Sunderland-born Mick Harford opens up on prostate cancer diagnosis as he bids to raise awareness
Luton Town have confirmed that Mick Harford is currently battling prostate cancer.
The Hatters’ assistant manager – who was born in Sunderland – is a popular figure within the game and indeed in the North East.
Harford spent time at both the Black Cats and Newcastle United during his playing career, before becoming a successful coach and manager following his retirement.
And having fought many battles on the pitch, Harford is now determined to face this off-field battle in the face.
He is set to undergo a course of radiotherapy in mid-August and, while he will be absent from Luton Town on a day-to-day basis, the club say they will support him ‘every step of the way.’
Harford himself is keen to spread awareness of prostate cancer following his diagnosis.
“What I want is to raise awareness and encourage other men to go and get themselves checked out,” he said, speaking to Luton Town’s official website.
“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.
"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 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.”
The news of Harford’s diagnosis was met with an outpouring of support from the footballing community.
During his playing career, the striker represented Lincoln City, Bristol City, Birmingham City, Luton, Derby, Chelsea, Coventry City and Wimbledon in addition to his time in the North East.
Harford also gained two caps for England before going on to manage Rotherham United and Luton.