Luton chairman highlights the role Hatters legend Mick Harford played in the return of Nathan Jones

Wilkinson admits the Town hero was the driving force behind reunion

By Mike Simmonds
Friday, 12th June 2020, 10:43 am
Updated Friday, 12th June 2020, 11:00 am
Mick Harford celebrates winning promotion last season
Mick Harford celebrates winning promotion last season

Town chairman David Wilkinson has spoken of the major role that club legend Mick Harford played in the return of former manager Nathan Jones recently.

It was Harford who was handling first team affairs with the campaign postponed indefinitely after Graeme Jones left the club by mutual consent in April.

However, once it became apparent the season would reach a natural conclusion, Luton turned to the man who had led them to promotion from League Two and in with a chance of doing the same from the third tier last term, before departing for Stoke City.

They eventually went up again under the guidance of Harford, but Wilkinson admitted asking the head of recruitment, who has agreed to be Jones' assistant for the final nine matches, to try and perform an unwanted escapology act this term would have been unfair.

He said: “Mick played a very big part and probably if it hadn’t been for Mick, we might not have talked to him (Jones).

"Mick did get Gary (Sweet) to talk to him and then it was Gary that persuaded me to, then the others followed.

“It was very much Mick, but Mick is so even-handed, he’s such a generous bloke and he’s everybody’s mate is Mick.

“He’s just tremendous, you can’t say enough about the guy, he is amazing.

“If we hadn’t gone to Nathan, it would have been very tough on Mick to say ‘take the last nine games,’ as he didn’t want it.

“We so much wanted him to leave management on that high, and he doesn’t want to be there, he wants to be in recruitment, so this has worked out better that way.

“He gets on with Nathan really well and it’s made in heaven I suppose.”

Town made the decision to reemploy their former manager after deciding the terminate the contract of Graeme Jones and three of his backroom staff in April to reduce the cost base at Kenilworth Road due to the coronavirus pandemic which is crippling football.

On the decision, Wilkinson continued: "If you don’t know where you’re going and you don't know what’s going to happen next, I think it was fair on him and what we had to do.

"As clearly, it was an expensive package and you have to suddenly bite the bullet a bit and that’s what we had to do."

With the playing squad agreeing a wage deferral last month as well, something that was vital to keep the club running during these unprecedented times after revenue streams plummeted due to a lack of match-day income and ticket sales, Wilkinson confirmed he had also taken a pay cut to help out.

He said: "It’s (the players deferral) very, very important and it helps a great deal.

“The board apart from me in a small way and Gary aren’t paid, so everybody has taken a hit, as I think they should.

"So everyone’s done that and in some cases, some big hits, but it’s important.

"I think everybody knows the club's in our blood and so we do everything we can to make it work."