Steve Harper So Down To Earth

Steve Harper, our second string goalkeeper came on in the second half for the injured Shay Given on Saturday, and played very well, making a couple of great saves to keep the score down.


Steve Harper – two great saves on Saturday

Although Steve doesn’t play too often he remains one of Newcastle’s senior players, and we’ve always thought he was just too good to sit on the bench all the time. With Given having regular problems with his groin, Steve has been getting more games in the last eighteen months, and he’s shown just what a good goalkeeper he is.

We’ve always thought that if Steve played regularly in the Premier League he would have been capped by England, he’s that good.

Steve is a local lad and down to earth, and never one to make excuses as he told the Newcastle Journal today:

“It’s another demoralizing defeat,” “We started quite brightly, probably the best we’ve started at home for a long time. But against top teams you can’t keep shooting yourself in the foot and we keep doing that week in, week out at the moment. Until we eradicate that we’re going to have problems.”

“We keep saying what if, what if, but you can’t keep doing that. We’ve had a couple of great weeks’ training, intense, really high tempo. Everyone’s been out there and it’s really perked up, the mood in the camp was good but Saturday was a knock-back.”

“We need a win. We need momentum, nobody’s kidding ourselves, we knew it would be tough. It was an encouraging start, but at 1-0 down we gave a poor goal away when we went to sleep. If we’d got to half time at 1-0 who knows?”“They got the killer goal at the start of the second half.”

“If we’d got the next goal it would have been game on but we gave Ronaldo the freedom of the city for the third and we’re 3-0 down against a team which could well become champions of Europe this season. We had a decent response with a goal back, but it’s the same old story. Just as we give ourselves a bit of a lifeline they got a great goal from (Wayne) Rooney.”

“We’ve got Blackburn next week and it’s a massive game. We’re under no illusions just exactly what the task is, we’re not looking at the top six. We’re not daft as a bunch of players. We know the longer we go without getting that elusive win the harder it’s going to be, so the priority is to get back on the training field and do everything possible to get three points against Blackburn and bring this run to an end.”

Good words from Harper and that’s exactly what the team needs to do this week. Work on whatever they need to so we have the very best chance of beating Blackburn on Saturday. And a win is what we need and all 3 points, forget about a draw and just one point. Harper thinks Kevin Keegan’s impact as a manager will be felt, but that these things inevitably take some time, as he continued:

“When Kevin came in, yes, we all got a lift. But nobody expected that first win to be automatic. You could compare it to last time when he came in. It was a massive task and his job this year is to get us the points necessary to put this season behind us and build in the summer.”

“I’m sure he’ll get the backing to rebuild this squad and this club but we can’t think about the summer. We’ve got to think of the immediate priority to get the points to put this season to bed. Nobody’s kidding themselves that we’re going to be up there in the Champions League soon. It’s a massive job at a massive club.”

“People say he knows this club inside out and he will know more than anyone what needs doing. The immediate aim’s to get three points and on the right track.”

Steve Harper is a great professional and is admired by the Newcastle faithful for his complete dedication to the Newcastle United cause. He has elected to stay at his home town club when he could have played first team football elsewhere, that’s how much he loves Newcastle.

And when Steve came on in the second half on Saturday, it was his 100th appearance for the team. Well done Steve and thanks for your complete dedication to our club over the last 12 years.

Comments welcome.

21 comments so far

  • Tom_Toon

    Feb 25, 2008 at 11:26 AM

    Comment #1

    should be first choice

    Given: must try harder, C-

  • Mr T

    Feb 25, 2008 at 11:32 AM

    Comment #2

    Can we have 11 Steve Harpers play against Blackburn?

    I seen him against Celtic play as a Striker, could be worse…. could be Smithy!

  • cooldj

    Feb 25, 2008 at 11:37 AM

    Comment #3

    make him our no. 1
    make him england no.1

  • Leo* I HATE BUTT

    Feb 25, 2008 at 11:47 AM

    Comment #4

    the reason given is not fit isnt just the fact that he has this dicky groin, but is because he drinks loads, i heard from a friend who ran a pub him and some of his team mates, as well as robbie keane drank from 7pm till 6am the next morning, and that day they were playing football!!!

    also i used to work at a bar where given and a couple of the first teamers would come in every so, and he would drink a ridiculous amount!

    harper deserves a string of games in the number one slot!

  • George

    Feb 25, 2008 at 11:56 AM

    Comment #5

    Steve Harper has a quality which is totally lacking in majority of professional footballers today. Loyalty.
    Steve has went about his job very professionaly over the years, never rocked the boat, never been involved in any form of wrong doing or scandal. he has never let down the team when he has been called upon.
    On the few occaisions he has had a run in the side, he has been relegated to the bench as soon as Given was back.
    This year, Given has been very unreliable. His kicking is way off. His decisions as to come off his line have been very dubious and mis timed. On occaisions you could here defenders shout at him to let them know if he was staying or coming for a ball because of times he started to come he changed his mind and made a defender look bad.
    KK waxed lyrically about Steve Harper when he was here first time, even saying he was good enough for England. As has Sir Bobby Robson, Kenny Dalglish, Ghullit, Roeder and Souness. But every one of them have went back on their words and never gave him a chance, a chance he fully deserves.
    Now KK has done it again to him. He came on against Villa and played well except for the defenders around him, making some great saves and could not have done more, yet he is dropped for saturday, Given comes in and we all saw his performance before going off, then SH comes does very well again, but he will probably be on the bench next game.
    If there is one thing i would say to KK is, give the lad a run, he deserves it and has never let us down, but Given is by taking the pitch when not 100% fit.

