A bittertly disappointed Mick Harford spoke to the press at length after the 0-0 draw with Chesterfield consigned his team to non-league football next season.

"It was always a very difficult task in terms of where we were in terms of penalty points," Harford said.

"I said to the players it's 100 per cent not their fault. They're a fantastic bunch who have put their careers on the line for Luton Town Football Club and can walk with their heads held high.

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"It is the past incumbents of this football club who are to blame. Obviously the penalty points is a massive burden to handle and we didn't handle it and we got relegated."

Harford did not find out his side's fate until he got back to the dressing room when they learnt that Grimsby's 2-0 win at Notts County was enough to confirm their relegation.

"I found out at five to five," he said.

"I looked at the clock in the dressing room and said to the players 'remember this time. Five to five on 13th April. This is the rebirth of Luton Town Football Club'.

"We will go forward, we will kick-on. There are lots of people worse off than Luton Town Football Club.

"The benchmark is Doncaster Rovers. They went down a few years ago, came back up, got a new stadium and now they're flying high in the Championship. And that's how we've got to respond.

"We're in it together, we'll stick together and keep working for the cause. It's a new era for Luton Town. We've never been in this position before and hopefully we can bounce straight back.

"I want to try and bring back the good times. Luton Town Football Club has been good for me. The new directors - the 2020 consortium - have been good for me and we owe them for it."

On the match itself, Harford was left frustrated by another side visiting Kenilworth Road keen to take a point.

He said: "It's been the story of the season. Our home form has let us down but they were another side who came for a draw and put bodies behind the ball.

"The first half was awful. We didn't play. It was a non-event and I made myself known to the players.

"In the second half we came out and were by far the better team but just could not break them down.

"The last two games we've kept two clean sheets but we didn't have that cutting edge we had at Wembley. The goals we scored at Wembley were all well-worked goals and if we'd had the cutting edge we would have won [today]."

Harford then turned his attention to next season's challenge in the Conference and admitted he has a difficult task keeping a number of his players following relegation.

He said: "We've got players out of contract and we've got players in contracts. If I was another manager I'd be ringing me up.

"We've got some good players. We try and play the right way and I'm sure they'll be people knocking on the door for our players.

"If a Championship club comes in and offers the right sort of money you can't stand in their way and that's always been the policy of Luton Town Football Club.

"We got players in and we got players out this season and the turnover of players has been massive. There have been ins and outs and they'll be ins and outs again."

The manager ended by praising the efforts of his players after the outcome of their season came to a conclusion.

"I'm disappointed to be in the Conference and out of League football, but these players are not non-league players," he said.

"They are winners. We've got a group of winners. They've won a trophy this season. There are millions and millions of players who have never won a trophy and this group of players did.

"They are winners and deservedly so."