Graeme Jones: Luton Town part company with manager – BBC News

Graeme Jones was in his first full-time managerial role with Luton Town

Luton Town have parted company with manager Graeme Jones after just under a year in charge at Kenilworth Road.

The former Everton, Wigan and West Brom assistant, 50, has had his contract terminated “by mutual agreement”.

The Hatters said the decision was “in order to reduce its cost base”.

Luton won successive promotions from League Two to reach the second tier, but were 23rd in the Championship and six points from safety when the season was halted because of coronavirus.

They will revert in the interim to having chief recruitment officer Mick Harford in charge.

Following previous boss Nathan Jones’ move to Stoke in January 2019, Harford was in charge for the rest of the League One season, until Graeme Jones took control on 7 May.

Harford will now act as “a relationship manager on football matters” between the Hatters’ board, staff and the playing squad.

Assistant manager Gary Brabin, first-team coach Inigo Idiakez and technical goalkeeping coach Imanol Etxeberria have also had their contracts terminated with immediate effect.

A club statement said: “Given the current circumstances affecting not only football but the world as whole, the club are taking an early move to restructure in order to reduce its cost base and to create efficiencies within the football department.

“As a result of amicable discussions, Graeme and the board of directors have agreed terms upon which he will leave his role with immediate effect.

“When we have more concrete knowledge about the recommencement of the 2019-20 season or the start of 2020-21, we will then reconsider our position with regards to the football management structure.

“Applications for any of the positions will not be considered or reviewed at this time.

“The club will be making no further comment at this stage as everyone continues to battle with the challenges of the coronavirus.”

Another managerial change at Kenilworth Road

Gateshead-born Jones left his job with the Belgium national team working under Roberto Martinez, with whom he also worked for over a 12-year period at Swansea, Wigan and Everton, when he became number two to Darren Moore at West Brom in the summer of 2018.

After being sacked by the Baggies along with Moore in March 2019, he was then strongly linked with the vacancy at Luton, until he was finally confirmed in office by the Hatters at the end of their second successive promotion season, allowing Harford to return to his backroom role.

But results have not come easy for Luton on their return to English football’s second tier, their first season at that level for 12 years.

They have won just 10 of their 37 league matches and, if and when the season restarts, they would have a real battle to stay up over the final nine games.

The immensely popular Harford, 61, has served Luton in a variety of roles since first joining from Birmingham City in 1984.

The former striker had two spells as a player, mostly in their days as a top-flight club, and helped Luton beat Arsenal to win the League Cup in 1988.

He was also manager in 2008-09 when Luton were relegated from the Football League following major financial issues.

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