Goals on Sunday: Mick Harford doesn't mind his hard-man image

Last Updated: 27/02/14 3:24pm

Mick Harford: Not fazed by his hard-man image

Former England international Mick Harford told Goals on Sunday that he is comfortable with his tough-guy reputation stemming from his playing days.

Harford was a no-nonsense centre-forward who represented ten clubs, most notably Luton, with the type of aggression largely absent from the modern game.

"I wasn't hard - I was brave," Harford told Kammy and Ben Shepherd.

"I'd put my head into places where other people wouldn't go. Other people see that as being hard.

"I tried to win the ball and get there before a defender. Now if that means you're being hard then that's what it is."

Harford insists he is relaxed about that playing style defining him.

"I don't mind the image," he continued.

"At times it came in handy. Nowadays you cringe about it!"

"I'd put my head into places where other people wouldn't go. Other people see that as being hard."

Mick Harford

His much-travelled career took him up and down the country but nowhere is he remembered as fondly as he is at Luton Town after two spells between 1984-90 and then 1991-92.

Looking back he recalled: "We played a lot of football in that club with David Pleat as manager, Ray Harford was the manager, Jimmy Ryan.

"They all used to emphasise about playing football. It just became a fit."

Again Harford's physical style was his main asset.

"I was a big fella and I enjoyed the way we played. I was an out-ball for the full-backs and the midfield players would get in support of me."

He insists, though, that certain opponents gave as good as they got.

"Paul McGrath gave me a dead leg. Paul was as a quiet, tough, hard guy.

"I've got scares to prove what Big Sam [Allardyce] did to me one day.

"It was a two-way thing, it wasn't just me dishing it out, I've taken knocks."

Remembering the beginnings of his journeyman career, Harford said: "I went from being a plumber to go to Lincoln for three or four years and scored a lot of goals there.

"Arthur Cox signed me for Newcastle but it just didn't work out there.

"I was a young lad - 19 or 20 - and the burden of carrying that No.9 shirt was a bit too much for me at that age. I didn't settle. I think being an ex Sunderland fan didn't help!

"I moved to Bristol and moved onto Birmingham, and after two or three years I ended up at Luton which was probably the most successful time of my career."

Pondering why it took him so long to finally find at home at Luton, Harford joked: "I was rubbish!"