Harper’s Loyalty Starting To Pay Off

Steve Harper now has over 100 first team appearances for Newcastle in his 15 years at the club.


Steve Harper – over 100 appearances now for Newcastle

Steve Harper told the Chronicle:

“This is the reason why I stayed.” “A lot of people ask me why I didn’t do this or that. But the reason why is for times like now.”

“I’ve now surpassed 100 games, and a few years ago that seemed a long way off. I would like to think patience can be rewarded.”

“I had been out in the cold a lot before last season, but last year I played 25 games.” “After the first couple of weeks of this season I felt up to speed.”

“I really enjoyed things, and to start the season was great, but obviously I came out of the side again.” “I’m back in now and it looks like I might be in until the end of the season.”

“It is much better than sitting on my backside, believe me.”

Harper made his 100th appearance for Newcastle against Manchester United earlier this year, and he said that particular honor gave him fresh hope to look forward to other targets.

Steve added:

“If I had known in July 1993 it would have taken 15 years, I might have done it differently.” “I’m well over 100 appearances now and I’m looking towards 200.”

“At 33, I have a year left on my contract, but we’ll get this season out of the way and see what happens with the club from there.”

It will be interesting to see what happebns when Steve’s contract runs out in the summer of next year. He’ll be 34 years-old then and young Fraser Forsetr and Tim Krul will be chomping at the bit for a first team place.

Steve has been a great servant to the club, and we think he’s now getting his due rewards for the patience he has shown, and playing extremely well for Newcastle right now. He actually seems to be getting better all the time.

For the record, Steve now has 106 appearances for the Magpies after the game against Reading last Saturday.

Comments welcome.

43 comments so far

  • Greg B

    Apr 8, 2008 at 5:31 PM

    Comment #1

    Have argued with my blue nosed brother for years we had the best back up keeper in the league and maybe aside from Almunia (though he’s first choice now) at Arsenal I think Harper has proved me right – great player, great professional and apparently a top bloke as well.

    Just off topic but I got a bit worried today about the whereabouts of former Toon doom mongers Allardyce and Souness. It would appear that since we won a couple of games their nagativity and bitterness towards the club has seemed to dwindle to say the least – in fact I have seen hide nor hair of them for 2-3 weeks now or heard their sour ramblings towards the club that, in all fairness, put more than a few quid their already ample bank accounts!!!

  • Tripp

    Apr 8, 2008 at 5:35 PM

    Comment #2

    He’ll get a great testimonial no doubt. His kind of loyalty is incredibly rare in the age of “bling”. For that alone he ought to get a lot of credit and admiration.

  • Obafan

    Apr 8, 2008 at 5:39 PM

    Comment #3

    Fantastic attitude Steve has shown through all the years. Now he is looking like our number 1 and he looks very confident.

    I hope Shay gets back fit again like before the Harewood drama, but it would not be fair to put Harper on the bench. He waited so long for his chance and now he is taken it with his both hands and feet 😉 .

    Greg B – what do you mean about SA and Souness doing negative???

  • Luke

    Apr 8, 2008 at 5:46 PM

    Comment #4

    I appreciate him so much ( I agree with you Greg B ), but what a wasted talent.

    There’s no earthly reason why he shouldn’t be in the current England set-up.

  • Leo

    Apr 8, 2008 at 5:51 PM

    Comment #5


  • Dave Atkinson

    Apr 8, 2008 at 5:54 PM

    Comment #6

    Harps IS at least as good as Given.

    Watch Given, once he’s fit, talking to the press about is ‘career’ and need for first team football.

    Given’s a good keeper – but he was never great and, if he left, I’d wish him well, good luck and thank him for his service.

    And before anyone slaggs me off for having a go at Given, just tell me what atributes Given has that Harper hasn’t? Cheers….

  • Luke

    Apr 8, 2008 at 6:03 PM

    Comment #7

    An Irish passport?

  • ScottyT

    Apr 8, 2008 at 6:49 PM

    Comment #8

    no doubt what a great servant to this club. i dont think it would happen ever again where a player waits that long for a first team spot without them leaving. the thing about harper though is he loves this club that much and that hes still a quality keeper.

    have to say that this season he been by far our best goalkeeper. whether thts just becoz of shays injury i dont know but he played fantastically well this season when called upon and when you see harper playing when given is injured you really arent worried at all.

    surely he deserves some sort of england callup for a friendly or somthing cos hes on better form than the likes of robinson, carson, kirkland or james for england. would love to see him given a chance.

    great lad.

