Colin Harper (footballer)

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Colin Harper
Personal information
Full name Colin George Harper[1]
Date of birth (1946-07-25) 25 July 1946 (age 67)[1]
Place of birth Ipswich, England[1]
Playing position Left-back
Youth career
1964–1966 Ipswich Town
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1966–1977 Ipswich Town 148 (5)
1976 Grimsby Town (loan) 3 (0)
1977 Cambridge United (loan) 15 (0)
1977–1978 Port Vale 4 (0)
1978 Waterford
1980–1981 Chelmsford City
Sudbury Town
Total 167+ (5+)
Teams managed
1977 Port Vale (caretaker)
1978 Waterford
1980–1981 Chelmsford City
Sudbury Town
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Colin Harper (born 25 July 1946) is an English former footballer who played as a left-back. He made 167 league appearances in a 12 year career in the Football League.

He spent 1966 to 1977 at Ipswich Town, helping the club to win the Second Division title in 1967–68 and then to go on to compete in Europe under Bobby Robson. In 1976–77 he played on loan at Grimsby Town and Cambridge United, helping Ron Atkinson's Cambridge to the Fourth Division title. He became player-manager for brief spells at Port Vale, Waterford (Ireland), Chelmsford City, Sudbury Town, and Chelmsford City, before entering the building trade.

Playing career[edit]

Harper started his career at Ipswich Town, who were struggling in the Second Division in 1965–66. He turned professional under manager Bill McGarry, and helped the "Blues" to rise to fifth in 1966–67, before finishing top of the division in 1967–68. They retained their First Division status in 1968–69, after Bobby Robson was appointed as manager. Ipswich hovered above the relegation places in 1969–70 and 1970–71, before rising to 13th in 1971–72 and then fourth in 1972–73 and 1973–74. Their fourth place finishes entitled them to compete in the UEFA Cup. The "Tractor Boys" posted a third place finish in 1974–75, and were just two points behind champions Derby County. They dropped to sixth in 1975–76, before rising again to third place in 1976–77, five points behind champions Liverpool. Harper had loan spells in 1976–77, playing three Third Division games for relegated Grimsby Town and 15 games under Ron Atkinson on loan at Fourth Division champions Cambridge United.[2] In eleven years as a professional at Portman Road, he made 148 league appearances.

He joined Port Vale as player-coach in July 1977, with manager Roy Sproson appointing him to replace Roy Chapman.[1] He made his debut in a 1–1 draw at Wrexham on 27 August, but was to only make a further three appearances in 1977–78.[1] He was made acting manager in October 1977, and insisted that there was to be no smiling during training as it was a serious matter.[3] His reign only lasted a month as new manager Bobby Smith brought in his own staff, including assistant Dennis Butler, and Harper's contract was cancelled by the club in January 1978.[1] After leaving Vale Park he was then appointed player-manager of Waterford.[4] He led the "Blues" to the FAI Cup semi-finals and fifth in the League of Ireland. He then moved on to Chelmsford City, and led the club to an 18th place finish in the Southern League in 1980–81. He later became player-manager of Sudbury Town.


Harper became a builder after leaving the game.[5] In May 2002, it was reported by the Ipswich Star that he had £7,000 worth of tools stolen from his van in Ipswich.[5]


with Ipswich Town
with Cambridge United


  1. ^ a b c d e f Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 127. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0. 
  2. ^ "Ipswich Town FC". Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  3. ^ Kent, Jeff (December 1991). Port Vale Tales: A Collection Of Stories, Anecdotes And Memories. Witan Books. p. 86. ISBN 0-9508981-6-3. 
  4. ^ The Irish Times |url= missing title (help). 
  5. ^ a b "Former Town hero targeted by thieves". Ipswich Star. 3 May 2002. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 

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