Ex-Town skipper has plans to get into coaching after retirement
Former Luton captain Alan Sheehan hasn’t ruled out a return to the Hatters one day in the future after admitting he was left ‘overwhelmed’ by the reaction from supporters following his recent exit from Kenilworth Road.
The 33-year-old ended his four year stint with Town on transfer deadline day last month, after coming to an agreement on the final six months of his contract.
When the news was announced, there was a huge number of messages from supporters on social media thanking the popular Irishman for his service, which totalled 135 games, nine goals and back-to-back promotions .
A fair few called for him to return on the coaching staff one day, and speaking exclusively to the Luton News, Sheehan said: “That was really, really overwhelming to see the reaction from the fans and about coming back one day, you never know what your future holds.
“I can only say from the minute I came that the reception I had and how good the fans were to me even in that loan spell and then for the next three and a half years after, four years in total, it felt like home to me.
“You just get that feeling that you’re not really doing it for yourself, your family’s located in the area and you’ve got that buzz around the place, it is my favourite time as a footballer.
“The success we had as a club and the feelgood factor, the environment and the group of players we had there for a number of years, it was just so enjoyable going into training every day it really was.
“Obviously you want to play for a bit longer, but I’m working really really hard, doing a lot of work on coaching and training myself, as I want to learn as much as I can.
“I’m about 80, 90 per cent through my A Licence, that’s going really, really well and in the future that’s something I’d like to do and you never know one day, if I return, I return.
“But no matter what happens, I’ll come back and watch the games. I’ll go and support them and try to stay under the radar and enjoy watching them now.
“I’m sure there will be so managers and top coaches that would love to be at Luton (in the future).
“There’s a number at the club already that are brilliant coaches and I tried to learn off them as much as I could in the last few years.
“I’ve had the privilege of working with and learning off them all, I’ll just keep learning for now, but you never know what the future holds."
Although Sheehan still wants to be a footballer for now, he is already casting his eye to the future and would love to be in charge of a club himself.
He continued: “One day I’d love to be a manager.
“I know I need to learn a lot about being a coach and I’m going to watch a lot of games.
“Since I’ve left Luton, I’ve gone to watch three or four games.
"I try to get as many in, see the different styles, so it’s something that I want to learn as much as I can about and try and move forward with that in the future.
“I did my UEFA B at the club with the youth teams as well and the A Licence, I did eight days in the summer, three days in December.
“I’ve been taking sessions with the U16s with the help of the academy and Andy Awford, they’ve been very good in helping me out.
“But the A Licence is like a full time job, so this time off for now has given me a lot of time to do that and I’ve got my final assessment soon.
“It’s something that I love, I really do.
"I’ve had a good few tastes of it now, I love football and want to be involved in it as long as I can, that’s the route I’ll be going down in the next few years when I retire.”
For now though, Sheehan wants to extend his 18-year career which has been him make almost 450 first team appearances.
It was the main reason behind his decision to leave Kenilworth Road, having only featured seven times this term, with just two league starts.
He said: “I had four unbelievable years at Luton, I’ve got relationships with people at the club, very good relationship with Gary (Sweet, chief executive) and the manager (Graeme Jones).
“Me and Gary had a good talk and all good things come to an end.
“I thought it was the right time, I don’t think I would have been playing many more games until the end of the season, as it’s a big squad.
“I had a really, really good time and sometimes it’s time to go.
“The Championship is the Championship.
"I’m 33 and I’m a realist, I knew I was going to have perform out of my skin and after the (Achilles) operation I had in the summer, it was always going to be hard to play regularly.
“I was out for three months at the start of the season with an Achilles and then I came back, I’m playing Cardiff in the cup and then you’re kind of playing once every month.
"You can’t really get into the flow of things, playing week in week out and we’ve got such a strong squad.
"You look at the people, there was good players there who have played in the Championship before and are probably a bit more suited to the job than me.
“So I just tried to help out as much as I could for the first six months, but that was it.
“You never want to leave, I loved being at the club, but you want to be contributing as well.
“I’ve been treated so well by everybody at the club, we came to an agreement with Gary and the manager and everything was done unbelievably.
“I’m so happy and I think it was the right decision.
“It was a great four years.
"I’m going to need to go and play some more football, whatever level that will be for me, enjoy the next few years of football and then go down another route."
Sheehan hasn't been without his suitors since becoming a free agent either, and is now weighing up his next move, adding: "I have had clubs in touch, it will probably be me signing somewhere until the end of the season to help a team out and then we’ll see what happens in the summer.
"I’ve had conversations with managers about the summer as well, so we’ll see what happens.
"Right now, it’s just training hard and staying fit and when something that takes my fancy comes up, suits me as a player, I’ll have to take that very seriously.
"Because obviously I’d like to get back playing football and helping the team out."