the 3 admins and 3 relegations,it is not an overnight repair job that is needed or possible,the Club has little or no assets,(certainly not Kenilworth Rd and not even the players currently) so the fact 2020 are still prepared to bankroll the Club is something that should be admired and thanked for.This Club nearly died before 2020.
    Hopefully such an experienced football man like JS will be able to set us on the road back....but it won't be this season and we ought to set our minds to it possibly taking him 2 seasons.

  10. This season is effectively finished, no play offs for us, I have no idea which two teams go up and which two will come down but we could be joined by old nemesis York, and Plymouth Argyle, who would be the new big fish down here, also up there will be a resurgent Chester, so next season is going to be every bit as difficult to win as every season, We really need extra promotion places in the BSP, 2020 and Money would of took us up in 2010, Brabin would of took us up in 2011, Buckle got close last year, but in all seasons we could of lost out on promotion even if we clocked up 100 points, Stop killing ourselves, as fans lets do our bit, let us protest, 4 sides up from BSP. All the best of luck Jobn Still, you have my backing, you have this season and next to get some provress going,

  11. Most comments seem to be about whether John Still is the man to get us back into the League (he most likely is, but it will take miracles to get us into shape for a convincing challenge next season). But my point is that we should forget all talk of "maybe-if-perhaps-can-we scrape-into-the play-offs", because his real challenge right now is to avoid RELEGATION.......... The team in 16th place are just 2 wins from overtaking us (and they are just 6 points ahead of the team in the last relegation spot). We all like to think it couldn't get any worse - well folks, just think Blue Square Bet South. That really would be beyond the point of no return, a true death sentence. The trouble is that Still has little choice but to work with a squad of players who - despite a few having the required technical abilities - on the whole simply don't have the mental and psychological strength needed to wear an LTFC shirt right now. Most of them clearly haven't been up for the title challenge (sic) - what makes you think they'll be up for the relegation dogfight ?

  12. i hate to say it but i will,im slowly losing faith of us getting out of the conference, to many player changers this year.i do wish the new maneger well but ithink he has is work cut out.come on u hatters. luton fan living in hull.

  13. I don't know what i'm talking about? I guess you're friends with them, then. As most decent Luton fans have seen through 2020 completely for what they are, and any "unbiased article" written about this situation, would call out 2020 for the complete joke that they are, they should never even have had this opportunity to appoint yet another manager; not with their track record of the last few attempts. The club's rotten at the core so it won't fix until the posh boys let go of what they're not capable of running efficiently, and do the right thing and allow people to at the very least, invest. Are people honestly meant to believe that investors weren't interested after our cup run? And are we meant to believe that since we're this huge non league club, that businessmen aren't interested in the opportunity here? Of course they are. Will the current board allow that? God no, it would cheapen their stranglehold on the club. I wonder when the "we saved your club" clause runs out, and they'll be judged on their incapability to do anything right.

  14. No I don't know any of 2020 - a criticsm i'd place at their door would be of their recruitment of the coaching staff so far. A weakness they've held their hands up to.

    I do know the bloke they employ as press officer though, and he is none of the things you describe.

    As for the club being "rotten to the core"? Well that is bollocks. In the hardest environment we've ever operated in we haven't been in danger of admin for 5 years.

    We need a fresh start on the training pitch, and that job starts today.

  15. All the criticism of 2020 is becoming tedious - they have done and are doing a good job in keeping the club going and underwriting its losses - their managerial choices have not been perfect to date although hopefully that changes with John Still.

    No-one is likely to invest money in a loss making non-league football club with no assets other than (a) a group of committed fans (2020 style, (b) a multimillionaire with money to throw away (which would be very nice) or (c) as with some past chairman / boards dodgy geezers out to line their own pockets at the clubs expense.

    2020 are as good as it is likely to get and the sniping and wingeing are pointless - we need to remember we are a non-league club with no assets and no god given right to be in a higher division than the one we were unfairly pushed into. Our players have been consistently under-performing ever since we dropped out of the league - hopefully John Still will manage to get the best out of them - that has been the biggest problem to date.


  16. There's an obvious reason why you're anonymous. It's because sh!t stirrers like you are always cowards. Therefore all of your comments are worthless tripe and should be deleted. At least 2020 have put their heads above the parapit to save the club only to be abused by deluded fools who daren't identify themselves.

    1. Paul correct, authors write with the intention of being constructive, informative and interesting and get plagued with brainless twats abusing them. Just like 'Outlaws'