Football

Harry Arter Explains How He Ended Up Playing Non-League Football

Harry Arter Explains How He Ended Up Playing Non-League Football

Bournemouth paying just £5,000 for Harry Arter, a player who would make the journey with the club from League One to the Premier League, is a well-known story.

Arter arrived at Bournemouth from Woking, who were in the Conference South at the time.

In an interview with Jamie Redknapp for the Daily Mail, the Ireland international explained how he ended up playing non-league football.

Arter begins the tale by saying an achilles injury, which he was suffering from at the time, would be the 'easy answer'. However, he adds that ultimately his attitude was likely the main reason.

Alan Pardew could be harsh with me, but I liked him and we got on well. He gave me my debut at Charlton and on the day he left he told me: "You've had a tough time, but I have faith in you, you're going to be a player, son."

Phil Parkinson took over, but never saw eye to eye. I'd been out for a year with my injury and I was struggling. He wanted me to go on loan. Charlton were in the Championship. I was thinking League One or League Two.

He called me into his office and said: "I am sending you to Staines. Staines Town!" It was worse than that. It wasn't even a loan, I had to go on trial to earn the loan. I felt like there was more than a football reason behind it. I felt like he was belittling me. It showed me he didn't rate me as a person.

He said: "No club wants you, so you have to go to Staines."

After a month there, Charlton told me I was being released. I had been at Charlton since I was seven, now I was 18. It was hard to hear. They were my team, it was my dream. I cried my eyes out. Sitting in my Mini, I couldn't stop sobbing.

After leaving The Valley, Arter spent some time training with Charlton's youth team thanks to the benevolence of academy manager Steve Avory - Arter had been at the club since he was eight-years-old.

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A trial at Ipswich went well but the move didn't happen. Gillingham didn't want him either.

It was then he dropped down a few levels to the Conference South with Woking. He would spent just a season there before several Football League teams, including Bournemouth, came calling.

I offered to play for Charlton for free, but Phil Parkinson didn't even want that. Look, my ego was way too big for a kid. My agent had set up a lot of trials, but I had an attitude: "If they want me, let them come and watch me."

I was trying to protect myself. Being rejected that many times hurts. A man called Jimmy Dack had taken me on loan at Welling. After the second training session he said: "You are far too good for this level." He went to Woking when they were in the Conference South in 2009 and took me with him.

I was 19 and my career took off from there. The following April, Bournemouth, who were then in League One, were scouting me and I got a call from my agent to say: "Pack your deckchair, we are going to Bournemouth!"

Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

PJ Browne
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