Southampton have confirmed Nathan Jones as their manager on a three-and-a-half-year contract. He has joined from Luton Town and will be in the dugout for Saturday’s trip to Liverpool after watching Wednesday’s Carabao Cup shootout win over Sheffield Wednesday at St Mary’s from the stands.
Southampton and Luton had broadly agreed a compensation package for Jones, believed to be £2.5m, before he took charge of his final game for the Championship side on Tuesday, at his former club Stoke.
“I’m really proud to be given this opportunity,” Jones said. “I know a lot about the club from back in the days of The Dell, to coming here to St Mary’s, and it’s a wonderful football club.
“A lot of my family are Southampton fans, which doesn’t half help, and I feel really, really proud to be given the opportunity, and I’m really looking forward to getting started. Obviously, I wanted to manage in the Premier League, I’ve dreamt of that since I’ve become a coach or a manager, but this club in particular – because of how it’s run, because of the structure, because of how they look deeper than just results – really appeals to me.”
Jones, a former Brighton, Southend and Yeovil defender, has been highly successful at Luton across two spells. In the first he took them from League Two strugglers to the promotion spots in League One before leaving for Stoke in January 2019. On his return he saved them from relegation back to League One in 2020 and after two years of progress led the club into last season’s Championship playoffs.
Jones has been joined at Southampton by his assistants Chris Cohen, with whom he played at Yeovil, and Alan Sheehan.
Jones, 49, admitted to being “flattered” by Southampton’s interest in him after Luton’s 2-0 defeat at Stoke. “I know my strengths and if a group buys into that, then I can manage at any level,” he said.
Jones posed for pictures with Saints fans in the stands before kick-off, but then saw his team fall behind when Josh Windass latched on to a Fisayo Dele-Bashiru pass and thumped the ball beyond Alex McCarthy in Southampton’s goal.
The equaliser came just before half-time when James Ward-Prowse converted from the penalty spot after Moussa Djenepo was brought down by Marvin Johnson.
That proved the end of the scoring, leaving Jones to extend his trip on the south coast to watch the penalties. He will get to take charge of the Saints in the next round after they beat Wednesday 6-5 in the shootout, after McCarthy saved Dominic Iorfa’s spot-kick.