There is a long interview in the Newcastle Journal today with our second string goalkeeper, Steve Harper, who has had a lot more games for the club in the last 18 months, since Shay injured his bowel at West Ham in September, 2006.
Steve Harper – so down to earth it’s refreshing
This is what Steve told Luke Edwards today of the Journal:
â€œPeople might look at the squads and think weâ€™ve got the best players but it doesnâ€™t work like that,â€ â€œWe might have players who have played in World Cups, won league titles and FA Cups, but weâ€™re no better than the likes of Birmingham City and Wigan because that is what the table tells us.â€
â€œUntil we get points on board we canâ€™t say we are better than them. The league table doesnâ€™t lie and itâ€™s not lying at the minute. I think itâ€™s only right that people are getting worried because we havenâ€™t won a game since before Christmas and that run has got to stop.â€
â€œWe are there because we deserve to be there. People can talk about tough fixtures or bad luck, but luck will even itself out if you work hard and apply yourself. We have a lot of international players who have been there, done that, but this is a completely new challenge for some of them.â€
â€œBut we have some big characters, experienced players. Steven Taylor and James Milner are big characters as well. There are plenty in there and weâ€™ve got to rally round and make sure everybody realizes the task ahead.â€
â€œPeople have been saying weâ€™ll be all right, but as games are passing by it starts to sink in. Itâ€™s getting to the time when we are in it. As players we havenâ€™t underestimated that at all. The immediate priority is to get points on board â€“ starting on Monday.â€
â€œWe have five tough away games and this one against Birmingham is the biggest game in the clubâ€™s recent history, the biggest game for a long, long time.â€
â€œThere is always pressure at this place, everybody knows itâ€™s a pressure cooker â€“ more than any other club. Every game is a big game at a big club but Mondayâ€™s is massive. Weâ€™ve had a rotten run and an awful couple of months, but there is no point looking back â€“ 29 games have gone and we canâ€™t do anything about them.â€
â€œPeople talk about ifs and buts, but itâ€™s history and you canâ€™t change that. All that matters now are the next nine games. They are just as important as the last nine games were in 1996. We were riding the crest of a wave then and it was a fantastic time at the club when we came so close, but thatâ€™s history.â€
â€œ Maybe people are still thinking of this club in that light, but this is a different scenario and is just as important.â€ â€œKevin was a legend in football for what he did last time here. It was a similar scenario. People forget how he saved club from disappearing into oblivion. It went to the wire and we hope this doesnâ€™t.â€
â€œOnce he turned it around he was given the opportunity to build and put the club up where we think it belongs. We canâ€™t think about that though â€“ we have to do the job in last nine games, thatâ€™s all we can think about at the moment.â€
These are good, truthful and down to earth statements from our goalkeeper Steve Harper.
While Steve has only played 101 games in his time at Newcastle, that doesn’t stop him from being one of our senior players at the club. He is dedicated to the club, and could have played many more games at another Premier club. But he didn’t want to do that, and that has probably adversely affected his career.
But he did what he wanted to do and played for his local team, Newcastle United. And we are pleased he’s been at the club, and is still here.
Steve has been a great servant for Newcastle United, and obviously the club means a lot to him.