Luton Town’s assistant manager Mick Harford has thanked the club for their support after it was confirmed he will receive cancer treatment.

In a statement on the Luton Town website, the Championship club confirmed that the 62-year-old, who previously played for Luton and has managed the team, will step back from first team duties while he undertakes a chemotherapy treatment for prostate cancer, after being diagnosed in December 2020.

They said, “We are sorry to inform supporters that Mick Harford is currently fighting prostate cancer.”

The club have also confirmed that he will begin his chemotherapy in August, and will be away from Luton Town for the foreseeable future.

In comments on the Luton Town website, Harford said he wanted to encourage other men to get checked out

He said, “What I want is to raise awareness and encourage other men to go and get themselves checked out. That’s what I did and it’s not something that we are good at, us middle-aged and older men.

“We don’t like to talk about illness or go to the doctor, because we think we might be wasting their time, especially in the current climate with Covid. It is so vital not to think like that. The early symptoms of prostate cancer aren’t always noticeable, which is why it is so important to go to your GP and get checked out.

“I know a few people at the football club who have gone and done so since I was first diagnosed, and if our wonderful supporters can do one thing for me, it is to do exactly that, because early diagnosis is so crucial.

“I’ve been on hormone medication treatment for several months, but I now need to have a course of radiotherapy, at UCLH in London, where my oncology team have been brilliant with me. I’m really happy with the treatment I’m receiving, albeit it’s going to be a long journey which means I won’t be around on a daily basis at the training ground, which as everyone knows, is what I love doing.

“I want to thank everyone at the football club for their support. Gary and the board, Nathan, the staff and all the players have been so helpful to me over the past few months. Please continue to give them your wholehearted support. I will be on hand to help them and the players in whatever way I can, whilst also raising awareness about prostate cancer, to help others.”

Harford played in two non-consecutive spells for Luton as a player between 1984 and 1992, scoring 92 times in over 200 appearances for the club, including for the team that won the League Cup in 1988. He has also held the club’s manager role on two occasions, managing the team in 2008-09 as they won the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and later winning the League One title in 2019 during his spell as caretaker manager. He has also held a number of other coaching and boardroom roles with the club before his current role as the club’s assistant manager.

Luton themselves have said, “It doesn’t need saying, but everyone at Kenilworth Road gives their love and best wishes to Big Mick – who will be supported by his Luton Town family every step of the way.”

Well wishes have been sent by numerous other clubs, including some of Harford’s former clubs.

MK Dons, who Harford previously worked for as an assistant manager, said, “Our best wishes go to former assistant manager Mick Harford, who is battling prostate cancer. Everyone at Milton Keynes Dons wishes you a speedy and full recovery.”

Premier League outfit Chelsea said, “We’re sending our thoughts and best wishes to former Blue, Mick Harford. Get well soon, Mick.”

Reading FC said, “The Simod Cup victory conjures up special memories for Royals fans. But today, we want to celebrate the goal we conceded. Best wishes to Mick and his Luton Town family from all at Reading Football Club. We’re all right behind you in your fight, and wish you a speedy recovery!”

Northampton Town said, “Sending our very best wishes to Mick and all at @LutonTown”

Newcastle United said, “We’re wishing former #NUFC player, Mick Harford a full and speedy recovery. Get well soon, Mick”, while their North East rivals Sunderland added, “We’re all with you, Mick”

The England national team also sent their wishes to Harford, who received 2 caps for England as a player. They said, “We’re sending our thoughts and best wishes to you, Mick. Get well soon!”