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Michael Gordon "Mick" Harford (born 12 February 1959), is an English former football player turned manager, most recently of Luton Town.

Playing career

Born in Sunderlandmarker, Mick Harford joined Lincoln City in 1977. He was at Lincoln for just over three years before he moved on to Newcastle United in a £180,000 transfer. After just 19 appearances and eight months at Newcastle, Harford moved on again, this time to Bristol City for £160,000 in August 1981. Seven months later, Harford had impressed enough to gain a move to Birmingham City for £100,000 in March 1982.

Harford continued to impress at Birmingham and in December 1984, then Luton Town manager David Pleat added Harford to his side for a £250,000 fee. In his time at Luton, Harford earned himself two England team caps, making his international debut against Israel in February 1988. He also featured against Denmark in a November 1988 fixture.

Harford was part of the side that won the League Cup in 1988 for Luton against Arsenal. He also scored in the Final the following year as Luton went down 3-1 to Nottingham Forest. He is often voted the best ever Luton Town player, such is the regard he is held in at Kenilworth Roadmarker. He was a key player at Luton until his transfer to Derby County in January 1990 for £450,000. Even after his transfer, Harford managed to help the Hatters in their fight against relegation, as in the last game of the season Derby County played Luton Town, and Luton needed the win to stay up. Harford managed to head the ball from outside his own box, past England goalkeeper Peter Shilton, into his own net as Luton won the game and avoided relegation. Harford then rejoined the Hatters in September 1991 for £325,000, despite competition from Manchester United. Harford managed a credible 12 goals from 29 league games as the Hatters were relegated from what was about to become the Premier League.

Following Luton's relegation, Harford moved on again, this time to Chelsea for £300,000 in August 1992, but despite being the top scorer at the club, Harford was surprisingly sold on again in March 1993, to his hometown club Sunderland in a £250,000 transfer deal. He lasted just four months at Sunderland, before moving to Coventry City for £200,000 in July 1993. Despite being at the club for 13 months, Harford only made one league appearance, as a substitute, and despite scoring he never featured for the club again.

In August 1994, Harford made his last move as a player. He joined Joe Kinnear's Wimbledon side, for £50,000. Harford would go on to make 60 appearances for the Dons, many in midfield, before he moved into a coaching role at Selhurst Parkmarker.

Coach and manager

Making his move into coaching with Wimbledon, Harford developed his skills before following his old manager Joe Kinnear, back to Luton Town following Luton's relegation to Division 3. Harford helped master-mind the successful promotion season of 2001–02, as Luton stormed to promotion back to the Second Division. Following the 2002–03 season, the club was sold to a new consortium, and Harford and Kinnear were then sacked. Harford was to be offered his job back, but he refused to work under that board.

After the owners were forced out, Harford returned to the club as Director of Football, as well as being the first-team coach. Harford helped new manager Mike Newell to a 10th place finish, and his value was proved by then Nottingham Forest manager Joe Kinnear's attempts to make him his assistant manager at Forest. Harford initially rejected the move but in November 2004, despite the contrast of fortunes both sides were displaying, with Forest fighting relegation in the Championship and Luton running away with the League One title, Harford moved onto the City Groundmarker.

Kinnear was to last only a few more weeks at the club before the club's poor form forced him to leave the club. Harford was then appointed caretaker manager, and he performed admirably despite the problems at the club. Gary Megson was then appointed manager full time in January 2005, and Harford left the club.

Out of work for only a short while, Harford teamed up with Andy King at Swindon Town in February 2005, in a deal that was due to run until the end of the 2004–05 season. In April 2005 however, Harford was appointed the new manager of Rotherham United, whose relegation from the Championship at the end of the 2004–05 season had already been confirmed. Harford had an impressive start to his managerial career, but was sacked in December after a run of 17 games without a win. He was replaced by Alan Knill. Harford finished the season at Millwall, coaching the strikers at the club before their relegation from the Championship at the end of the 2005–06 season.

Harford then joined his former Derby County team-mate Geraint Williams at Colchester United in the summer of 2006, becoming the club's assistant manager. Harford was linked with another return to Kenilworth Roadmarker following the sacking of ex-Luton manager Mike Newell, but the job instead went to Kevin Blackwell. He left Colchester to become assistant manager at Queens Park Rangers in June 2007, before becoming caretaker after the departure of John Gregory. Harford left QPR after the appointment of Luigi De Canio.

In January 2008, Harford was unveiled as the new manager of struggling and cash-strapped Luton Town until the end of the season. He committed to stay at Luton despite the club being docked 30 points in the break before the 2008-09 season.

Harford led Luton Town to victory in the Football League Trophy final in a fiercely contested match against Scunthorpe United on 5 April 2009. The tie ended 3–2 after extra time and saw a crowd of 40,000 Luton fans make the short trip down the M1 to Wembley Stadiummarker. However, one week later in the league, the 30-point deduction imposed on the club proved too large an obstacle to overcome, and Harford's Luton succumbed to relegation to the Football Conference. On 1 October, after a disappointing start to life in the Conference, Harford parted company with Luton Town by mutual consent.

Statistics

Playing record

League appearances only.
Club Season League
Apps Goals
Lincoln City 1977–78 27 9
1978–79 31 6
1979–80 36 16
1980–81 21 10
Total 115 41
Newcastle United 1980–81 19 4
Bristol City 1981–82 30 11
Birmingham City 1981–82 12 9
1982–83 29 6
1983–84 39 8
1984–85 12 2
Total 92 25
Luton Town 1984–85 22 16
1985–86 37 22
1986–87 18 4
1987–88 25 9
1988–89 33 7
1989–90 4 0
Total 139 57
Derby County 1989–90 16 4
1990–91 36 8
1991–92 6 3
Total 58 15
Luton Town 1991–92 29 12
Chelsea 1992–93 28 9
Sunderland 1992–93 11 2
Coventry City 1993–94 1 1
Wimbledon 1994–95 27 6
1995–96 21 2
1996–97 13 1
1997–98 0 0
Total 60 9
Career total 582 186


Managerial record

As of 1 October 2009.
Team Nat From To Record
G W D L Win %
Nottingham Forest 16 December 2004 1 January 2005 6 2 1 3 33.33
Rotherham United 7 April 2005 10 December 2005 30 5 9 16 16.66
Queens Park Rangers 1 October 2007 29 October 2007 5 2 2 1 40.00
Luton Town 16 January 2008 1 October 2009 92 25 30 37 27.17


Honours

As a player

Luton Town

As a manager

Luton Town

External links



References




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