Alan Sheehan has joined English Premier League club Southampton as part of the backroom team of new manager Nathan Jones.
The opportunity to work at Premier League level represents a hugely exciting challenge for Athlone native Sheehan, who joins Southampton from Luton Town along with Jones and assistant manager Chris Cohen.
Sheehan has signed a deal with Southampton to be the club’s first team coach for three and a half years. As a player, Sheehan was renowned for his ability from dead balls and his role with Southampton will incorporate coaching on set pieces.
It’s understood that Luton were very keen to retain Sheehan’s services, but the opportunity to work in the Premier League was too good of an opportunity for the Coosan native to turn down.
Southampton confirmed the sacking of Ralph Hasenhüttl on Monday last after a run of just one win in nine games. The German’s last game in charge was last Sunday’s 4-1 defeat at Newcastle and the Saints moved swiftly to appoint Jones as their new manager.
Although his appointment hadn’t been confirmed at that stage, Jones was in attendance as Southampton beat Sheffield Wednesday 6-5 on penalties in the Carabao Cup third round last night (Wednesday). Rubén Sellés, the club’s first team lead coach, took charge of the side on an interim basis for that game.
The new Southampton management team are facing a difficult first game in charge away to Liverpool this Saturday.
Southampton FC said it was “delighted” to announce it has appointed Nathan Jones as the club’s new first team manager.
In a statement, the club confirmed that Jones has signed a three-and-a-half-year contract at St Mary’s, where he will also be joined by first team coaches Chris Cohen and Alan Sheehan.
Luton Town FC also confirmed today (Thursday) that Jones has agreed to take the managerial position at Southampton.
“With the 49-year-old being under contract until 2027, the board have agreed an acceptable compensation package with Southampton for a deal that will also see assistant-manager Chris Cohen and coach Alan Sheehan join the Saints,” said a Luton Town statement.
A son of Anne (RIP) and Michael Sheehan, Alan began his career as a youngster with St Francis in Athlone. During his time as a Luton player, Sheehan – who generally operated as a left-back or centre-half – made 135 appearances for the Hatters and captained them to back-to-back promotions.
Last season, Welshman Jones (with Sheehan part of his coaching team) led Luton into the Championship play-offs with a sixth-placed finish. It was Luton’s highest finishing since being relegated from the top flight some 30 years ago.
Interestingly, Sheehan became Jones’ first signing for Luton when he initially joined the club on loan from Bradford City in January, 2016.
Jones departs with the Hatters once again in firm contention, sitting ninth in the table and two points off the play-off positions following his final game in charge at Stoke on Tuesday night.
Luton Town’s chief recruitment officer and former club player Mick Harford will take interim charge for Saturday’s home game against Rotherham United.
Luton Town CEO Gary Sweet said: “We would like to thank Nathan for what he has brought to our club over 303 matches, which is the third most of any Luton manager. Together with his staff, and of course the brilliant group of players he has nurtured for the best part of six and a half years, he has given us some fantastic memories and a team to be constantly proud of.
“Nathan leaves behind a fantastic legacy, along with Alan and Chris, who have both also played a significant part in taking us on a journey from League Two, in Alan’s case, to establishing us in the higher reaches of the Championship. We thank them both too and wish them every success.
“The fact we are looking up towards the Premier League, rather than down towards League One as we were when we brought Nathan back to the club, makes the Luton Town job an attractive one.”