|Harry Arter is establishing himself as a Premier League player with Bournemouth|
|Org||Ireland National Team|
|Club as Player||Bournemouth FC|
2016 01 30 Retrieve
[Harry Arter recalls his speech to his Bournemouth team-mates before he played in their win against Manchester United last month. The game came two days after his fiancee had given birth to their stillborn daughter] Listen, I’ve experienced how short a life can be, what’s happened to my little baby could happen to someone in this team, so make sure you give everything today because these football moments are not going to last forever, and what I’ve learned from this experience is that life can end at any second
2016 12 10 Retrieve
[Harry Arter speaks a year since he and his fiancée Rachel lost their daughter Renée] Having Renée on my mind doesn’t fill me with depression any more. It fills me with a bit of happiness. I enjoy talking about her like any dad would talk about their little girl. That’s probably down to feeling a lot better in myself and seeing Rachel a little bit happier, because we both know that Renée wouldn’t want us to be sad. She’d want us to be happy and to make sure that we look after one another, and that’s certainly what we’re doing now
2017 01 13 Retrieve
[q: Harry, I remember hearing about you when you were a kid. I’m close to Scott Parker, your brother-in-law, and he said: ‘You want to see Harry, he’s going to be the next best thing.’ Then you turned up at non-League Woking. What happened?] I could blame my achilles injury, that would be the easy answer. But there is another answer. I can look back now and say my attitude probably had something to do with it too
[q: Go on…] 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
[q: What did you do?] I went to Gillingham, but they didn’t want to sign me. Steve Avory, the academy manager at Charlton, was unbelievable to me and let me train with the youth team to stay fit.
I went for a trial at Ipswich and, although they made the right noises, they didn’t follow it through. 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 turned up to see Eddie Howe in a jacket, shirt and tie. It was like a job interview. 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!’
[q: Did the setbacks change you as a player? You were a nice footballer, but now you are an all-round midfield player - you can pass, you can run, you can tackle] You can go two ways. We had nothing at Woking, we used cones for goalposts, we had to hunt for a park space so we could train. It didn’t bother me. It was my drive to get back to a better standard. I have to thank my family, because they still made me feel special. They came and watched every game, Scott came and watched me with his boys. I remember my dad driving to Bath for a night match that we lost 5-0. He was a cab driver, working the next morning
[q: What has Eddie Howe done for you since you came here?] I remember meeting in his office. I spoke to Scott and he said: ‘Go smart’. I turned up in a jacket, shirt, a tie. It was like a job interview. But it turned out we had the same beliefs, ambitions.
I enjoyed the questions. He wanted to be a Premier League manager and I told him I wanted to be a Premier League footballer. It was his passion for football that stood out. Now? He’s an unbelievable judge of character.
I think he knows if I am going to have an average training session or an unbelievable session by my body language. If I come out with my sleeves pulled down over my hands, he’ll go mad. ‘Get your hands out of your sleeves!’
Maybe some can get away with that but not me. When I was younger I might have thought he was picking on me. But not now. Now I can see what he is doing. And if he can do that with me and with our players, imagine what he can do with elite players. He could be a manager of one of the world’s top clubs, no question
[q: Did you believe Bournemouth could make it to the Premier League?] My dad told me it was a lovely place and we could do things. I said: ‘Dad, they pay players £1,500 a week, who is going to want to come down here?’ And he regularly reminds me of that now. It’s mad how it has changed, the players we have attracted
[q: One of them is Jack Wilshere. What did you honestly think when you heard he was coming? You are a worrier and he plays in your position] It’s not that I thought, ‘I am in a bit of trouble here’, because I will always back myself, but . . . if someone had said: ‘Do you want Jack Wilshere to come here?’, hand on heart, I would have said no. For me, he was - and is - one of the top English midfielders and I’ve loved watching him play. I realised that for me to become a better player, the manager has always signed competition - and I’ve made sure I am playing. This is my opportunity to become even better. To try and be better than Jack. When he signed, he lifted the whole place
[q: I watched you against Spurs - up against Alli, Dembele, Wanyama and I gave you man of the match on Sky. What has changed?] When I signed for Bournemouth I realised it was my second chance. This is the truth: I never take one day for granted. I come in early, I do a bike session with the fitness guy, I do weights after training.
