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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mick Harford Joins QPR as First Team Coach

[Going back two decades, Mick Harford was a player then-manager, Alan Mullery came close to signing for QPR (from Birmingham) in 1984. When the deal fell through, Harford instead joined Luton and ended up playing for England.]


The Club are delighted to announce the appointment of Mick Harford as First Team Coach.
Rangers were granted permission to speak to the 48 year-old last week and after holding talks with John Gregory over the weekend, Harford has today (Thursday) agreed to join the R's from fellow Championship rivals Colchester United.
Speaking exclusively to www.qpr.co.uk, Harford - who played for 11 different Clubs during a prestigious 21 year playing career - spoke of his delight at joining Gregory's backroom team: "I was very impressed by what John had to say when I met him. I'm very happy to be here and am now looking forward to getting started,'' he said.
"It was a difficult decision to leave Colchester, but this was an opportunity I just couldn't turn down.''
Harford continued: "This is a fantastic, well-established Club and the Manager is looking for an improvement on last season. I'm sure we'll do that.
"We'll take one game at a time, but every match we approach we will be looking to win, with good, attacking football."
Gregory was just as enthusiastic about Harford's appointment, commenting: "I'm delighted to have Mick here as part of the management team.
"I would firstly like to place on record my thanks to Colchester United's owner, Robbie Cowling, and Manager, Geraint Williams, for allowing Mick to come to us, even though his contract still had another two months to run.
"Mick played a significant role in Colchester United's success last season and I know for a fact that another of our Championship rivals were looking at his situation with regard to taking him to their Club.
"He was very much a wanted man. He is going to be a great capture for this Football Club." QPR


The former England international has joined Queens Park Rangers as John Gregory's number two as the London side look to improve on last season's disappointing season.
After only been here as Geraint Williams right hand man for less than a year, Mick insisted that the move was neccessary in order to reduce the travelling he was having to do to get to and from training every day.
He told CU-FC.COM, "It is a real wrench to be leaving because I have been made to feel very welcome by everybody at the club, from the moment I came to Layer Road."
Explaining how the move came about, Mick said, "QPR contacted Colchester and enquired about my circumstances and whether they could speak to me. I have a great relationship with George(Geraint Williams) and he told me of their interest."
"It was a massive decision for me even to ask for permission to talk to John Gregory and QPR and one that wasn't taken lightly," Mick continued, "but the main reason I took the job was the reduction in miles I had to drive to and from training."
Mick knew the 170 mile round trip was taking its toll on his suspect back and explained that his fears for his health were confirmed after having an operation on his back earlier this week.
"It was a minor operation to clear a couple of problems up but the surgeon said that the thirty odd hours a week I was behind the wheel were a major factor in the deterioration of the back."
"While I'm not at death's door just yet, my health is obviously very important to me and finding a solution to those back problems was something that I have thought about for a good while now."
Mick then told the official website that U's Chief Executive, Marie Partner, had discussed ways of reducing the travelling by living in Colchester, either in rented accomodation or in a hotel, but he admitted that he was keen to stay living where he was.
"We did discuss spending more time in Colchester but I must admit that I am very settled where I am, with a lot of friends and family nearby, and I wanted to remain there. I was also offered a very attractive new contract to continue as George's assistant but when your health is at risk, money isn't really a consideration."
Mick then heaped praise on the U's in general by saying,"I can't thank Colchester United enough for giving me the chance to get back in the game and I have thoroughly enjoyed the last year at the club."
"I have learnt a lot from George and the players and feel privileged to have been a part of their first season in the Championship and one of the most successful in their history. It hasn't just been the management team that have helped me though, Marie and her office staff have all helped me a great deal over the past year."
Insisting that the U's would prosper in the future, Mick said, "The second season in any new league has proven in the past to be very difficult for a lot of clubs but with the current set up, I am confident that the U's will not suffer second season syndrome and will go on to have another good season in the Championship."
"As soon as last season finished, George, myself and the whole scouting team have been working tirelessly at improving the squad and I'm sure that will continue as George looks to bring in quality players to add to the quality already in the squad.
"I would like to wish everyone at Colchester United the best of luck in the future" the ex Luton forward concluded, "and hope all the fans have enjoyed the last year as much as I have done." Colchester


After a successful 21 year spell as a player, Mick Harford learned his managerial trade at former Club Wimbledon.
It was there that he developed his skills, before following his old boss Joe Kinnear, back to Luton Town following Luton's relegation to Division Three.
Harford helped master-mind the successful promotion season of 2001/02, as Luton stormed to promotion back to the Second Division.
However, a takeover at the Bedfordshire-based outfit eventually saw him replaced, although Harford soon returned as Director of Football, as well as being first team coach, working alongside Mike Newell.
Harford helped Newell's Luton side to a tenth place finish and with his profile rising, he swapped a League One title quest with the Hatters, for a Championship dog-fight at Nottingham Forest, working as assistant to Kinnear.
Kinnear was to last only a few more weeks at the Club, before Forest's poor form forced him to leave the City Ground. 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 little while, Harford teamed up with Andy King at Swindon Town in a deal that would run until the end of the 2004/05 season. However, Harford never made it until the end of the season with Swindon, as in April 2005, he was appointed the new Manager of Rotherham United, who were relegated from the Championship at the end of the 2004/05 season.
Harford had an impressive start to his managerial career, but 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.
Today, in his 30th year in the professional game, he joins QPR as part of John Gregory's coaching team.QPR

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