Hatters Chief Recruitment Officer and club legend Mick Harford said that the current group of Luton Town players give him great inspiration and compared them to the successful teams of the 1980’s.
Harford, who was speaking to members of the national and local media before our Championship play-off final on Saturday, was reminiscent of the first time he joined Town.
“When I first came here, David Pleat was the manager and David Evans was the chairman”, said Harford. “I met David Pleat at Junction 10 and he drove me to the chairman’s house which was the other side of Harpenden, and nearly killed me because there’s a really narrow road called Lower Luton Road and on the way we must have hit about five or six bushes, Pleaty’s driving wasn’t great, I think he was a bit nervous.
“We got to David’s house and he said ‘I’ve signed all you players, it’s not nothing to do with him (Pleat)’. It’s a nice little story because he signed Steve Foster, Peter Nicolas, David Preece. When I came here in the early 80’s, the squad was very very good, we had a team of internationals like Steve Foster, Mal Donaghy, Brian Stein, Ricky Hill. Mitchell Thomas and Tim Breacker played in the international youth levels, so it was a really good squad when I came here.
“The squad today reminds me a lot of what we were. Spirit, togetherness, camaraderie, a desire and a passion to win, hard-working team, players who get on and a real diligent group who built the culture of the football club.
“The position of the football club at the moment and me being around the players on a daily basis gives me great inspiration from them, they are a brilliant group of footballers and I really enjoy being around them.”
The Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win against Scunthorpe United in 2009 was the last time the Hatters were victorious at Wembley Stadium. Harford was in charge from the dugout that day and Big Mick was quick to praise the fans, the board and the managers that have succeeded him.
“It was a great occasion, I think it was the highest ever ticket allocation given to a football club at Wembley Stadium, which was 42,000 given to Luton Town and Luton Town filled that. That’s why this club is so great, because of the fans.
“When we were so far down the ladder, to come back from such a rollercoaster ride, from the depths of despair, which it was, the club was in turmoil. It took five years to get out the National League, you look at Wrexham and it took them even longer, it’s a really tough league to get out of. John Still deserves a lot of plaudits for that, but you could never have imagined it (getting to the Premier League). All the managers that we’ve had here have had massive support from the board and 2020, whatever a manager wants or what he asks for, he’s been given it.
“Nathan Jones came in after John Still and did a great job, got us out of League Two into League One and we progressed into the Championship. Nathan left and came back to steady the ship again, now Rob Edwards has taken over and done a brilliant job.”