After Malcolm Macdonald’s exit, Coach Ray Harford took over on a temporary basis for the remainder of the 1983/84 season and a run of five wins in six games led to his confirmation in the job in a full-time capacity.
He was virtually unknown when he joined the backroom staff in 1981 but, as the Club progressed and a steady stream of talented youngsters made their mark in the side, Harford's talents became more widely appreciated.
As a player, he had been a central defender with Charlton Athletic, Exeter City, Lincoln City, Mansfield Town, Port Vale and Colchester United, making a total of over 350 league appearances between 1964 and 1975. It was at Layer Road that he started coaching in 1975 before his move to Fulham six years later.
At Fulham, the ground was increasingly cut from under Harford as the best players were sold.
As he was to show in his post-Fulham career at Wimbledon, Luton Town, Blackburn Rovers, West Bromwich Albion and Queens Park Rangers, he was an exceptionally talented coach.