I wish in the early days that I had been more level-headed. Like my brother-in-law. It’s no surprise to me that he has been at the top of it for his whole career. That comes down to his attitude, as well as his talent.
I am not going to be the best player in the world but I am going to become the best player I can be, to play to my maximum. That’s how my life has changed.
[q: Your life has changed off the field too with your daughter, Renee, being stillborn. I read that you raised money for a cuddle cot, for other parents who have to go through this tragedy] Some people can be proud of their children going to school for the first time and watch them learn how to swim. We can’t. So we are proud for different reasons. She can help other families with the cuddle cot (it preserves stillborn children so they can spend one night with the grieving family).
It has helped us to deal with it. A little thing you might think, but an important thing
[q: You are happy to speak openly about your emotions?] It was important to do that after it happened. It was selfish, but talking about it was my therapy. I never spoke to any counsellors. The world’s best counsellor would not have been able to help me. Speaking about it was my way of getting it off my chest.
The message? I wasn’t scared, I could deal with it. Saying it out loud was my way of showing, ‘I can deal with this, I am OK’. I am not trying to be a hero, I am not looking for praise. I couldn’t be helped.
So by speaking about it, if I can help someone, I would talk about it all day long.
[q: And the joyous news is that you and Rachel are having a baby daughter next month] Yes. It will be an anxious time. We are due to have the baby in early February. It is more planned this time. Rachel is going up to the hospital a week before. She will get the baby’s heart monitored. Of course this will be anxious, but I am honestly so excited.
I feel sad too, because I wish I didn’t have to be this excited, if you understand what I mean
[q: We all wish you well, fella. One question about the idiot abusing you about it on Twitter] I’ve ignored it. It hasn’t impacted on me. Some little kid sitting in his house tweeting me when I’m playing against Arsenal is not important in my life.
Honestly, hand on heart. It’s not. There is nothing more to say
[q: You’re 27 now, with two years left on your contract. Are they banging down your door here with a new deal? Do you think you will finish your career here?] If Eddie Howe reads me saying, ‘I am here and I am happy with my lot’, he wouldn’t be happy. He wants me to keep improving, I want to keep improving. I hope Bournemouth can challenge for European football and I can continue to progress with them
[q: Who has been your toughest opponent?] Dembele at Spurs last season was unplayable. In the middle of a match, I told him what I thought. ‘How do you do what you do? You front me up, I think I am going to tackle you and you manipulate the ball and move it so quickly. And you’re big!’ He was laughing.
He is so good. And then a minute after he took the ball from a goal kick and I went and nicked it off him. And he came to me and said: ‘You! That was your way of making me think I am better than I am, you took the ball from me!’ Such a good player, though.
[q: I remember you smashed Wanyama too] I was a bit naughty
[q: But I like that, it shows you have a chip on your shoulder, you’re not afraid. Dele Alli has got it too. He looks at people as if to say, ‘What are you doing trying to tackle me? Have it!’ You have that about you too] But sometimes, when I look back at matches and I see I am moaning at the ref, I look like an idiot. I don’t like it in myself. When I am in game mode, I can’t help it. I have curbed it a bit. When it comes to playing against anyone, it doesn’t faze me
[q: It’s been good talking to you] Yeah. It’s been good. I’ve enjoyed talking. The only problem I am going to have is you will look better than me in the photos. Are you sure you haven’t been on a sunbed, Jamie?
2017 02 17 Retrieve
[Harry Arter tells about Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola’s gesture of support for him and his wife Rachel, who are expecting their first child since their daughter Renee was delivered stillborn] He offered his best wishes for me and my partner this week, which was an unbelievable touch. He is someone I have a massive amount of respect for. For me, he is the best manager in the world. I don’t think there’s anybody close to him and what he has achieved. For him to offer that to me, I respected it and accepted it with a smile on my face