Mick Harford was one of the reasons why Garry Richards dropped into the Conference to sign a two-year deal with Luton on Monday.
The defender explained that he knows his onions where Town are concerned but also revealed that time spent at Colchester United with one of the all-time Hatters heroes saw the then U’s assistant manager regale him with old Kenilworth Road tales.
And when the club came in for the 26-year-old, who left Gillingham at the end of last term, it was a simple decision to become Town’s fifth summer signing.
“It’s a big club and I more or less grew up with Luton Town, playing them in the past,” Richards said.
“We’re in this situation [in the non-league] and we hope to bring back the good times, but who’s not aware of the football club?
“I was with Micky for a year or so at Colchester. We had a good relationship.
“Mick’s an honest guy, he’s got some good stories about Luton Town and speaks so highly of the club. Since then it’s spurred me on to keep a watchful eye on them, knowing the likes of Micky Harford have graced the pitch.
“He’d talk about the changing room antics that went on back in the day.
“The club is steeped in history and has had a lot of success in the past. He was a big name, coming into the Colchester side, but Luton is big with Mick and he’s a top man."
The defender is the second former Gillingham player in a week to join boss Paul Buckle’s summer revolution after experienced midfielder Danny Spiller put pen-to-paper, also on a two-year deal.
Like his other new team-mates – Ronnie Henry, Scott Rendell and Jon Shaw – the centre-half admitted that the manager sealed the deal with his plans for the club’s future.
“He got me excited to come here in the first place. It was a no-brainer to be honest,” Richards said.
With promotion-winning credentials on his CV – at Colchester United and Gillingham – Richards fits in Buckle’s plans to build a squad used to success and, despite dropping into the non-league, the defender believes he can be a part of returning Town to former glories.
“The number one target is to go up but the proper way to do it is as champions,” Richards said, adding: “I’ve been lucky enough to win promotion but I’ve yet to claim that championship status.
“That would put the icing on the cake.”
Pre-season starts on Monday and the hard graft will be accompanied by the release of the Blue Square Bet Premier fixtures.Town’s latest acquisition said that the first home game is one he’s got his eye on as playing in front of the Hatters faithful is another reason he felt drawn to Bedfordshire, despite talks with higher placed Football League outfits.
He said:“I spoke to a few league clubs but the prospect of coming down to Luton excited me more than anything else, as their aspirations and my ambitions matched. “Having played at KenilworthRoad in the past, it really excited me.”
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