Kenilworth Road ovation will send a shiver down Harford's spine

The thought of walking out at Kenilworth Road tomorrow evening ahead of Town’s promotion party is sending a shiver down the spine of Luton chief Mick Harford.

Friday, 3rd May 2019, 10:14 am
Updated Friday, 3rd May 2019, 10:18 am
Hatters boss Mick Harford
Hatters boss Mick Harford

The former striker had already been a legend amongst Hatters fans before he started his second spell in charge after previous manager Nathan Jones left for Stoke City in January.

As a player, Harford scored 92 goals in 217 games, while in his first spell at the helm, led Town to Johnstone’s Paint Trophy success over Scunthorpe in 2009.

Back at the Town in January 2016 as head of recruitment, he stepped into the breach when Jones left and has now now become even more of a hero, if that was ever possible, after masterminding the club's return to the Championship this week.

He will get an absolutely stunning ovation when walking out of tunnel for his final game in charge against Oxford United just before 5.30pm and on what it will mean to him, he said: “The coaching staff have been taking the mickey out me, saying we’re fed up of hearing ‘there’s only one Mickey Harford’ and all that, the songs and the chants.

“But even thinking about it now sends a shiver down my spine, and I have a real good affinity with the football fans at Luton Town Football Club.

"I know they’ll get behind me, they’ll get behind the team on Saturday, and also when the incoming manager comes in, they’ll give him massive support and that’s good to know for everyone at the football club.

Also on his feet to show his appreciation will be chief executive Gary Sweet, who spoke of just what a superb job Harford has done since being placed in interim charge.

He said: “I’ll join in on that (ovation), I think everyone will, I'm just looking forward to it now.

“Mick just loves this club, loves being a part of it and he’d do anything for us, he’d walk over hot coals for us, and we love him for it.

“There isn’t a man who’s been at this football club who’s got so much dedication to the cause and we’re just so lucky to have him.”

With Graeme Jones now appointed to take charge on Tuesday, Harford will return to his role as head of recruitment, trying to find the type of player who can keep Luton in the Championship.

While he is more than happy to do so, there are a few things he will miss about being manager, adding: “The biggest part I miss will be match days.

“I love match days, I love being around the players, being in and around the buzz, the atmosphere, especially at Kenilworth Road on those Tuesday nights, I’ll miss those.

"That Pompey game (3-2 win) was something special, so there will be a little tinge of sadness there that I won’t be involved, but I’ll go back to my role and hopefully play an important part in improving the squad and the team.

“I really, really understand now why managers get paid the most money, in terms of what they have to go through on a daily basis.

"Things get thrown at you from all kinds of angles, problems, sometimes nice problems, but it’s a real tough job and I know how hard it is to be manager again now.”