Defender, Football player
Who is Alan Harper?
Alan Harper is an English former professional football player who played in the Football League and Premier League for Everton, Sheffield Wednesday, Manchester City, Luton Town, Burnley and Cardiff City. Harper is best remembered for playing in the Championship winning Everton side of the mid-1980s.
Harper was a utility player whose first-choice position was right-back but he could perform competently in almost any position on the park and he frequently turned up in central defence, at left-back, centre midfield, wide midfield and sometimes even as a makeshift striker. Perhaps partially as a result of his great versatility however, he often found himself used as a squad player rather than as a first-team regular at many of the clubs he played for. He is remembered as a largely unspectacular but solid and reliable performer who very rarely made a mistake. Harper scored few goals but many of those he did score were spectacular efforts, often from long range. Everton fans nicknamed him 'Bertie Bassett' because he played in 'allsorts of positions'.
Harper started out at Liverpool F.C. in the late 1970s, the club he had supported as a boy, but he never made a first team appearance for Liverpool before Howard Kendall took him across Stanley Park to Everton in the summer of 1983 for £100,000. Harper initially became first choice right-back but after a few months he lost his place to Gary Stevens, who went on to become an England international. From then on, Harper never really held down a regular first team place at Goodison but like Kevin Richardson, he became a vital squad player, filling in for various positions on the park when first-teamers were injured and frequently appearing as a substitute. During his first season, Harper scored a spectacular goal against his previous club Liverpool in the Merseyside derby at Goodison. Everton went on that season to finish runners-up to Liverpool in the League Cup before winning the FA Cup at Wembley in May, beating Graham Taylor's Watford 2-0. Harper was an unused substitute at Wembley and he received a cup winners medal as a result.