Harte rejected Leeds United offer to stay at Reading FCBy Jonny Fordham
May 25, 2012
Ian Harte rejected an 11th-hour approach from Leeds United to pen a new one-year deal at Reading and make a dream return to the Premier League.
The Royals left-back played 288 times for the Elland Road club and is still held in high regard by their fans.
But when Leeds attempted to take him back to Yorkshire this month in the final weeks of his contract at Madejski Stadium, there was no way Harte’s head was going to be turned.
“I got a phone call about 10 days ago saying they were interested,” the 34-year-old revealed.
“I love it down here and these have been the best two years of my career. It would be silly to leave such a fantastic club like Reading. I’m definitely happy where I am.
“I don’t say you can never go back as I’m sure that would be fine. But people would say back in those days that we had a fantastic team, playing Champions League football and it would have been difficult.”
As first reported in the Reading Post at the beginning of last month, 34-year-old Harte has been in talks over a new deal for some time.
Royals boss Brian McDermott said: “It’s a fantastic story. If you consider that two years ago Ian had been written off in certain quarters, and yet now he is a Premier League player again.
“That tells you everything you need to know about the person, the player, his resilience, his character, his determination and his quality. He still has that burning desire in training every day to play at the highest level.
“So I’m delighted that Ian has signed a new contract.”
Although Anton Zingarevich’s £25million takeover has still not been signed off by the Premier League, McDermott seems to be having no trouble in arranging deals for the 2012/13 season.
Garath McCleary has joined the club on a free transfer from Nottingham Forest and director of football Nick Hammond and head scout Steve Shorey have been scouting Europe for the past 10 weeks for new recruits.
And Harte insists that the on-going speculation over the sale of the club doesn’t have an effect on the squad.
He added: “It’s out of our hands. It’s all down to the management and the board. We’re just paid to get on and play football.”