By Richard Cooke
Last Updated: 10/01/19 4:03pm
Nathan Jones believes he can eventually take Stoke back to the Premier League, but admits he was “married to Luton” and it was an emotional wrench to leave.
Jones signed a three-and-a-half year contract with the Championship side on Wednesday after Gary Rowett was sacked as manager a day earlier.
The 45-year-old guided Luton to promotion from League Two last season and left them second in League One following a 13-game unbeaten run.
“I had a great rapport with the fans at Luton, I really did,” said Jones. “It’s like a marriage when you break up and sometimes there can be bitterness and so on.
“But I gave Luton everything, I gave them my life, I loved the club. I think I significantly improved the whole football club. I couldn’t have left it in a better position.
“I understand there is going to be a certain heartache, the amount of times I’ve cried from text messages I’ve had from players. It makes me emotional because I had a good time there, I was married to the club.
“But the natural progression for me when I spoke to Peter and John (Coates) was ‘this is the right step’.
“It’s a calculated gamble but it’s the right step for me and for the club I believe.
“I hope they [the Luton fans] understand, because I am ambitious. I had no intention to leave and leave them in the lurch. I think I have left them in a wonderful, wonderful position.”
Jones refused to be drawn on what can be achieved at Stoke in the short term but ultimately he believes they can return to the Premier League.
“There are some wonderful footballers here,” he added. “I don’t want to just be a good side that plays attacking football, I want to be successful, a side that works hard, that the fans can be proud of.
“I would like this club to get back to the highest level and I believe we can do that.”