Ian Harte retires on career high with Bournemouth
By Brogan Kay-Jessop
Last Updated: 27/08/15 4:51pm
Ian Harte has retired from professional football after playing a key role in Bournemouth's Championship title-winning campaign last season.
The Republic of Ireland international full-back made over 500 career appearances during a lengthy career which started at Leeds in December 1995.
He left Elland Road in 2004 for a stint in Spanish football with Levante before returning to England for brief spells with Sunderland and Blackpool.
The 37-year-old reignited his career with Carlisle in League One in 2009 before moving to Reading where he helped the Royals return to the Premier League.
He then joined Bournemouth in June 2013 and has signed off following more Championship promotion celebrations with the Cherries in May.
"I've thoroughly enjoyed my career but it's time now to go onto the next chapter after the season we had last year at Bournemouth, it was a great achievement for the club," Harte told Sky Sports News HQ.
Sometimes in football you have got to realise when it's the right time to hang the boots up.
Harte admitted he turned down offers to play elsewhere after he was released by Bournemouth earlier this summer.
"I had a few offers from other clubs within the Championship and League One but I'd rather go out on a high after playing for over 20 years," he added.
"With the team achieving what we did with a great bunch of lads, I'm 38 in a couple of days and sometimes in football you have got to realise when it's the right time to hang the boots up.
"There are plenty of highlights from playing in the World Cup and Champions League but the best bit was during my time at Leeds.
"Scoring that goal against Deportivo in the quarter-finals of the Champions League at a packed Elland Road - it was an amazing evening for me, the fans and players."
As well as focusing on expanding his restaurant business in England and Spain, Harte is going to work with his agent looking after young players.
"I'm going to give a bit back to football, helping young lads not make the pitfalls that are out there in only a short career," he said.
"Make sure that they look after their money, invest it right and try and pay their mortgages off. Try and give them a bit of my experience to not make the pitfalls I made."
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe paid tribute to Harte after learning of his retirement.
He said: "My initial feeling was one of disappointment for him because I still felt Ian had a lot to offer the world of football.
"He was such a big personality within our squad last year. Despite the fact he didn't play an awful lot of football for us I looked at him as a real team player.
"He led by example every day and for his age the way he trained last year was second to none. What he could do on a football pitch I think spoke for itself."