Mick Harford played for Joe Kinnear At Wimbledon from 1994 until 1998, and in 1999 was Kinnear’s assistant manager at Wimbledon, when Joe suffered his heart attack just before the game with Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
Joe Kinnear – fighting Joe has instilled those qualities into his players
So there’s not many football men who are better qualified to comment on Joe Kinnear than Mick.
Harford even played for Newcastle during 1980-1981 during a playing career in which he played for 10 different clubs, that also included Sunderland and Chelsea
Mick took charge of the Wimbledon side for the remainder of that season in 1999. Kinnear and Hartford were then reunited at Luton Town a few years back, and Hartford last year assumed the manager position at Luton Town.
Mick talked today about Joe to the Newcastle Evening Chronicle:
“First and foremost, I’m glad that Joe is OK.” “And the important thing is that he is allowed to get back on his feet – that has to be the main priority for him and his family.”
“Knowing Joe like I do though, he’ll want to get on with his work, he’ll want to put Newcastle first.” “He will want to finish the job he came to Newcastle to try to do – and that was to keep Newcastle in the Premier League.”
“Regard-less of what people say, he’s helped to do that so far.”
Kinnear complained of not feeling too well when he awoke a week last Saturday at 5:30 am, the day of our crucial game at WBA, and of course he was taken to hospital and missed the game.
The lads pulled off a great 3-2 win at The Hawthorns that day, and pulled 5 points clear of bottom placed West Brom.
The victory helped Newcastle reach the 27-point mark and Harford feels that Kinnear has already played a big part in Newcastle’s survival this season.
“Joe took the job that nobody wanted.” “He’s showed enormous character and he’s taken a few hits for the team.”
“That’s the type of bloke Joe is.” “When you look at the situation he inherited and all of those injuries, he’s done really well.”
What was really great to see at WBA was the way in which the players stepped up to the plate for the game, in Kinnear’s absence, and seemed to play for Joe in that game, and we were 3-1 up at half time.
We’re quite sure that provided a big lift to Joe, as he was holed up in hospital, and his grandson was keeping him updated on the score-line.
Mick Hartford – Luton Town manager
Newcastle United’ s players hope to continue that siege mentality and fighting spirit instilled by Kinnear, and Harford feels that can help them win it against Everton, which would be an almighty 3 points if we can get the victory.
The Luton Town boss continued:
“I’m not surprised that the players have taken a bit of a shine to Joe.” “He’s an excellent man-manager and it’s been refreshing to hear the players show how much they wanted to win for him.”
“He knows how to deal with certain characters in the dressing room.” “Newcastle can beat Everton in front of their own fans on Sunday and they are another step closer.”
“When Joe’s squad are fully fit they have played well and players are coming back now.” “He’s got two capable guys in Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood looking after things now and they’ll do a good job in his absence.”
We really need a win against Everton on Sunday and we’ll be helped by both Tim Cahill and Tony Hibbert missing that game with 5 yellow cards.
A win and we could be really flying before the tough games coming up against Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, but anything is possible in those games, since they are all at home.
And we’re quite sure the lads will use the 5-1 trouncing we received from Liverpool in late December, to spur them on to take some points from these other top four sides.