Left-back hangs up his bootsFormer Royals full-back Ian Harte has called time on his distinguished playing career which spanned 20 seasons.
The time has come to hang the boots up. I have had over 20 years playing football and loved every minute of it!!! Now to the next chapter 👍🏻— Ian Harte (@ianharte23) August 27, 2015
Three of those years were spent at Madejski Stadium – the Irishman signed for us from Carlisle United early in the 2010/11 campaign. Renowned for having a wand of a left foot and a specialist with a dead ball, the full-back netted a penalty on his Reading debut in a 3-0 win against Crystal Palace.
He went on to play a key part in the Championship title-winning season the following year – in particular three goals in four games across March and April helped the Royals to win against Blackpool, West Ham and Brighton and helped to bring silverwear to Berkshire. Harte was named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year in his first two campaigns with Reading en route to securing promotion to the Premier League.
Harte played a total of 96(+3) games in Reading colours, finding the net on 15 occasions. He donned the hooped shirt for the final time when he helped the defence to a clean-sheet in a 0-0 draw against QPR in April 2013.
Originally from Drogheda in Ireland, his pro career began at Leeds United – he had already made first-team appearances by the time he won the FA Youth Cup with the Whites in 1997. He left Elland Road to move to Levante in Spain in 2004, where he would spend three years, before returning to England to feature for Sunderland, Blackpool and Carlisle before joining Reading.
He represented his country 63 times, scoring on 12 occasions, and was part of the Irish squad which travelled to the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. After leaving Reading, Harte played his final two seasons at AFC Bournemouth and lifted the Championship trophy for a second time in his career this summer.
Everyone at Reading Football Club would like to wish Ian the very best in retirement from playing, and the very best of luck for his next chapter.