Allardyce Likely To Prefer Harper Over Given

Sam Allardyce has talked to the Newcastle Journal today about the goalkeeping situation at Newcastle.

Steve Harper has started the season in outstanding form and has been keeping regular goalkeeper Shay Given out of the side.

We’ll take a look at what Sam had to say but still expect Harper to be in goal in our crucial league game Monday evening at Derby County.


Steve Harper – looks likely to keep his place at Derby County

Sam told the Journal this morning when asked by Stuart Rayner if he thought Given would put in a transfer request as he did in 2001 in similar circumstances:

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” “It’s very, very good to have two quality keepers fighting for one place.”“Stevie Harper has not put a foot wrong in the games he’s played, we’re undefeated and he’s had two clean sheets (in four games),”

“Shay did very well against Barnsley, he didn’t have a lot to do but kept a clean sheet, then didn’t get selected for the next game because of the sheer form of Steven Harper.”

“Shay wasn’t happy because he wants to play every game but he had two games for Ireland, Harper wasn’t playing for England so he had a rest.”

Harper’s start against Wigan was his 50th in the league for Newcastle spread over a long 14 years. Had Harper been a regular first team goalkeeper in the Premiership during that time we feel certain he would have played for England by now, he’s that good. But Steve has always been happy to remain at Newcastle even though he has had few first team games. Steve of course is an excellent team player and is well liked in the squad.

“Steve may have come close to England if he’d played regular first-team football,”

“Some people may say he should have moved on but you can’t argue with his patience. He obviously loves this club and has enjoyed his time here.”

Harper and Given are still close friends but Allardyce has told his squad that when they get their chance he wants them to make if difficult for him to drop them. That’s just exactly what Steve has done so Sam in one way is doing nothing more than keeping his word. But it does look like since Big Sam came in he has liked what he has seen in Harper, who has played first class in goal,

Sam went on:

“If we build a happy camp and we’re all in it together and share our glories and disappointments, we can go a long way,”

Sam’s right there and we hope that Shay gives a professional reaction to what is happening, even though we know he’s not going to be too happy about the situation. Let’s remember the team is important and our results have to take pride of place rather than any one player.

If we do that, success for Newcastle cannot be too fay away.

Comments welcome.

29 comments so far

  • Callum

    Sep 15, 2007 at 9:06 AM

    Comment #1

    Another good interview by SA, although i think Given is a better keeper then Harper, Harper deserves to play simply ecause his form has been very good and doesnt deserve to be dropped. Given will definately have to work harder then he has ever done before to try and get in the team 🙂

  • NSX

    Sep 15, 2007 at 9:38 AM

    Comment #2

    Shay is one of the best 5 keepers in the world, not just europe and naturally deserves his place in any side. However, with the form that Stevie Harper has been showing recently, well…you can’t argue with what he’s had or had not to do.
    Hopefully Shay will be a pro about this and knuckle down and not throw his toys out of the pram because somebody else is getting a game.
    Personally, i’d be happy when our defence is so solid that we could leave all our goalkeepers at home.

  • Rich

    Sep 15, 2007 at 9:38 AM

    Comment #3

    i still think Given will be in goals after the Derby game.

    Harper is second rate compared to Shay.

  • Rich

    Sep 15, 2007 at 9:38 AM

    Comment #4

    Once again my posts are failing to appear FFS.

  • Graeme

    Sep 15, 2007 at 9:39 AM

    Comment #5

    Harper did exactly what was expected of him – he got a chance and took it with both hands. Its no more than Given did last season and then played so well Harper couldnt get back in. Presumably, he’s man enough to accept that Harper has done nothing to justify BSA dropping him and accept the situation with good grace, even if he’s not happy about it. The TEAM comes first.

  • Rich

    Sep 15, 2007 at 9:39 AM

    Comment #6

    Ed every time i come on here my possts dont appear anymore.

    ive had enough.

  • Graeme

    Sep 15, 2007 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #7

    Rich, you have 3 out of 5 now – how many you going for lol

  • gordon

    Sep 15, 2007 at 10:07 AM

    Comment #8

    Everyone seems to miss the fact that shay given has a weakness by staying on his line which could unstable the back 4,the slovakia game is clear indication of that when crosses come into the box and you have a keeper who does not come for them the back 4 looks decidedly ragged.

