Sweet felt it was 'unethical' of Stoke to appoint Jones during the transfer window

Hatters chief executive Gary Sweet at Hillsborough on Saturday
Hatters chief executive Gary Sweet at Hillsborough on Saturday

Hatters chief executive Gary Sweet believes it was an ‘unethical’ move from Stoke City to entice boss Nathan Jones away from Luton during the transfer window this week.

After speculation was rife on Tuesday afternoon, the news came through on Wednesday that Jones had been given permission to talk to the Championship club, swiftly unveiled as their new manager in the early afternoon.

Although Sweet had no issue with the Potters for the way they actually did the deal, he wasn’t happy about the timing of it, with Luton already looking to add to their squad ahead of the deadline at the end of the month.

Speaking to the press this afternoon, he said: “I think it’s a little bit unethical, taking another manager in the January window, because now we have to go and do the same, perhaps.

“That creates a lot of disruption in not just one, but maybe two camps, and the last thing we need really at the moment is that disruption.

“The timing of it, I think there should be some kind of rule in football where manager’s can’t move within the transfer window.

“We’ve already done some transfer dealings, we’re on the cusp of doing a couple of other little things, which are all on hold at the moment.

“What’s the point of bringing a player in for example, if the manager who identified that player with our recruitment staff, isn't going to use him?

"So we need now to identify someone within this window, so that we can actually use that period, if he feels there’s any weaknesses in the side to recruit."

On how the move came about for Jones, Sweet, who had begun the week recovering from surgery after undergoing an operation at the weekend, continued: "We’ve been through this a few times, so we’re well rehearsed at this now.

“On Monday, I was contacted by Stoke City to inquire about Nathan’s availability and whether they could gain access to Nathan.

“So after a conversation with Nathan, when he expressed an interest to do so and Stoke’s commitment to paying any compensation clauses that were in the contract, I gave that permission, with the board’s approval and matters then went ahead as we all know.

“It was done properly by Stoke, so we have no complaints."

Sweet did admit to a certain level of disappointment that Jones, who had completed three years in charge of the club on the Sunday, opted to move to leave Kenilworth Road for the bet365 stadium, especially so soon after the news that Power Court had been approved by the Luton Council planning department.

He added: "From our point of view Nathan has done exceptionally well for us, we’ve climbed the pyramid significantly since his arrival, so was it a surprise? Not really.

“I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone, it’s a real disappointment and I think the disappointment for us was not especially we’ve got to change football managers, because it’s not a surprise.

“The disappointment is because of the timing. It came literally two hours after what was the most important news of this week, which is actually the planning officer has recommended an approval of Power Court.

“I was just digging my way through that report which I still haven’t finished and on my bed as I had surgery on Sunday.

“So from that point of view, it was a real disappointment."