|Full name||Mark Draper|
|Date of birth||11 November 1970|
|Place of birth||Long Eaton, England|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Notts County (kit man)|
|2000||→ Rayo Vallecano (loan)||4||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
As a player he was a midfielder from 1988 to 2003, notably in the Premier League for Leicester City, Aston Villa and Southampton. He also played in Spain for Rayo Vallecano and in the Football League with Notts County. He represented England at under-21 level. In 2009 he briefly came out of retirement for Non-league side Dunkirk.
Draper began his career as a product of the youth system at Notts County, making his professional debut in December 1988. A talented midfielder, he became recognised by County supporters as one of the greatest young players ever developed at the club. After attracting the attention of a number of bigger clubs Draper was finally sold during the 1994 close season to Leicester City for £1.25 million – a record fee for the club at the time.
Draper spent the entire 1994–95 season at Filbert Street, playing 39 times in the Premier League (to which they had just been promoted) and scoring five goals, though it was not enough to prevent relegation for a side who were never out of the bottom two after November. Despite this he was called up to the England squad by Terry Venables.
His form attracted the attention of Aston Villa, who paid £3.25 million to keep him in the Premier League. Over the next four seasons Draper became a regular in the Aston Villa starting line-up, helping them to a League Cup win in 1996. He received another call up to the England squad, this time by Glenn Hoddle for a World Cup qualifier against Moldova. However he stayed on the bench and was ultimately never capped for the senior team.
Draper fell out of favour in the 1999–2000 season, appearing in only one game to bring his Villa total up to 120 league appearances (7 goals), and was loaned to Rayo Vallecano in Spain. He was sold during that close season to Southampton for £1.5 million. By then approaching veteran stage, Draper added another 24 top flight appearances (with one goal against Middlesbrough) for the Saints before leaving the game.
Draper made a brief playing comeback in 2009, signing for non-league side Dunkirk. Draper was enticed back into the local non league game by Paul Rawden who took Draper to East Midland Counties League side Radford FC as coach and the pair saved the club from relegation, Draper then followed Rawden to Arnold Town season 2012–13 for a brief spell before they both left for pastures new.
Mark Draper has three children: Madeline (born 2001) and twins Denny and Cavan (born 2007). He is currently involved in property development. In 2009, he rejoined his old club Notts County as their kit man.
- Mark Draper – 1988 to 1994 at www.nottscounty-mad.co.uk
- "Venables places emphasis on youth". The Independent. 19 April 1995. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
- "Football: Le Tissier has goals to achieve under Hoddle". The Independent. 27 August 1996. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
- "Boro downed by Saints". BBC. 24 February 2001. Retrieved 7 November 2009.
- Mark Draper at www.truegreats.com
- Mark Draper career statistics at Soccerbase
- ESPN Profile
- Aston Villa fan site profile
- Southampton fan site profile
- Aston Villa profile