  • Ed Harrison

    Sep 15, 2007 at 10:09 AM

    Comment #9

    Rich – i just checked the moderator queue and none of your comments are there – I’ll ask Ahmed to check out what may be happening.

  • Sinead

    Sep 15, 2007 at 11:21 AM

    Comment #10

    Ok so because Harper hasn’t made many mistakes we keep the better keeper on the bench and not give him a chance to proove himself. Given is the better keeper. Harper’s kept a whole 2 clean sheets against what I can only imagine to be bottom half teams, wow, he deserves a Blue Peter badge.

    Given is the better keeper, he’s played once for Newcastle and twice for Ireland and I’ve all ready seen him make saves that I’m pretty dalm sure Harper coudn’t have made and that was Given being rusty. If Sam gives him a chance we’ll get to see that form he was hitting before he got injured, he was hitting the form of his life and we’ll see that again if he’s given the chance.

    Either way, this isn’t going to end pretty, by January one will leave. You’ve got one keeper who’s good enough, who’s (rightly) sat on the bench for 12 years but isn’t doing much wrong now and who’s sick of sitting on the bench and then you’ve got a world class keeper who’s been extremley loyal for the past 10 years and he could have, many thought he should have walked (from the worst defence in the premiership) and gone to one of the clubs like Arsenal so he could have a lash at winning silverware. He’s been told that he has to be patient, well honestly he shouldn’t have to be, he’s done enough for the club, patience of a saint to continually stand behind that “defense”. He should have but he didn’t leave. He’s been outstanding to Newcastle and without him I don’t know what league ye’d be in now. He’s pulled ye out of the fire so many times, (it’s funny how quickly some of ye seem to forget that now that ye haven’t lost in 6
    Now lets think about this, who’s going to get the better offers come January..not rocket science. Most people (with apparently the acception of Sam) know that Given’s the better keeper. He’s not going to be able to keep both happy, it’s just a matter now of who’ll get the better offers come January. Next season I sincerly doubt that both will be there.

  • Rob Kirton

    Sep 15, 2007 at 11:43 AM

    Comment #11

    Sinead: It makes not one jot if Shay Given does leave or not. We’ve had goalies before him and we’ll have them after. I’d prefer him to stay at fight for a place in the team. As he’s settled in the North East, maybe he’ll move to Sunderland and can join the growing Irish contingent of players and fans there :0)

    It all doesn’t really matter. The club have three good goalkeepers with varying degrees of experience (Given, Harper & Krull) and another promising giant in the name of Fraser Foster.

    Harps is doing a perfectly fine job between the sticks at the moment. Nobody could have done a better job in the games he has played this term, therefore it would be unfair to drop him. If his form does drop there will always be another (hopefully Given) to step back in. If he’s no longer here, we’ll maybe just have to recruit another

    Newcastle football club is about a lot more than one player. You’ve taken an interest in this board possibly because you’re a fan of Given (Irish connection presumably). If he moves on, you’ll move with him. We’ll still be here supporting the toon.

    I’d hate to see Given leave Newcastle as I would any great player; however Harper would certainly still get the nod on Monday from me.

  • dirk

    Sep 15, 2007 at 12:08 PM

    Comment #12

    totally agree with sinead. we cannot afford to lose shay. lets remember what this guy has done every season he has been with us.
    dropping him indefinately is like dropping shearer when he was in his prime – that would never have happened, neither should this.

  • Toon Chicken

    Sep 15, 2007 at 1:33 PM

    Comment #13

    Everytime there is an article on here about Given you go off on a rant about how we would have been relegated if it weren’t for Shay. I think it’s great that you so passionate about him, I think he’s a top keeper too – but I don’t think he’s been the difference between Premiership football and The Championship – no one player can make that much difference to a team – not even Shearer!

    PS – have you thought about starting an I love Shay Given blog?

