Ian Patrick Harte (born 31 August 1977 in Drogheda) is an Irish international footballer who plays as a defender. He currently plays for English club Blackpool.
Harte joined Leeds United from Home Farm in 1995. He played for Leeds for nine seasons and was an integral part of their team alongside his uncle Gary Kelly. When Leeds bought Dominic Matteo it looked as though Harte might become second choice. Matteo though ended up playing at centre half and Harte kept his place on the left. In the 1999–2000 season he helped Leeds reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup, playing twelve games, scoring one goal. He then helped them reach the same stage of the UEFA Champions League in the 2000–01 season, playing 17 games and scoring three goals in the competition.
Harte is also a proficient left-footed free kick and penalty taker, which was demonstrated in the vital league game against Arsenal in the 2002-03 season, where he scored Leeds' second goal from a 25-yard free kick. Leeds went on to win that game 3-2 and barely avoided relegation.
Despite rumours, earlier in his career, that clubs including Barcelona and A.C. Milan were offering Leeds as much as £11 million for his services, in the end it was Spanish La Liga club Levante that signed him from Leeds United in 2004, following the financial crisis at Leeds.
Harte scored Levante's first La Liga goal in 41 years in a 1-1 draw with Real Sociedad. Unfortunately, Harte suffered a groin injury in January which sidelined him for most of the remainder of the season. Levante, in their first season in La Liga since 1965, were up to 5th position at one point (when Harte was healthy), but they still suffered relegation on the final day of the 2004-05 La Liga season due to a loss to Villareal. The following season in the Segunda División was successful for both Harte and Levante as Harte was consistently first choice left back, he scored nine goals in all competitions, and Levante were promoted back to La Liga at their first attempt. However in the following season in La Liga, Harte was injured in August and failed to regain his place in the team once he returned from injury in January. This time though Levante finished in 15th place and were safe from relegation.
Before the start of the 2007-08 La Liga season, Levante coach Abel Resino told Harte that he was not in his plans, and Harte and the club agreed to terminate the remaining 12 months of his contract.
On 29 August 2007, after a trial period, it was announced that Harte had joined former national team mate Roy Keane at Sunderland. He was initially signed on a one year contract. However, he was subsequently transfer listed in January 2008 by Keane.Harte made his Sunderland debut as a late substitute in the clubs 3-2 defeat away at Arsenal. On 4 June 2008, along with seven other players, he was released by Sunderland after only one year at the club.
During summer 2008 Harte spent time on trial at Wolverhampton Wanderers but rejected their eventual offer of a month-to-month contract and he was without a club for the start of the 2008-09 season. In September 2008 he trained with Sheffield United at the club's Shirecliffe training ground complex. He then played for the Blades reserve team in a 3-0 win against Newcastle United reserves.
On 22 October 2008, it was announced that Harte was on a one-week trial with Norwegian Premier League club Vålerenga hoping to impress manager Martin Andresen. He also spent time on trial at Charlton Athletic.
After spending a few weeks on trial with Championship club Blackpool, Harte signed for them on 11 December 2008 on a month-to-month contract basis.He made his debut for the Seasiders on 29 December 2008 in a 2-2 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Bloomfield Road.
Harte has played for the Republic of Ireland on 64 occasions, scoring eleven goals. He was handed his international debut in 1996 against Croatia having made just four appearances for Leeds and earned a regular starting berth for the 1998 World Cup qualifying campaign.
However, as his club career flourished post 1998, Harte found himself out of the reckoning at international level though he returned for the 2002 World Cup qualifiers and was the only player to play every minute as Ireland reached the World Cup for the first time in eight years. He also notched up four goals during the campaign — from left back — including a penalty against Iran in the play-off though he struggled at the World Cup because of a toe injury and the emergence of John O'Shea restricted his appearances under Brian Kerr.
He was recalled to the team for the home match against Israel on 4 June 2005 and the away game in the Faroe Islands four days later. Harte scored in both games, which marked his return to the Irish senior football set-up.