  • Macca

    Apr 8, 2008 at 8:27 PM

    Comment #9

    Harper’s been loyal,very loyal, he could have looked around, I’m not sure if he’d any offers but he could have probably left if he wanted to. But he’s been very loyal. He has been but IMO Given is still better. I think Harper is slightly over rated by Newcastle fans, because he’s a “local lad.” Like he’ll never make the English no.1. Some people believe he will and are willing to sacrifice Given if it means that Harper could have a chance with the English team. I don’t think he’d be on it even if he saw more game time. But he’s still a very good keeper.

    Now Dave you say Given talks to the media, he rarely does, haven’t heard from him in months, and in contrast I think you’ll find that over the last few months since Given was injured Harper has been talking to the media, a lot.

    Every player wants first team football, it’s ridiculous to say other wise. I think you’ll find that Harper has talked to the media as well about it. Constantly.

    Not great, you’re a forward player fan ok, I find that a bit annoying but a lot of people are. When they don’t tend to notice what goes on in the back and the contribution that the players at the back have made. That’s from a lot of fans (especially younger ones.) But if you’ve been supporting Newcastle as long as I have you’ll realize what’s needed. The media are like your style as well, Ronaldo makes the back page every weekend but you’ll never see many defenders or keepers on there even if they won their team the game and that’s why it’s so rare that a defender or a keeper will win player of the year award.

    Their contribution is overshadowed by their attacking players.

    Now Given has saved us time and time again sometimes it goes unnoticed because at the end of the day most will only remember the goals conceded or the goals we scored. How many times did we see the likes of Shearer grab the headlines for scoring the goals even if a defender well in our case, keeper won us the match. But that’s why and I hate it, we’d be absolutely know where without our keepers. Without Given or Harper. For that matter.

    Given has regular international football with Ireland, is one of if not their most important player. First name down on the team sheet, and I don’t think he’s ever played badly for them. He’s that up on Harper, like Harper did well early in the season, but Given’s preformance in the cup and he played an outstanding game against Germany meant that Sam had to play him. He was outstanding. Get Germany scoreless if I remember correctly.

    Not great though, really, back to back player of the year awards for Ireland, keeper of the month/week/year from random sites constantly got the most MOTM awards in our team over the last few seasons. Picks up every second MOTM award in Irish games and saves us constantly. I love to see what you think is great.

    Not to pushed if he left, let me ask you this, would you want to be playing against him when he’s fit?

  • mikeygd

    Apr 8, 2008 at 8:31 PM

    Comment #10

    great keeper great loyalty, anyone think we should go after gilberto of arsenal in the summer? and arteta of everton? lennon of spurs? bentley of blackburn? pennant of liverpool? crouch of liverpool? park of man u? theo of arsenal in a swap plus cash for nzogbia!!

  • JC

    Apr 8, 2008 at 8:46 PM

    Comment #11

    Christoph Metzelder for toon a quality solid centre back or right back with the leadership qualities we need at the back. Is unsettled at Madrid

    What does anyone think about this. I think it would be a brillent signing.

  • ToonKing

    Apr 8, 2008 at 8:47 PM

    Comment #12

    out of that lot i’d only want Arteta, Bentley and Crouch. We won’t get Arteta and Bentley so that leaves us with Crouch 😀

  • Rob Kirton

    Apr 8, 2008 at 8:47 PM

    Comment #13

    I always find it great when Harper is interviewed. “local” but just sounds like a mackem. Although there are some mags in his part of the world, I suspect he took some stick from some of the folks in Easington when signing for us.

    It’s the same when I meet a lot of the Jarrow lads, Tyneside through and through yet half of them support the other lot !!

  • Tom_Toon

    Apr 8, 2008 at 8:51 PM

    Comment #14

    JC, if you read on a previous article i put:

    Metzelder is world class 3 games a season, because he is injured the rest.

    That sums it up.

