James Harper (footballer)

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James Harper
James Harper 23-07-21 1.png
Harper playing for Hull City in 2011
Personal information
Full name James Alan John Harper
Date of birth (1980-11-09) 9 November 1980 (age 34)
Place of birth Chelmsford, England
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Basingstoke Town
Youth career
1994–2000 Arsenal
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2000–2001 Arsenal 0 (0)
2000–2001 Cardiff City (loan) 3 (0)
2001–2010 Reading 316 (25)
2009–2010 Sheffield United (loan) 21 (3)
2010 Sheffield United 13 (1)
2010–2012 Hull City 29 (1)
2012 Wycombe Wanderers (loan) 5 (0)
2012–2014 Doncaster Rovers 27 (0)
2014 Barnet 6 (0)
2014– Basingstoke Town 31 (0)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23:02, 28 July 2015 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

James Alan John Harper (born 9 November 1980) is an English footballer who plays in midfield for Basingstoke Town.

Club career[edit]

Born in Chelmsford, Essex, Harper attended the Anglo European School in Ingatestone, Essex. He started his career as a trainee with Arsenal, but as his first team opportunities were limited, he first went on loan to Cardiff City, before signing permanently for Reading for an undisclosed fee said to be "a substantial six-figure fee" at the end of February 2001.[1]


After helping Reading to win the 2005–06 Football League Championship, and thus win promotion to the Premier League, he scored his first Premiership goals for Reading in a clash with Newcastle United at St James' Park, scoring twice despite losing 3–2.[2]

At the start of July 2007, Harper signed an improved three–year contract to keep him at Reading until the end of the 2009–10 season.[3]

Sheffield United[edit]

Harper joined Sheffield United in September 2009, on loan until the end of the season.[4] With his contract set to expire at the same time, Reading manager Brendan Rodgers admitted it was likely that he had played his last game for Reading.[5] Harper duly made his début for The Blades in an away victory at Derby County just under a fortnight later.[6] After being a regular in the first team from that point his loan deal was made permanent during the January transfer window, with Harper signing until the end of the season.[7] Harper was a regular starter for the remainder of the season notching up four goals in the process. At the end of the season however his contract was not extended further and he was released.[8]

Hull City[edit]

Harper began a trial with Hull City in early July 2010 following the arrival of Nigel Pearson as manager of the club. On 12 July 2010 it was announced that Harper had signed for Hull on a two-year contract.[9] He made his league debut on 23 October in the home match against Portsmouth when he came on, just after half time, to replace Nolberto Solano.[10] Harper scored his first goal for Hull City, with a long range strike against former club Reading in a 1–1 draw at the KC Stadium on 28 December 2010.[11]

On 24 January he moved to Wycombe Wanderers on a month-long loan.[12]

In May 2012 it was announced that his contract at Hull would not be extended and he was released by the club.[13]

On 26 July Harper joined Hungerford Town of the Southern Football League Division One South and West where close friend Bobby Wilkinson was Manager.[14] Harper featured in friendlies against Mortimer and Wokingham & Emmbrook to help build match fitness as he planned a return to league football.[15]

Doncaster Rovers[edit]

On 17 August 2012 Harper signed a one-year deal with Doncaster Rovers and made his debut as a second-half substitute in a 3 – 0 win over Walsall the next day.[16][17] He won a League 1 winners medal as Doncaster won promotion to the Championship. The following season Harper made no appearances for the club leading to him leaving by mutual consent in January 2014 in search of regular football.[18]


On 21 March 2014, Harper signed for Conference Premier side Barnet for the remainder of the season[19] and made his debut in the 2–0 win over Hereford United at the Hive.[20] After six appearances, it was announced that Harper was being released at the end of the season, although he was invited back for 2014-15 pre-season training at the Hive.[21]

Basingstoke Town[edit]

On 24 October 2014 Harper signed for Basingstoke Town,[22] making his debut for the club on 8 November in the FA Cup first round replay at Telford United. Following some solid displays, he soon became a regular 1st team choice, making 31 appearances as Town reached the Vanarama Conference South play-offs, narrowly missing out to Whitehawk at the Semi Final stage.

International career[edit]

Harper rejected the chance to go to the 2006 FIFA World Cup with Ghana, saying: "I've never even been to Ghana." He would have qualified to play for Ghana because his mother was born there.[23]


Doncaster Rovers


  1. ^ "Royals swoop for Harper". BBC Sport (BBC). 28 February 2001. Retrieved 6 February 2007. 
  2. ^ "Newcastle 3–2 Reading". BBC Sport. 6 December 2006. Retrieved 11 December 2006. 
  3. ^ "Four new contracts agreed". Reading F.C. 4 July 2007. Retrieved 4 July 2007. 
  4. ^ "Blackwell snaps up Harper". Sheffield United F.C. 2 September 2009. Retrieved 2 September 2009. 
  5. ^ "Royals trio seal loan moves". Reading F.C. 2 September 2009. Retrieved 2 September 2009. 
  6. ^ "Rams, Raided!". vitalfootball.co.uk. 12 September 2009. Retrieved 13 September 2009. 
  7. ^ "James Harper permanent switch to Sheffield United". The Star. 28 January 2010. Retrieved 29 January 2010. 
  8. ^ "Harper leads Blades exodus". Sky Sports. 17 May 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2010. 
  9. ^ "Hull City: Solano and Harper agree deals". Hull Daily Mail. 10 July 2010. Retrieved 10 July 2010. 
  10. ^ "Hull 1 – 2 Portsmouth". BBC Sport (BBC). 23 October 2010. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  11. ^ "Hull 1 – 1 Reading". BBC Sport (BBC). 28 December 2010. Retrieved 7 January 2011. 
  12. ^ "Wycombe Wanderers sign James Harper from Hull City". BBC Sport (BBC). 24 January 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  13. ^ "Richard Garcia leaves Hull City for new adventures". This is Hull and East Riding. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  14. ^ "Ex-Royal James Harper signs for Hungerford Town". Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  15. ^ "Hungerford Town 2 -3 Wokingham & Embrook". Hungerford Town FC. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  16. ^ "Doncaster Rovers sign midfielder James Harper". BBC Sport (BBC). 17 August 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  17. ^ "Walsall 0 – 3 Doncaster". BBC. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  18. ^ "James Harper to leave Doncaster Rovers". DRFC Official Site. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  19. ^ "Barnet Sign James Harper". BARNET FC. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  20. ^ "Barnet 2 – 0 Hereford". BBC Sport (BBC). 22 March 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2014. 
  21. ^ Martin Allen announces player departures
  22. ^ "Basingstoke Town sign former Reading midfielder James Harper". Basingstoke Gazette. 24 October 2014. Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  23. ^ "Harper rejects World Cup chance". BBC Sport (BBC). 27 April 2006. Retrieved 26 May 2006. 

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