FAMILY XMAS TEAR-UP
Bournemouth’s Harry Arter takes on bro-in-law Scott Parker and Fulham
THE season of goodwill to all men is upon us but that festive cheer may not be extended to everyone around Harry Arter’s table this Christmas.
When the Bournemouth midfielder looks up from his turkey and trimmings, he will lock eyes with the man he will do battle with in his side’s clash against Fulham the following day – brother-in-law Scott Parker.
The former England international is married to Arter’s sister Carly and while Parker has been an important influence on the 24year-old’s career, the two family members have never previously played against each other.
With Parker staying loyal to the Cottagers following relegation last season and Arter remaining at the core of Eddie Howe’s impressive squad, the family has received an unexpected Christmas present.
And as a Fulham side enjoying a resurgent spell after their earlier struggles seeks to disrupt Bournemouth’s automatic promotion bid at Dean Court, Arter could be forgiven for help- ing Parker, 34, to over-indulge the day before.
Yet while the Cherries star may limit his spoiling tactics to a few generous helpings at the dinner table, he insists the gloves will be off come Boxing Day.
“It will be the first time I’ve played against Scott so it will be a surreal feeling and a very strange sort of day for the pair of us and the whole family,” said Arter.
“We’ve spent every Christmas together as a family and will be doing so again before playing the next day.
“He’s not a drinker and the family rarely drinks as well, so I can’t ply him with alcohol as it is very much bottles of water or Diet Coke for us.
“Instead I’ll have to pile an extra few potatoes on his plate to make sure he’s a bit slower round the field the next day.
“As strange as it will be to face each other on the pitch, we will be professional and our family ties won’t get in the way.
“It would not be fair on the clubs or fans for us to go easy on each other, so we will both be fully focused on getting our side the victory.”
Regardless of the result, Arter is sure to reflect on a special moment alongside Parker, who has guided him through the disappointment of his release from Charlton before a spell at Non-League Woking and up through the
ranks at Bournemouth. “Scott has had a career I would give anything to emulate,” he adds. “I’ve looked up to him without necessarily realising it and I’m proud to say he’s part of the family.
“He decided to stick with Fulham when he could have gone back to another Premier League club but he’s got a family of four that are settled in the area so it was the right decision.
“His goal was also obviously to get Fulham promoted this season and I respect him greatly for that choice, even though it’s not worked out this year.
“There are a lot more lows than highs in this game so it is nice to have someone to help me through and I know how massive a part of my life he has been.”
Despite a 3-1 loss to Liverpool in the Capital One Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday that brought an end to Bournemouth’s 12-match unbeaten run in all competitions, Arter believes his side’s triumph over West Brom in the previous round is indicative of their promotion credentials.
And with the Cherries continuing to disprove the naysayers, the midfielder is confident everyone at the club, highly-rated boss Eddie Howe included, is ready to make the step up.
“It was a big boost to have beaten Premier League opposition already this season as we haven’t beaten a top-tier side for many years and that shows how far we have come,” he said.
“A lot of other fans keep saying we have spent loads of money and not given us credit for how hard we work.
“But what we’ve spent is pretty low compared with a lot of other teams in this league and we’ve passed Financial Fair Play so that was great for the club.
“We can’t be worried that the Premier League is a step too far or that another club will take Eddie because then you’re scared of being successful and you can’t play football like that.
“I don’t think leaving is at the back of anyone’s mind. There is over half the season left, but we’re playing well and really want to reach our goal of promotion.”
CHRISTMAS CRACKER: Bournemouth’s Harry Arter will face brotherin-law Scott Parker’s Fulham on Boxing Day
SPECIAL: Scott Parker