Monday 20 November 2017

'Every single game now I go out to play for her' - Ireland's Harry Arter in emotional tribute to stillborn daughter

Bournemouth's Harry Arter with manager Eddie Howe, pictured after the loss of his daughter
Bournemouth's Harry Arter with manager Eddie Howe, pictured after the loss of his daughter
Ger Keville

Ger Keville

Ireland midfielder Harry Arter has opened up on the devastating loss of his stillborn daughter Renee.

The dynamic Bournemouth star put in a man-of-the-match performance in a 2-1 win over Manchester United on December 12 but just before that match the tragic news was revealed that he and his fiancee Rachel had lost their baby Renee days before her due date.

Today, Arter has spoken of the heartbreaking events in an emotional, in-depth interview with the Guardian.

Arter spoke of the 'worst day of his life' when saw Rachel crying in the hospital after hearing the devastating news.

“That was the worst night of my life,” he says.

“To this day I don’t know how Rachel, physically and emotionally, dealt with it. She stayed there the whole night knowing she was still going to have to give birth naturally to our baby that hadn’t made it. And for her to do that … it’s the most respect I’ll ever have for anyone. To have to do that, and the way she dealt with it, was unbelievable and made me have an unconditional love for her.”

Arter also says he was overwhelmed by the support he received, particularly from the Irish team and management.

“I was so overwhelmed with the amount of support I got from people I know would care but I wouldn’t expect to make a call,” he says. “Martin O’Neill called me, Roy Keane was with him and sent his best wishes. People I play with for Ireland that I’m not close to at all were texting me. There were people from all across the world sending me messages – I must have received over 3,000 across that Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I swear I read every single one and Rachel probably read most of them as well.”

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe holds midfielder Harry Arter on the touchline
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe holds midfielder Harry Arter on the touchline

After that brave, man-of-the-match display against Manchester United, Arter admits he did not feel 'mentally right' when he skippered his side against West Brom. That, he says, was a massive wake up call and there was no way he was going to 'let this define my football'.

“Every single game now I go out – and this is the truth – to play for her. I think I need to do her proud and play as well as I physically can, so that if she’s watching she’ll be happy," added Arter.

Read the full interview here.

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