Lee Harper

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Lee Harper
Lee Harper York City v. Kettering Town 1.png
Harper playing for Kettering Town in 2009
Personal information
Full name Lee Charles Philip Harper[1]
Date of birth (1971-10-30) 30 October 1971 (age 51)[1]
Place of birth Chelsea, London, England
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Position(s) Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
Eltham Town
0000–1994 Sittingbourne
1994–1997 Arsenal 1 (0)
1997–2001 Queens Park Rangers 119 (0)
2001–2002 Walsall 3 (0)
2002–2007 Northampton Town 156 (0)
2006–2007Milton Keynes Dons (loan) 11 (0)
2007 Milton Keynes Dons 11 (0)
2007–2010 Kettering Town 112 (0)
Total 417 (0)
Managerial career
2009–2010 Kettering Town
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Lee Charles Philip Harper (born 30 October 1971) is an English former footballer, and manager who played as a goalkeeper.

After beginning his career with Eltham Town he went on to play in the Football League for Queens Park Rangers, Walsall, Northampton Town and Milton Keynes Dons. He finished his career as a player-manager at Conference National side Kettering Town.[2]

Playing career[edit]

Born in Chelsea, London, Harper started his career at non-League club Eltham Town, signing for Sittingbourne after featuring against them,[3] before being signed by Arsenal in June 1994.[1] He cost Arsenal £150,000 – one of the biggest fees paid for a non-league player at the time.[citation needed]

He was third-choice goalkeeper at the club, behind Vince Bartram and David Seaman, and only made one first team appearance for the Highbury side, in a 2–0 FA Premier League win over Southampton on 15 March 1997. In the summer of 1997 he moved to Queens Park Rangers (QPR), and in four seasons made 118 league appearances. He moved to Walsall in 2001 after QPR were relegated to the Second Division, but made only three appearances in his single season there. He moved to Northampton Town in 2002 and became first-choice goalkeeper there, recording over 150 league appearances.[2][4]

He moved to League Two team Milton Keynes Dons on loan in October 2006,[5] where he helped to repair the team's poor defending record, with a significant reduction in goals conceded. This successful loan spell resulted in Harper signing a permanent deal in January 2007.[6] He was released at the end of the 2006–07 season in May.[7] He signed for Conference North team Kettering Town in August 2007. He made 40 appearances in all competitions in the 2007–08 season as Kettering won the Conference North title.[8] He made 54 appearances in all competitions in the 2008–09 season and he signed a new contract with the club in July 2009.[9][10]

Managerial career[edit]

He was appointed as player-manager of Kettering Town on 16 November 2009 on a contract until the end of the 2009–10 season following the departure of Mark Cooper.[11] On 8 December 2009 Harper was given the Man of the Match award by ITV commentator Andy Townsend for his performance in Kettering Town's 5–1 defeat to Leeds United at Elland Road in the second round of the FA Cup. His assistant John Deehan was sacked after the final whistle and Harper said in the press conference after the game he was considering his own future due to Deehan's sacking. Due to a long-term back problem he was ruled out of action until he had treatment, which resulted in him signing goalkeeper Nathan Abbey in January 2010.[12] He said he was unsure over his future at the club in April 2010 before being appointed full-time manager on 17 May, with Tommy Jaszczun returning to the club as his assistant manager.[13][14] He left the club by mutual consent on 20 September 2010 after Kettering had won one game in nine up to that point in the 2010–11 season.[15]

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 20 September 2010.[11][15][16][17]
Team Nation From To Matches Won Drawn Lost Win %
Kettering Town  England 16 November 2009 20 September 2010 37 8 12 17 21.6




  1. ^ a b c Hugman, Barry J. (2005). The PFA Premier & Football League Players' Records 1946–2005. Queen Anne Press. p. 268. ISBN 1-85291-665-6.
  2. ^ a b "Lee Harper". Arsenal.com.
  3. ^ "The story of the keeper who went from non-league to play for Arsenal". Planet Football. 30 October 2018. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Lee Harper". Sporting Heroes.net.
  5. ^ "Dons sign Cobblers keeper on loan". BBC Sport. 27 October 2006. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  6. ^ "Cobblers keeper Harper joins Dons". BBC Sport. 4 January 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  7. ^ "Allen starts shake-up at MK Dons". BBC Sport. 21 May 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  8. ^ "Season 2007/2008". Sportbox. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  9. ^ "Kettering 2008/2009 player appearances". Soccerbase. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  10. ^ "Keeper stays with Poppies". Non-League Daily. 9 July 2009. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  11. ^ a b "Harper named new Kettering boss". BBC Sport. 16 November 2009. Retrieved 18 November 2009.
  12. ^ "Abbey to debut against former club". Non-League Daily. 19 January 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  13. ^ "Kettering boss Lee Harper unsure of his future at club". BBC Sport. 2 April 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  14. ^ "Harper Appointed Manager". Kettering Town F.C. 17 May 2010. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 17 May 2010.
  15. ^ "Kettering 2009/2010 results and fixtures". Soccerbase. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
  16. ^ "Kettering 2010/2011 results and fixtures". Soccerbase. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
  17. ^ Marshall, Adam. "PFA Fans' Player of the Year". Sky Sports. Retrieved 9 April 2023.

External links[edit]