  • Spitfire

    Feb 25, 2008 at 12:56 PM

    Comment #6

    Harper should have had an extended run virtually from the start of the season. There was no compelling reason for BSA to bring Given back in when he did. I think the truth is we have suffered a little since then. Given is not what he was 2 seasons ago. He has become a bit of a liability at direct free kicks and his kicking and distribution has not been up to scratch. Let Harper have the rest of the season he can’t do any worse than Given considering the plight we are in now.

  • Bill F

    Feb 25, 2008 at 1:03 PM

    Comment #7

    If I was Steve I’d be spitting blood about the team selection Saturday. To be second choice to a keeper known to have an injury and then be bought on to try and pick up the pieces. He is either a saint or an idiot to put up with it, personally I would have moved on years ago to get certain first team football and a possible England place, he is as good as some of the recent numpties. (not that they have been brilliant)

  • Bosck

    Feb 25, 2008 at 1:04 PM

    Comment #8

    for years i have rated given and touted him as one of the best if not the best keeper in the league, but like a lot of people i honestly think it is time for steve harper to be given a long run in the side. given should be givena month or so off to totally sort out his groin injury, both physically and mentally with the right specialists before he is considered again. its not as if we havent got the quality in harper, forster, and soderberg to cover while he is out (would include krul but he is injured as well).

    if then given comes back in 100% fit and back to his best, then he can be given the opportunity to win his shirt back of harper but not till then, and only if harper is not playing well enough to keep the shirt.

  • dingo

    Feb 25, 2008 at 1:09 PM

    Comment #9

    where did you used to work Leo… in Ponteland?

  • Macca

    Feb 25, 2008 at 4:20 PM

    Comment #10

    Leo..that’s complete bull. That was ONE story about Robbie Keane from about 2 years ago when he was seen having a pint about 4 days before a match.

    I think that though Given’s the better keeper they desperately need to sort out his groin. They should get it sorted and then come back because we’ll need him. Harper in the mean time is a good cover.
    I heard rumors of him having surgery on it, but not from the most reliable source so I don’t know how much that’s true.

    And BOTH of them have been extremely loyal, Harper could have left even though I don’t remember anyone wanting him and Given could have left about 100 times over and gone anywhere including Arsenal. They’ve both been here more then 10 years and they’ve stayed through the hard times. If anything it would have been easier for Given to leave.

    Harper wont or and I don’t think he ever will be England’s no. 1.


    Feb 25, 2008 at 4:21 PM

    Comment #11

    nope it was in morpeth, a night club called m2, its closed now and a posh new one there called suburban…

    it used to be a great nightclub but now i think its too much like everything else out there in town…

  • Eric

    Feb 25, 2008 at 4:45 PM

    Comment #12

    With Given a bit shaky I would give Harper an extended go in the side. His loyalty over the years is magnificent. I still think he is good enough for the Englan squad. Comes from Easington does he not? That means Given or Forster on the bench.


    Feb 25, 2008 at 4:49 PM

    Comment #13

    macca where do you base that it was bull?

    it not a lie, im not talking about a story in the papers about it, i am telling you… the staff had to put them into taxi’s at 6.3o in the morning to go home!

  • Macca

    Feb 25, 2008 at 5:04 PM

    Comment #14

    Leo I was thinking the exact same as you,

    You know when I was working one day I saw George Clooney steal a bag of sugar.

    Which sentence is more ridiculous and factless. It’s a hard one.


    Feb 25, 2008 at 5:11 PM

    Comment #15

    hohoho, mate how funny are you, did it take you all this time to think that jibe up.

    grow up

  • Macca

    Feb 25, 2008 at 5:22 PM

    Comment #16

    I was thinking the same thing about you. Keep the fairy tales in the books ok.


    Feb 25, 2008 at 5:44 PM

    Comment #17

    its fairly obvious i havnt made this up, ask any bar manager in morpeth and they will tell you that shay is a frequent drinker in their establishments!

  • Macca

    Feb 25, 2008 at 7:26 PM

    Comment #18

    Sure, ok.

  • obamagic

    Feb 25, 2008 at 11:17 PM

    Comment #19

    harper nids to be given a shot

  • Gloryhunter

    Feb 26, 2008 at 12:44 AM

    Comment #20

    He’s pulled his groin again. What a LOC

  • briss

    Feb 26, 2008 at 2:22 AM

    Comment #21

    he didn’t play too well last match. But he is a good keeper. Given is still the number one


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