  • Toon Chicken

    Sep 15, 2007 at 1:34 PM

    Comment #14

    That was FAO Sinead btw

  • Sinead

    Sep 15, 2007 at 1:36 PM

    Comment #15

    Kirton you are a typical we’re too good now for (someone might I add who’s saved ye countless of times over 10 years I don’t even no what league ye’d be in without him, probally fighting with Leeds for points) Newcastle fan, ye’re so bloody ungratefull, a little clarity here now like, or recognition. I know alot of Sunderland fans, I know a lot of Arsenal, United, Reading fans and Liverpool fans, all of which think that Sam is being absolutley crazy leaving GIven on the bench. You know what, if Given leaves and when Harper screws up and he will, ye will finish bottom half yet again this season and ye will more then likely just survive relegation. Harper is no where near as good as Given, so much for Newcastle loyalty, or is that just to yere forwards?? Owen Owen Owen Owen Owen. Who by the way stayed purely out of guilt but yet ye’re more loyal to him the Given. It’s all about the goals at St James’ isn’t it. It doesn’t matter who plays in good because well you know ye haven’t lost in 6 games against bottom half table teams.

    Just a keeper, same way Shearer was just a striker. Same way Owen is just a striker. Owen doesn’t deserve to go straight back in yet Martins who low and behold has made no mistakes will be dropped. Why because Owen is English and Harper will more then likely keep his place, why because oh wait he’s English too and the English team happen to be struggling right now. Wow coincidence.

  • Rob Kirton

    Sep 15, 2007 at 1:57 PM

    Comment #16

    Sinead: The only way I am typical is that I am a toon supporter of over 30 years standing who has not seen us win anything !

    I will never run Shay down. He is a good keeper. He should also have to fight for his place in the team, as shouyld any player.

    Although I didn’t mention forwards or goals, my views are –

    Shearer was just a forward, Owen is just a forward and so is Oba


    Our best goalkeeping in terms of having least goals condeded in my time supporting the toon was when we hav Pav fighting it out with Shaka for the shirt.

    You’re a Shay given obsesive and a troll.

    I’ll not get involved in any more correspondence about Shay on here. he’s only one small part of our team. I’ll stick to posting comments about other topics in which you won’t be intersted…..

  • Dave

    Sep 15, 2007 at 1:58 PM

    Comment #17

    i case yo havent realised whenever you go on one of your o so famous rants ppl do agree with you, not one person said that harper is a better keeper, however you skim over those who agree with you and rant on about how unloyal ppl are. Take it easy give ppl a chance and actually read what they say instead of assuming.
    p.s. i too think given is much better and that he should start.

  • t-g-w

    Sep 15, 2007 at 2:28 PM

    Comment #18

    By reading all the comments it seems like we’re about to get relegated just because Harper is in goal. Competition for places is a good thing! Nobody should be allowed to pull on the Newcastle shirt no matter what they have or haven’t done for the club over the last 14 or so years. It is about who is playing at their best NOW. At the moment that is Harper – Given has to work harder in training to get back in the team, meaning his performances for Newcastle will be better and the TEAM will benefit as a result. So what if Harper is in goal on Monday – Shay will play more games than him this season (and rightly so). As far as I’m concerned, there is abolutely no problem here. Sinead’s comment about one of them leaving does concern me. I’m not concerned about one of them leaving necesarily, but I’m concerned about Shay leaving if he doesn’t play in one game. That is no reason to leave. He will get back in the team and he will play more games than Harper.

  • Sinead

    Sep 15, 2007 at 4:16 PM

    Comment #19

    t-g-w if no one is allowed pull straight back on a shirt then what the hell is Owen doing he didn’t have to work for it. He strolled straight back in, there’s no competition there because it’s well Owen and Martins will be droped each time he doesn’t have to work. And it’s bloody annoying.

    Rob, you’re one of the typical goals goals goals Newcastle fan by the talk of you, nothing matters except the goals. Who cares about what’s going on in the defense or who ever the keeper is once they’re not screwing up kinda “fan”. Ya ye haven’t won anything in a long LONG time but ye would of had a hell of a less of a chance if GIven wasn’t there, did you close your eyes for 10 seasons when ye didn’t have the ball??

