Steven Harper was disappointed, and we were surprised, when he lost his starting place to Shay Given last Saturday at Manchester City.
We were surprised because Sam had said on the day of the Arsenal match that Steve would return against City. Given did have an excellent game at the Emirates and Sam decided to keep Shay in goal on Saturday.
Steve has been talking about his experience – so is he off sulking curled up in a fetal position? Not on your life – read on.
Steve Harper – top class professional and wonderful role model for kids
It’s really hard lines for the 32 year-old Easington born stopper but Steve is very mature and almost philosophical about last Saturday. However, he’s not giving up as he told the Evening Chronicle:
“The battle goes on,” “It goes without saying that I was desperately disappointed to be left on the bench on Saturday but, I must say, what made it easier for me was that I lost my place to a top-class goalkeeper.”
“But I’m not one to spit out my dummy and all I can do is keep working hard and try and get back into the team.”
“We flew down to Manchester early on Friday morning and had a work-out at the Manchester United training ground, and it was then that the manager told me I wasn’t playing.”
“Obviously I was gutted but I’m a professional and I have always stood by the manager’s decision in all my time here, no matter who it has been.”
You don’t get a better professional than Steve and he is also a powerful team member representing the views and guts of a person who grew up in the Tyneside area. The way he has taken this setback is also a great example to the rest of the Newcastle squad – no wonder Big Sam has taken a big liking to him. He’s now been at Newcastle 14 years and has had loan spells at Huddersfield, Stockport County, Gateshead and Bradford City during his time at the club.
Some trivia on Steve:
- On 26 July 2007 Harper came on as a substitute against Celtic in a friendly match and played as a striker (he looked pretty good and almost scored).
- Harper is an FA-approved referee – one of the few professional footballers to have earned their referee’s license.
- Steve has a degree from the Open University, which he studied for whilst playing for the Newcastle reserve team.
- He’s a great role model for the kids on Tyneside.
It’s a real pleasure to have Steve part of our team.
Comments very welcome.