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'Godfather' Harper becomes a Crusader

Hungerford boss completes long-awaited signing

Malcolm Howe

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Malcolm Howe

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'Godfather' Harper becomes a Crusader

James Harper in Royals days

BOBBY Wilkinson finally got his man when ‘godfather’ James Harper put pen to paper to sign for Hungerford Town on Tuesday night.

Wilkinson has long been courting the former Reading midfielder, godfather to one of his children, and the midfielder had a pre-season run-out for the club two seasons ago.

He had considered bringing in Harper during the close season, but opted to strenghten other areas and Harper returned to Southern League Premier Division Hayes and Yeading.

But having left the west London strugglers, Harper trained with Hungerford last Tuesday and agreed to join The Crusaders, who became his ninth club.

The 35-year old’s career started at Arsenal, where he made half a dozen Premier League appearances before Steve Coppell paid a six-figure fee to take him to Reading, where he went on to make more than 300 appearances, including 76 in Royals’ two seasons in the top flight.

Released by Brendan Rodgers in 2010, he went on to play for Sheffied United, Hull City, Doncaster Rovers and thence Barnet, Basingstoke Town and Hayes and Yeading outside the Football League.

Harper will join Hungerford’s squad for Saturday’s Vanarama National League visit of Poole Town.

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