Nathan Jones said it was a ‘wonderful honour’ to be named the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Year and admitted it was the result of a brilliant team behind him.
Having taken Luton to within touching distance of a place in the play-offs, Jones was recognised for his efforts at the EFL Awards ceremony at Park Lane on Sunday night.
Keen to applaud not just his own efforts but his backroom staff and those associated with the club, the manager said when speaking to BBC Three Counties Radio (2:35:10), “It’s a wonderful honour and I felt very proud to accept it on behalf of everyone. I know it’s an individual accolade but as the cliché goes, you’re only as strong as the team behind you and I have a very good group which has enabled me to individually win something like this.
“We’re the envy of a lot of football clubs because ideally everyone would like to do fantastically well without spending a hell of a lot of money. That isn’t the case in football on all levels and the ones that can do it by staying within budget, not crippling themselves financially, not going into real masses of debt.
“Then can align them with a philosophy, the community and the fans. Play a certain way, get the right results and stay within budget. That’s the way to run a football club and we do it very well.
"That’s not just the manager, it takes a hell of a lot of people to do that and we have so many people, from the board, the chief executive, the manager, the academy, catering, ground staff, Peter Kemp the stadium manager, media, everything single thing has to be aligned for the good of the club and that’s what we have and we’re very good at doing that here at Luton.”
Since arriving at Kenilworth Road in 2016, Jones believes the biggest part of the club’s success story has been recruitment, which is especially the case this season.
“Structurally we have been very good. This has been a process since 2016, we’ve recruited, played a certain way and had a core of good people right throughout the club for a long, long time. Recruitment is everything because no matter how good a manager, how good a coach, a CEO you are – if you get recruitment wrong you are done. We’ve got recruitment right here in terms of human beings, athletes and players.
“That has been the secret and then we’ve had a planned and we’ve believed it in. Everyone pulls together because these are the most wonderful group to work with. They push boundaries, they work hard every day, they are humble, they take adversity on the chin and want to achieve something.
“They are giving absolutely everything," he continued. “We don’t have the luxury to have the biggest, most talented squad. We have a very talented squad, a very hard-working squad but we know to perform at the levels we are and to win games – we’ve won a lot of games this year – and put in big shifts, to compete with sides with bigger budgets and more established, illustrious players, we know that we have to be at it for 90 minutes and we have.
“Inadvertently it has caused us a few issues. Injury-wise we have been unfortunate with a few injuries that have been impact ones, some have been terrible challenges that have gone unpunished – Allan Campbell and James Bree. Terrible, terrible challenges that were left unpunished and that has cost us but we’re still surviving, we’re still rolling, and everyone has had to play their part.”