LUTON TOWN legend Mick Harford is fighting prostate cancer and will begin radiotherapy treatment next month.
The Hatters icon, 62, is the club’s assistant manager but he will take time away from his duties while he battles the disease.
Former forward Harford was first diagnosed in December 2020.
The Sunderland born man is synonymous with Luton having scored 92 goals in 217 appearances for the Championship side across two spells there in the 80s and early 90s.
He has also been their manager, director of football, first-team coach and chief recruitment officer.
And the club are fully behind the Luton legend.
The Hatters said: “As you would expect from a man who has fought so many battles over five glorious decades in football, this is not one that Mick is taking lying down.
“He has continued to perform his duties with the same commitment and determination he has always shown for every role he has fulfilled at Kenilworth Road.
“Mick’s role has included recording video messages or calling supporters on an almost daily basis, bringing cheer and best wishes, as well as match day team news, for Lutonians who have been struggling themselves, during the pandemic.
“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.”
One in six UK males will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, according to Cancer Research UK.
And with almost 80 per cent of those surviving for more than 10 years after diagnosis, Harford is encouraging other men to go and get checked.
The former Chelsea, Newcastle and Wimbledon star 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.”
Fans and other clubs online were quick to send messages of support.
Bournemouth, Southend, Leyton Orient, Mansfield, Huddersfield, Cardiff, Crawley, West Brom and Wigan were just some of the teams to wish Harford luck.
Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling said: “My best wishes to Mick. All of football will be right behind him.”
His colleague Bianca Westwood wrote: “Best wishes Mick!” Tony Maddams tweeted: “Good luck Mick, one of my first heroes as a kid.”
And Simon Darwen chimed in with : “So much love @Mickharford. We’re with you every step of the way.”
‘EARLY DIAGNOSIS IS CRUCIAL’
Harford added: “I know a few people at the football club who have gone and done so [got checked] 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.
“What’s essential to me is that the focus of the club should be on the new season, which we’re on the cusp of.
“I want to thank everyone at the football club for their support. Gary [Sweet, CEO] and the board, Nathan [Jones, manager], 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.”
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