Hatters Heroes

Luton – The Legends Series – John Still

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For the latest in our ongoing series covering those who have achieved legendary status among the support, we feature another former Luton figure who became a fans favourite.

Following on from those already covered – John Moore, David Preece, Mal Donaghy, Brian Lewis, Bruce Rioch, Fred Jardine, Brian Horton, Kevin Nicholls, Tony Read, Steve Foster, Mike Keen, Ian Buxton, Lars Elstrup, Peter Anderson, Graham French, Alan West, David Moss, Terry Branston, John Aston, Paul Futcher and John Ryan, Syd Owen, Marvin Johnson, Malcolm MacDonald, Bob Hatton, Steve Buckley, Chris Coyne and Ron Baynham

For the latest in our ongoing series, I’ve veered away from the previously exclusive player selection and opted to feature somebody who we should all be eternally grateful for, John Still.

In periods of reflection and with, as we all hope, Luton Town standing in with a chance of achieving a Premier League place, through the play-offs, I often think about the significant role John Still played and whether, if he hadn’t of been at the helm from 2013 to 2015, whether we would be in the position we are now.

John came to Kenilworth Road, in February 2013, after the Hatters board had decided to do away with the services of Paul Buckle.

At that time Luton were doing a Watford and had had four managers in as many seasons, stability was needed if the Hatters were to climb back into the Football League.

Still’s first job, as the new incumbent of the managerial hot-seat was to assess the squad and he probably wondered what he’d let himself in for after seeing Luton beaten by Hyde and then thrashed by Gateshead, 5-1.

But Still began to make an impact and Luton finished the season with a five-game unbeaten run that lifted the club to a lofty seventh in the Conference, a platform from which Still could build.

During the close season, Still overhauled the Luton squad by releasing 12 players and bringing in 11 new players. He also chose to overhaul the backroom staff, basically stamping his footprint on a club that needed change.

Still’s ideas clearly worked and with Luton climbing the table he was rewarded with a contract extension taking him through to 2015. His contract also included an interesting clause that would see him rewarded with an additional year for each promotion he achieved with the club, quite an incentive.

December 2013 saw Still inspire Luton to six wins out of six as they climbed to the top of the Conference table, the achievement saw Still pick up the Manager of the Month, Conference award. Still was to win that same award in February 2014, as another impeccable run of games saw Luton not only top the table but go 14 points clear, the good times were returning to Kenilworth Road.

However, Luton had to wait until 15-April-2014 to claim the Conference title and grasp a return to the Football League that had taken longer than anyone had expected. In doing so, Still became the first manager, in history, to have achieved promotion out of non-league football with three different clubs.

In doing so with Luton, Still saw his team blaze a record-breaking trail:

• Longest unbeaten run in the league – 27 games
• Most consecutive away matches unbeaten – 15 games
• Most points accumulated – 101
• Most clean sheets – 23

The 2013/2014 season had certainly been a memorable one for everyone associated with our fine club.

Back in the Football League, Still’s Luton continued to march forward, with the Hatters topping the League Two table after the first fifteen matches, but a slump in form, which saw Luton lose seven consecutive fixtures in March/April 2014, saw any chances of a play-off place diminish and Still’s side eventually finished 8th, three points off of a play-off place.

The following season, Luton, under Still, were inconsistent and when the club could only win two games out of ten played from October to December, the board decided that, on 17th December 2015, to dispense with the services of Still, a sad day for all those who had cheered his name to the rafters after he’d taken Luton Town back into the Football League, after a lengthy absence.

John Still – Mini Fact File

Name – John Leonard Still

Date of Birth – 24-April-1950

Place of Birth – West Ham, England

Position – Defender / Manager

Youth Career – Leyton Orient

Playing Career – Leyton Orient, Bishops Stortford, Leytonstone, Dagenham

Managerial Career – Leytonstone, Leytonstone & Ilford, Dartford, Leytonstone & Ilford (again), Maidstone United, Redbridge Forest, Dagenham & Redbridge, Peterborough United, Barnet, Bristol Rovers (assistant), Dagenham & Redbridge (again), Luton Town, Dagenham & Redbridge (yet again), Barnet (again), Maidstone United

If you feel able to share any of your thoughts or memories on the Hatters career of John Still, please feel free to do so in the comment facility beneath this article.

If you can think of anyone who deserves nominating for coverage in this ongoing series, please drop their name into the comment facility beneath this article.

My thanks go to those who have already nominated faces from the past, they will all be covered, in time.

Next up in the series will be – Jack Bannister suggested by Mike Osborne


Previous article by Mad Hatter

Luton – It’s A Yes From The Majority But Perhaps It’s Not A Wise Move

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  • jimbo says:

    best manager we ever had. a true legend. COYH

  • Andrew says:

    Should be sir John still what a man , i really dont think we would have gotten back in the league if it was not for him . Coyh

  • Jamie Ritchie says:

    Thanks for another great and well written article.

    When the new stadium is built, stats like these should be placed somewhere prominent as motivation to shoe what can be achieved with hard work and good planning, John Still a well deserved Luton Legend COYH

    In doing so with Luton, Still saw his team blaze a record-breaking trail:

    • Longest unbeaten run in the league – 27 games
    • Most consecutive away matches unbeaten – 15 games
    • Most points accumulated – 101
    • Most clean sheets – 23

    • Mad Hatter says:

      When I visited Madison Square Garden, New York, on the guided tour it was pointed out that, on the concourse underneath the arena, were plaques relating to all the acts that have headlined there, Luton could do something similar at Power Court, historical facts and figures relating to the Hatters!

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