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Page last updated at 07:30 GMT, Thursday, 1 October 2009 08:30 UK

Harford parts company with Luton

Luton manager Mick Harford
Harford took charge of Luton in January 2008

Luton Town have parted company with manager Mick Harford by mutual consent.

The former Hatters striker, 50, was at the helm for two successive relegations after the club were deducted points for administration and financial problems.

But Harford, who took over in January 2008, led Luton to Johnstone's Paint Trophy glory last season and the side are eighth in the Blue Square Premier.

First team coach Alan Neilson has been named caretaker boss for Saturday's home game against Tamworth.

Luton chairman Nick Owen says that the decision to part with Mick Harford was inevitable.

He has had to suffer a total of 40 points deducted over the couple of years. Most managers wouldn't have even contemplated taking it on. His loyalty is unquestioned

Nick Owen

He told BBC Three Counties Radio: "Obviously all the time the club is looking at how much it is achieving and whether we are keeping up with our targets on the playing side.

"It was inevitable decision in a way, but a very very difficult one. Mick is much loved by everyone at the club.

"He has come in for a lot of criticism, but he joined the club at a very difficult time, when we were in administration and he has had to use players that he wouldn't have signed himself and slowly but surely he has built his own squad.

"He has had to suffer horrendous points decisions - a total of 40 points deducted over the couple of years that he has been with us as a manager. Most managers wouldn't have even contemplated taking it on. His loyalty is unquestioned.

"We are very grateful for that and my admiration is undimmed."

"We want to make an appointment as quickly as possible, and we are getting onto that immediately. I don't know all the names that are on the list but there are people that we are thinking of."

Luton Supporters club vice-chairman Mark Chapman said: "He [Harford] is a legend to all Luton Town fans because of his playing ability.

"Obviously the situation where he came in last year and took us out of a very difficult situation. In my opinion he did superbly and we have got to thank him for the day out at the Johnstone's Paint Trophy final last year.

"I think that highlights the issues. He had the ability in a one-off game to motivate players and come up with tactics that beat higher division opposition but he seemed top lack the tactical nous to do it on a day-by-day league game basis as was highlighted on Tuesday night's performance.


"To be fair, Stevenage came prepared to play Luton, they knew the system that Luton were prepared to play, and they came with a system to beat that system. We didn't have an answer. I think ultimately that has been the downfall."

Luton have lost only three of their 13 league games this season but all of those defeats have come in their last five matches, denting their bid to return to the Football League at the first attempt.

Only the Blue Square Premier champions win automatic promotion and the Hatters are 13 points behind leaders Oxford United.

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see also
Luton 0-1 Stevenage
29 Sep 09 |  Non League
Cambridge United 3-4 Luton
26 Sep 09 |  Non League
Harford named stand-in Luton boss
16 Jan 08 |  Luton

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