Kevin Harper joins The Pars!Author: Jason Barber Date: Sunday, 8th Jul 2007
Many Pars fans will remember Harper tormenting Dunfermline defences back in the 1990s, before his career took him down South. He remained in England until this weekend, when Stephen Kenny made him Dunfermline`s first new signing of the summer.
31 year old Harper joined Hibernian from local youth team Hutchison Vale in 1992.
When Hibs were relegated after season 1997/98, many players moved on from the Easter Road club. Harper actually started the new season in the first division, alongside Stevie Crawford who went onto be Hibs` top scorer as they won promotion at the first attempt.
A £300,000 offer from Derby County was made for Harper`s services, and the youngster was on his way to play in the English Premier League.
Highlights soon came quickly, with Harper scoring in a 2-1 Derby win at Liverpool`s Anfield Road ground. He also scored the only goal in a 1-0 away win at Swansea City in the FA Cup.
There were far more appearances coming from the bench, than there were in the starting eleven however, and a loan move to Championship side Walsall (for the first time) took place.
Towards the end of the 1999/2000 season, Portsmouth made a £300,000 bid for Harper which was accepted by Derby and he was once again on his travels.
A first team regular for the Fratton Park club in the English Championship, he made over 125 appearances for them until promotion to the Premier league in 2003/04 season. Initially sent out on loan to Norwich City, Harper made fleeting appearances in the Premiership for Portsmouth before another brief loan spell at Leicester City and a more successful spell having signed permanetnly for Stoke City.
Last season saw Harper initially loaned out to Carlisle United in League One, before an end of season loan spell at Walsall in League Two culminated in winning the championship on a dramatic last day of the season.
Now, Kevin Harper has come back to Scotland for the first time in nearly ten years and Stephen Kenny has made him Dunfermline`s first signing of the new season.
Harper joins at a rather fortunate time, given that The Pars are about to head off to a pre season camp at the La Manga sporting resort, before he no doubt takes part in the pre season friendlies that are just a couple of weeks away.
Having previously been selected for both the Scotland Under 21 and "B" sides, Harper never quite made a full Scotland cap, despite being on the fringes of selection during the Bertie Vogts era.
With Dunfermline having improved dramatically last season after the additions of attacking options in both Adam Hammill and Jim O`Brien, Harper is exactly the type of player that Kenny appears to prefer in his starting line up, and will no doubt have the ability to be a major player in Dunfermline`s attempts at a quick return to the top flight, as well as continued success in cup competitions both at home and, of course, abroad.
Welcome to The Pars Kevin, and hopefully you`ll show just what you are capable of in the coming months!