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Kevin Harper

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Norwich Career: 2003 (9 appearances) (on loan from Portsmouth)
Current Club:
Date of Birth: 15/01/1976 (Oldham)
Nationality: Scottish


To cover for the injury sustained to right winger Mark Rivers, Norwich boss Nigel Worthington swooped on Friday 12th September 2003 to bring Portsmouth midfielder Kevin Harper to Carrow Road on a month's loan. Harper was the third loan signing in eight days following Peter Crouch and Darren Huckerby. All three made their Norwich debuts in the 2-0 defeat of Burnley on 13th September 2003.

Although born in Oldham, Kevin was raised in the Glasgow suburb of Possil. He won international honours for Scotland schoolboys before joining Hibernian. Debuting in the 10903/94 season, he made 96 league appearances for Hibs, scoring fifteen goals, before joining Derby. He made 32 appearances for Derby, scoring once. He also made 9 appearances and scored once whilst on loan to Walsall in 1999/2000. He transferred to Portsmouth for £300,000 in March 2000. He has since made 112 league appearances for Pompey but was squeezed out following their promotion to the Premiership and the signing of Patrik Berger from Liverpool.

Following the death of Jimmy Davis, Watford expressed an interest in signing Harper with rumours fluctuating between a £400,000 transfer or a season-long loan. Whilst Watford deliberated, Worthington pounced to bring Harper to Carrow Road. "He's one of those players that you've always got to watch," said the City chief. "And I'm just grateful to Portsmouth for letting him out and to Kevin for wanting to come here. Again, to have a player of that kind of calibre coming in is the big thing."

Harper's deal was initially for one month, though that was dependent on such factors as the timing of Rivers' return from injury and the success or otherwise of Harper's introduction into the new-look Canary outfit. "It's initally for one-month, but if all goes well then we'll see what's what at a later date," confirmed Worthington.

Harper nearly won international honours earlier the same week when he was called up to Berti Vogts Scotland squad after impressing in the Future Scotland / Scotland B team. If capped, he would have been the first Black player tor represent Scotland since Andrew Watson in 1882.

Harper's impressive form, the Canaries' unbeaten run in September and delays to Mark Rivers' recovery from injury saw Harper's loan extended until December 2003. However Kevin then himself endured injury and was limited to just 9 appearances for Norwich before returning to Portsmouth.

On 8th September 2004, Kevin joined Leicester City on a month's loan having not made an appearance in Portsmouth's first team so far that season. Leicester boss Micky Adams said "We are delighted to bring Kevin to the club on loan. He is a player who will add creativity to the side from the flanks. He initially joins us for a month and will be in the travelling party for the game against Rotherham."

After returning to Portsmouth, Kevin was transferred to Stoke City on a two and half year contract at the beginning of Febraury 2005. Stoke's Director of Football John Rudge said: "He comes with plenty of experience and he also knows manager Tony Pulis which is a good thing. We feel he's exactly what we've been looking for."

In October 2006, Kevin was loaned to League One side Carlisle United. He was loaned out for the second time during the 2006/7 season when he joined Walsall towards the end of February 2007. He made his debut on 24th February 2007 scoring twice in a 4-1 win over Barnet. Returning to Stoke at the end of the season, the Potteries-side decided not to renew his contract which expired at the end of the season.

In early July 2007, Kevin signed for Scottish side Dunfermline.

Harper hit the headlines for the wrong reasons in October 2008 when he pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife. Sentence was deferred for twelve months.

Harper was released by Dunfermline in the summer of 2009

He became the Under-20s coach at Airdrieonians in July 2015 but left the following September and set up his own coaching agency.

In November 2015, Thorniewood United manager and former Hibernian team-mate Andy Frame, persuaded Harper to come out of retirement and join the club in a player-coach role

He set up his own football academy, the ‘Kevin Harper School of Excellence’ which has helped bring football to disadvantaged children. He has also completed his coaching badges up to the ‘A licence level’ which is accredited by the Scottish FA and UEFA.

Harper was appointed Albion Rovers manager in November 2018. He became the first black, Asian or minority ethnic manager of a Scottish club since Marcio Maximo in 2003. A struggling Rovers side won none of their first 12 matches under Harper, but then won five of their last nine fixtures to avoid relegation.

Albion again avoided relegation by finishing ninth the following season, but Harper decided to leave the club at the end of his contract in May 2020. Harper later revealed that, despite having avoided relegation again, he had been offered reduced terms, in line with a greatly reduced club budget due to prevailing circumstances, to stay and believed the board could match the ambition he had for the club.

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