    Let me guess you’re a die hard Owen fan. Owen doesn’t have to fight for his place yet half of ye (not all) respect OWen more and would no doubt rather see Owen stay more then ye would Given and it wrecks my head he’s shown ye amazing loyalty over the last ten years when he should have gone somewhere where he had a chance to win something, not just talk about it, he’s pulled ye out of the fire so many times when he should have left. While Owen stayed out of guilt and spent the entire summer looking for a way out of his contract and stringing everyone along, untill he eventually decided to stay out of either well guilt or no one else wanted him.

    I’m suprised though I thought Newcastle fans were loyal to their players especially the likes of Given, but ye don’t need him anymore….right, cause ye’ve haven’t lost in 5 games, against small mid/bottom table teams and Harper has kept a whole 2 clean sheets. Wow, that’s impressive ye’ve really proved yereselves.

    Maybe Toon fans like Dave and a couple of others here are a rare breed, I’m kinda dissapointed, I thought ye were different. AH well.

    TO Dave ya you’re right some of ye are grand it’s just that small part of these “fans” wreck my head.

  • Hadji

    Sep 15, 2007 at 5:27 PM

    Comment #20

    Too many dilemas wont bring good to anyone.Harper is good but with Shay around he’s only second best.
    I only wonder what would have happened to Given if he was instead Harper that night when one of the most embarasing moments was made.
    A la Xabi Alonso.

  • Loisss

    Sep 15, 2007 at 6:24 PM

    Comment #21

    Personally, even if BSA’s position is defendable, I would go with Given just because I think he acquired the right, with all those years of great services, to be treated with respect and confidence and not loose his place because of an injury. Harper got the chance to show what he can do and he did great. Fine, we now know he’s a good keeper. Nevertheless, to me, Given should play if he is ready, and would have to make a few mistakes to loose his place. In other words, he would have to loose his place on the playing field. Years of reliability should give you this privilege. And it’s nothing against Harper.

  • Obafan

    Sep 15, 2007 at 6:41 PM

    Comment #22

    Very good comments about BSA;
    1. we have 2 class keepers
    2. Given is the better one
    3. Harper has played fantastic in the 4 games of the EPL
    4. Given had lots of annoying injuries and Harper alwys was good when he replaced him
    5. If Given was fit, Harper automatically had to sit on the bench, without arguing

    – Harper deserves to play and as long as he is in top form, Given must wait and be sharp for the game whe he gests his chance.

  • Sinead

    Sep 15, 2007 at 6:57 PM

    Comment #23

    Given wouldn’t of made that mistake. I’m sure he would have rathered to be there then in laid up in hospital.

  • Sinead

    Sep 15, 2007 at 7:03 PM

    Comment #24

    Fine Obafan but the same should apply to Owen but it wont. Given deserves a chance to proove himself, which he should have to do, no one (incuding Owen) should be able to walk straight back in but he should atleast be given the chance to do so.

  • Toon Chicken

    Sep 15, 2007 at 7:58 PM

    Comment #25

    For the last time – OWEN DID NOT WALK STRAIGHT BACK INTO THE FIRST TEAM. He played games behind closed doors, he played for the reserves, he played in the Carling Cup against Wigan – all before he started a Premiership game.
    The only person who walked straight into the was the Fat Aussie. So if you want to rant about anyone then rant about him.
    Personally I think it’s a conspiracy – clearly BSA is under pressure from The Aussie FA to play Viduka. You watch will make an audacious bid to sign Harry Kewell and Jason Donavon in January.

  • dragoner

    Sep 15, 2007 at 9:34 PM

    Comment #26

    viduka isn’t competing for martins’ place though, so he has no significance to our owen vs martins rant, why do you consider playing in low-level matches behind closed doors etc to be enough to replace a perfectly good striker who is in good form for us at eh moment? i really do not understand

  • dragoner

    Sep 15, 2007 at 9:35 PM

    Comment #27


  • dragoner

    Sep 15, 2007 at 9:35 PM

    Comment #28

    that for ToonChicken by the way

  • evil dick

    Sep 16, 2007 at 9:07 AM

    Comment #29

    I think it’s fkin brilliant to have 2 quality keepers battling to be toon keeper!

    GET IN!


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