Lee Harper was perhaps the most curious signing of George Graham – or maybe George Graham saw something in the goal keeper that no one else could see.
Here is his Arsenal career in brief:
He was signed by Graham in June 1994and cost the club £150,000 – apparently one of the biggest fees paid for a non league player at the time.
He became third choice keeper in a club which also had David Seaman and Vince Bartram on the books. Seaman was signed in 1990 and Vince Bartram was signed from Bournemouth in 1994 for £250,000.
George Graham himself was sacked in February 1995 so what he really intended (other than the fact that he was looking for two players who might develop) we won’t know. Seaman himself hardly missed a game.
Harper’s one game was a 2–0 League win against Southampton on 15 March 1997. A couple of month’s later he moved to QPR.
Bartram himself only played 11 games as Seaman’s understudy.
So here we have George Graham signing two players as understudy for Seaman, one of whom played 11 games and one who played once.
To make the picture a little clearer here are all the goalkeepers of the era:
|Goal keeper||Seasons||Signed by…|
|David Seaman||1990-2003||George Graham|
|Lee Harper||1994-1997||George Graham|
|Vince Bartram||1994-1998||George Graham|
|John Lukic||1996-2000||George Graham|
|Alex Manninger||1997-2002||Arsène Wenger|
After Arsenal Harper went to QPR, Walsall, Northampton Town and MK Dons, before being player manager of Kettering Town for a short period. He played 156 times for Northampton and 112 for Kettering Town.
He now runs a goalkeeping course in Reading.