Jeremiah Walsh, born in Durham, North Carolina to an American father and an American/German mother is a product of the famous West Ham United youth academy, he went on to play for West Ham for six years before a torn cruciate ligament cut short his footballing career. Now recently separated, and his coaching badges in hand he was looking for a challenge other than player/coach of The Counting House Sunday pub team. He was also a part time coach for West Ham's youth set-up where he worked closely with Tony Carr. He is currently living in Luton, about an hour drive down the M1 into London which he made everyday of the week. With not much to do now but coach in a part time role with West Ham's youth Academy and his coaching badges complete he decided to purchase season tickets to watch Luton Town during the season, it was only a short walk from his flat to Kenilworth Road.
Fast forward six years and Luton's fortunes had gone in the opposite direction to that of Jeremiah's since he'd started going to Kenilworth Road. From the dizzying heights of the Football League Championship to the doldrums of the Skrill Premiership in just seven years.
Jeremiah and his lads had started going to matches as Luton Town went into free-fall. He'd often wondered if the two were linked, and now faced with the heartbreak of a third consecutive season in the Skrill Premier league, he wondered if he should renew his season ticket. Maybe that would turn their fortunes round? He'd tell anyone that would listen that they had good players, but they just couldn't seem to get the consistent results. "You should be the boss of this club mate", his buddy would often quip. Jeremiah would smile, knowing deep down he could probably do a better job.
A bright Thursday afternoon saw Jeremiah at the Little Heath Sports Ground, bellowing encouragement to his teenage Academy boys running between flags. Some of the other staff look on from the touchline, gossiping and clapping in the warm sunshine, among them a man who looked familiar to Jeremiah, although he couldn't place how he knew him.
"Okay lads, that's enough for today. I'll see you all here on Saturday morning. Don't be late!".
The boys and most of the staff headed off, the familiar man still hanging around, he approached Jeremiah. "I wonder if I might have a word?" he said.
"Sure" replied Jeremiah, "you're face is familiar, although I can't place how it is familiar."
The man smiled. "I'm Gary Sweet, managing director of Luton Town football club."
"My son was part of the Academy's winning team until he left the club last year", continued Sweet, "I happen to know you're a season ticket holder at Kenilworth Road, and that you've recently passed your coaching qualifications." Jeremiah was taken aback. "You know an awful lot about me" said Jeremiah cautiously.
Sweet laughed, "It's nothing sinister. My brother-in-law is a regular at The Counting House pub here in London, you've been crowing about that badge ever since you knew you'd pass with a distinction!"
Now it was Jeremiah's turn to laugh, "I suppose I didn't exactly keep it quiet, did I?"
"Which brings us to the point of my presence here" said Sweet, becoming serious. "You know the predicament Town is in, this will be the fourth season in the Skrill Premiership. Once again favourites for promotion, and I really don't want to see us fail. John Still has decided he doesn't want the task of taking the club forward after failing to achieve promotion this past season, and we don't have the money to pay for a big name manager."
A shiver ran up Jeremiah's spine. "Is this a job offer?" he asked incredulously.
"Not so much of a job offer as an invitation to speak to our chairman, Nick Owen. He's aware of you and your growing reputation. If you're interested, here's my card, give me a call and we'll arrange for you to come in." "Thanks" said Jeremiah, "I'll be in touch."
He rang Sweet the next morning at 9:05 and he was on his way to Kenilworth Road at 9:30. He was shown into Nick Owen's office with a mounting sense of excitement. Four hours later Jeremiah left the office as manager of Luton Town F.C. With shaking hands he rang his mates to tell them the news.
The Luton today back page simply carried the headline "Luton appoint Walsh as next manager!". There'd be a few heads scratched on reading that. On the 2nd of July 2013, Jeremiah Walsh officially took up the reigns of Manager of Luton Town FC. The work could now begin.
The first people he met were the backroom staff, several who were not cut out for this level and could not help this club move forward properly. A physio who looked like he'd prefer to be armed with leeches and a saw. Only two coaches would stay at the end of the day, the U-18 head coach, Paul Driver and a scout, Mick Loughton who has a ton of experience at all levels and has the right vision for the scouting department moving forward. Jeremiah had already agreed with the board that more coaches were required, and so he set about finding the required staff. The first backroom signing that I made was a physio by the name of Dave Singleton, there would be plenty of more to come within the next day or two. Paul Haverson was brought in to be my chief scout, Chris Malkin was also signed to be a physio. Former England Internation, Ian Storey-Moore was signed to be apart of our scouting department here at Luton. We also hired our head of youth development which will be critical here at Luton and I think we found a good one in Darren Barnard who was capped by Wales 22 times and is working torward his "B" license. Darren Heyes was our next signing and he will be our goalkeeping coach through 2015. Our head physio is set to be Lindsey Bull from Australia. Jon Bickers was hired to be our U-21 head coach. Nick Greenwood is going to be my right hand man and my assistant manager here at Town. That is the entire staff as of right now.
Jeremiah and Nick set about deciding on tactics. With the personnel available to them, it was decided that a 4-1-3-2 formation would suit best, with ability for the attacking midfielder to drop into the midfield if a more defensive formation was required.
Paul Haverson and the scouting department did a lovely job given the short amount of time they had to find the required pieces that we could plug in for depth and a couple of players who will even start the season for Luton.
Ian had found a decent looking centre half in Kevin Malaga. Lots of interest, so we offer him a contract. He says "yes" and we wait. Also offered a contract to a young goalkeeper released from Manchester United, Dean Santangelo. He says "yes" too.