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Carabao Cup

League Cup memories: Mick Harford

"Luton Town has only ever won one major trophy, the League Cup, and it’s something that Luton fans and the football club are really, really proud of." - Mick Harford

29 February 2020

As the countdown to the 60th anniversary League Cup Final continues, we take a trip down memory lane with Luton Town's Mick Harford, who was involved in the 1988 Final with the Hatters.

1988 saw Arsenal face Luton Town in the League Cup Final. Arsenal manager George Graham was appearing in his second final as a manager, and fifth League Cup Final overall. Luton Town were their opponents as the Gunners looked to win back-to-back trophies.
 
What followed was a remarkable story, thanks in part to an incredible goalkeeping display from Luton’s Andy Dibble, as Luton Town - underdogs on the day - defeated the holders to lift the League Cup for the first time in their history. 
 
As we prepare for the 60th Final to be played at Wembley Stadium, Luton Town legend Mick Harford recalls his memories of what is a very special day in Luton Town’s history. 
 
"I was a professional footballer for over 20 years, and the only major honour I ever won as a player was the League Cup,” Harford said.  
 
"It’s so special to me for that reason. It’s an absolute treasured memory, and the League Cup is so high in my estimation. Winning it was a brilliant achievement for us at Luton Town. 
 
"We were going through a bit of a golden period at the time, we had a lot of internationals in the team who were top players, and we came up against an incredible Arsenal team in the 1988 Final. There’s no doubt about it that we were underdogs, but you put that aside in a cup final and you just give it a go, which is exactly what we did." 
 
Andy Dibble’s goalkeeping heroics are still spoken about now, the Luton man played a key part in the famous win, saving a penalty with his side trailing 2-1, keeping them in the game. 
 
The Hatters then scored twice in the last 12 minutes, including a last-minute winner, to record an unforgettable 3-2 victory. 
 
"There were some pivotal moments in that game where we were struggling,” Harford continued. "We were winning 1-0, then we found ourselves 2-1 down. Andy Dibble saved a penalty against Nigel Winterburn to keep us in it and Danny Wilson equalised in the 80th minute. 
 
"Amazingly then, Brian Stein scored the winner for us in the 93rd minute. It was phenomenal and that win was a major achievement for Luton Town, it’s still the only major the club has ever won and I was really privileged to be a part of that.
 
"We’d played in a few cups that season, but we’d lost out at the final hurdle, I particularly remember getting knocked out of the FA Cup Semi-Final. The manager sat us down ahead of the League Cup Final and said ‘lads, you just cannot throw this one away.’ We’d had such a good season with such good players and we’d put in real effort to get as far as we’d got. The League Cup was our last shot. I think him saying that to us got us through that final to be totally honest, it spurred us on even more. 
 
"The memories of the day are just magnificent. Luton has only ever won one major trophy, the League Cup, and it’s something that Luton Town fans and the football club are really, really proud of."

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