Hatters legend Harford hails Luton supporters as the 'best fans in the country' following ovation at Kenilworth Road

Club legend back in the dugout for FA Cup clash

By Mike Simmonds
Monday, 10th January 2022, 1:53 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 5:51 pm
Luton assistant manager Mick Harford gives the Town fans a thumbs up at Kenilworth Road on Sunday
Luton assistant manager Mick Harford gives the Town fans a thumbs up at Kenilworth Road on Sunday

Hatters assistant boss Mick Harford labelled Town’s supporters as the ‘best fans in the country’ following the ovation he received during yesterday’s FA Cup third round win over Harrogate Town.

The club legend was making his first outing on the Kenilworth Road pitch since August after undergoing a course of radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer which had kept him away from his match-day duties in the dugout.

However, it was announced that he was able to return in the week, as Harford, who not only represented Luton 217 times, scoring 92 goals, but has been manager, coach and head of recruitment was applauded on to the field ahead of the warm ups, also getting a standing ovation before kick-off and another one after the full time whistle.

The Town number two’s name was chanted throughout too by the majority of the 4,834 in attendance, with Harford stating beforehand, he would struggle to keep his emotions in check at the game.

Taking to Twitter afterwards, Harford wrote: “Wow. What an ovation today at The Kenny.

"Really unbelievable the support and backing you fans have given to me, it means so much, thanks again to the best fans in the country. #COYH.”

Boss Nathan Jones was thrilled to have Harford back in the dugout too, as he said: “He’s dipped his hand in the last few weeks, and then we spoke a little while ago about when his productive return was going to be.

Town legend Mick Harford

"We said around about the first (of January), but we gauge it week by week, and then he’s come in and he’s back to normal.

"It was a great bit of news and we’re delighted to have him back.

“It has been hard for him being away from it, not just with what he’s gone through but being away from here.

"He has missed it, so it’s good to have him back.

"We didn’t want to push him or do anything but he feels ready now and we’re delighted with that.

"He is brilliant around the environment, we’ve missed him in that department because we’ve been used to having him around, when he’s not there, we miss him.

“That’s the regard he’s held in, so I’m delighted he got that ovation.

“He deserved that, for what he’s done for the football club and what he’s been through.

"Let's not forget we’ve bought in Alan Sheehan (first team coach) as well who’s been a fantastic player for this football club, captain and leader, so another good thing.

“A lot of good things have happened over the past three or four weeks in terms of the club and people committing their futures, not just myself but other people behind the scenes, so we’re in a good place.

“It’s been a good day all round, FA Cup, decent crowd here, scored four, kept a clean sheet, got minutes into people, so it was a real good exercise.

"Let’s pay Harrogate respect, they’re a good side and Simon’s (Weaver) done wonderful work in terms of bringing them through the leagues and they’re going to do very, very well."

Goalscorer Kal Naismith was another who was happy to see Harford on a regular basis once more at the Brache as he said: “It’s unbelievable to have him back, he looks great, he’s positive every day and just having him for a full week at the training ground was good.

"He’s in the gym every morning, in the gym after training, just always there helping the lads, and it’s amazing him coming back.”

Meanwhile, midfielder Luke Berry added: "He’s been dipping his toe in the last few weeks and now he’s back permanently.

"Its been really good just to see him and have a chat with him, see how he’s getting on and he’s a great presence to have around training and to chat to, it’s brilliant.”