Ray Harford made around fifty league appearances for Exeter City during the mid-1960s. Joining from Charlton Athletic, he left to play for Lincoln City where he played over 160 league games. Also making a hundred league appearances with Colchester United, he then managed Fulham, Luton Town , Wimbledon, Blackburn, West Bromwich Albion and Queens Park Rangers.
Although born in Halifax, he grew up in London beginning his playing career at Charlton Athletic in 1960 and turning professional in May 1964. He only appeared in three league matches for Charlton.
Signed by Exeter City in January 1966 in a deal that saw him arrive on a free transfer, but if he re-signed for the Grecians again for the following season, City would agree to pay a fee of £750. Harford made his debut in a 2-5 defeat against Peterborough United at St James’ Park. He was to miss just one game from then on until the end of the season and made the centre-half position his own in 1966-67 when he played in 38 league matches.
Ray then joined Lincoln City in July 1967 playing 161 league matches and scoring ten goals. In June 1971 he moved to Mansfield Town before moving to Port Vale six months later and Colchester United in 1973. He left Colchester in 1975 to play for Romford before returning to Colchester as a youth coach after injury had put paid to his playing career.
In 1982 he was appointed assistant manager at Fulham before becoming manager. He was subsequently appointed manager of Luton Town who he guided to a 3–2 win over Arsenal in the Football League Cup final in 1988 and another final appearance in 1989. After his eventual dismissal from Kenilworth Road, he managed Wimbledon between 1990 and 1991 before working as both assistant-manager and manager of Blackburn Rovers during which time the club won the Premier League.
After stints at the helm of West Bromwich Albion and Queens Park Rangers towards the end of the 1990s, he later worked for Millwall in the years leading up to his death from lung cancer on 9 August 2003. In a life in football he had played 392 games and managed clubs in another 428 matches.