John Still: Luton Town appoint Dagenham & Redbridge boss

 

Dagenham & Redbridge boss John Still has been confirmed as the new manager of non-league side Luton Town on a two-and-a-half-year deal.

The 62-year-old will drop from League Two to the Blue Square Bet Premier after nine years at the Daggers.

In that time he achieved promotion to the Football League in 2007 and won the League Two play-offs in 2010.

Daggers' assistant manager Wayne Burnett has been placed in interim charge until the end of the season.

Still the boss

  • Maidstone United 1986 to 1989: Won promotion to the Football League
  • Redbridge Forest (later Dagenham & Redbridge) 1989-1994: Won promotion to the Conference
  • Peterborough United 1994 to 1995
  • Barnet 1997 to 2000 and 2001 to 2002: Got to the old Division Three play-offs twice, but failed to win them both times. Returned in 2001, but suffered relegation out of the Football League.
  • Dagenham & Redbridge 2004 to 2013: Won promotion to League Two in 2007 and then League One in 2010. Relegated back to League Two in 2011

Former Hatters boss Paul Buckle left the job last week, with the club eighth in the Blue Square Bet Premier.

Still, who is expected to take charge of the Hatters for Tuesday's trip to Braintree, told BBC Three Counties Radio: "In your life you have projects. The project I had at Dagenham was to do everything I could to make them a Football League club.

"I said once I feel I've done that, if anything else comes up that matches the ambition I believe I still have, then that's what I want to do.

"The (other) offers that have come in for me to leave have been a higher level than Dagenham.

"But it has to be right club, right place, right time. When the situation at Luton town came up, they seemed to be very impressed with how I do things. I was very impressed with the things the club explained to me.

"We have a great chance of promotion even this year, but the way I do things is build a club. I expect the people around me to work very hard, I'm very ambitious, I don't suffer fools and I want people to want to be part of what I do. The timing of this was fantastic."

Dagenham gave the Kenilworth Road side permission to talk to Still over the weekend and the London club waived the full compensation due in order to allow the former Barnet boss to leave.

"Under the terms of his contract Dagenham & Redbridge FC were entitled to a large compensation fee from the Hatters, but that would have stopped John from being able to make the move," read a Dagenham statement.

Football League's longest serving current managers

John Still's nine seasons at Dagenham was the longest stint of current Football League managers. Here are the new top five:

  • Paul Tisdale, Exeter City, seven seasons (since June 2006)
  • Kenny Jackett, Millwall, six seasons (since November 2007)
  • Greg Abbott, Carlisle, five seasons (since December 2008)
  • Chris Wilder, Oxford Utd, five seasons (since December 2008)
  • Nigel Clough, Derby County, four seasons (since January 2009)

"In light of the fantastic job he has done for the Daggers, Luton will instead pay a nominal amount up front with further nominal payments depending on their success with John at the helm. The club will also be sending a side to play a pre-season friendly at Kenilworth Road."

The statement added: "The Daggers board was initially shocked and disappointed on learning of John's decision, but once they realised that it was his wish now to move they quickly decided that to stand in his way would have been wrong given his service to the club."

Still led the Daggers to promotion to the Football League in 2007 - a feat Luton have been trying to achieve for four seasons - and won the League Two play-offs three years ago.

He also took Maidstone United into the fourth tier of English football in 1989.

The former defender, who embarked on his second spell as Dagenham boss in 2004, has been roundly admired for his ability to not only take the east Londoners into the Football League with limited resources, but for also bringing a season of League One football to Victoria Road and stabilising the club in League Two.

He will become the fifth manager to attempt to return Luton to the Football League, following the departures of Mick Harford, Richard Money, Gary Brabin and Buckle over the past four seasons.

The two-times Barnet and former Peterborough boss will end his run as the league's longest-serving manager and will leave Dagenham 16th in League Two, eight points clear of relegation.

Luton, meanwhile, are 11 points off the Blue Square Bet Premier play-offs, with as many as three games in hand on teams above them.