  • ScottyT

    Apr 8, 2008 at 9:10 PM

    Comment #15

    sorry but am sick of this ‘oh hes overated cos hes a local lad’

    am hearing it from people for taylor edgar carroll nd now harper. i dont know about evry1 else but i judge a player on how well they play and football matters .. not on wer theyre from.

    at the start of the season i said given was our best keeper and i still say that if he gets back to the fitness he had before his 1st injury at west ham he’ll be our best keeper. but on this seasons form harper has simply been the better keeper nothing to do with local lad.

  • Macca

    Apr 8, 2008 at 9:20 PM

    Comment #16

    ScottyT, on that terms he’s not overrated, no, but I think like I saw a heading there not so long ago under Harper’s picture after the Spurs game and it said something like he had a fantastic and amazing game, the only time I remember him even touching the ball was when it rolled past him.
    He’s been really good but when things like that happen, his preformance is overrated.
    But what I really meant was overrated in a way, with people saying he should be on the English team.

    You have to admit though that the local lads are overrated. All the time, not just here.

  • JC

    Apr 8, 2008 at 9:24 PM

    Comment #17

    Then just keep him fit for the rest of the season then……easy ; )

  • JC

    Apr 8, 2008 at 9:27 PM

    Comment #18

    Tom Toon what about this anderlacht lad we are linked with?

  • Tom_Toon

    Apr 8, 2008 at 9:34 PM

    Comment #19

    Id like his, quick skill ful player only question mark is if he is strong enough for the prem. Lennon can hack it so why cant Boussoufa.

  • Steve_48

    Apr 8, 2008 at 9:41 PM

    Comment #20

    Pompey won 0-1 tonight Lads, makes for an interesting game this Saturday @ 5:15, it;s on Sultana Sports BTW, likely to be on P2P as well

  • ToonKing

    Apr 8, 2008 at 9:56 PM

    Comment #21

    isn’t it on Sky ??

  • Tripp

    Apr 8, 2008 at 9:58 PM

    Comment #22

    It’s on Setanta.

  • Tripp

    Apr 8, 2008 at 9:59 PM

    Comment #23

    Now we just gotta beat Pomey and we’re 3 off hammers.

  • ToonKing

    Apr 8, 2008 at 10:05 PM

    Comment #24

    Would love it if we beat them, love it ……….but it’s gonna be tricky, Defoe could really hurt us, he’s on fire….. 🙁

    On thing is for sure though…it will be a helluva’ game.

  • rlw

    Apr 8, 2008 at 10:10 PM

    Comment #25

    Harps has made mistakes but so has given i remember that mach against norwich were he let 2 howlers in and harps let 3 bad ones against fulham but juge them now then its harps thats better.
    harps no.1.

  • Macca

    Apr 8, 2008 at 11:06 PM

    Comment #26

    You can’t really judge them on this season though, you can’t judge Given anyway from this season, injured for half of it, out for the other half.

  • obamagic

    Apr 8, 2008 at 11:30 PM

    Comment #27

    I tink a ambitious bid of 35 mill for both Per Mertesacker and Diego would seal the deal.

  • Sex Panther

    Apr 9, 2008 at 12:10 AM

    Comment #28

    It’s great to see Harps get a run in goal. Over the years it’s been easy to say Shay has been the better of the two keepers, but at what point have we had the chance to see Steve have a truly extended run in the team to make an informed judgement?

    I believe that had the roles been reversed and Harper had played as often as Shay, he’d be a shoe-in for the England squad. Let’s hope he maintains his good form and is justly rewarded for so many years of untapped potential.

  • Gloryhunter

    Apr 9, 2008 at 12:36 AM

    Comment #29

    Shay is a great shot stopper, but his command of the area is dodgy. I don’t know what he shouts when balls come over but it seems to panic our defenders. His main problem though is his distribution. He constanly puts the backs under pressure. Too many goals have been scored against us because of his awful passing. Harps isn’t as good a shot stopper as Shay, but he comes out tops on his command of the area, and his distibution of the ball is excellent (unless it goes to Smudge).

  • m.

    Apr 9, 2008 at 2:25 AM

    Comment #30

    we have soderberg, forster and krul on the way… they’re the future… so, no place for Harps anymore :T

  • Tripp

    Apr 9, 2008 at 3:07 AM

    Comment #31

    Well, there is the present. You can’t live in the future. You can plan for it though, and in the goal keeping department we seem well prepared for it.

  • ScottyT

    Apr 9, 2008 at 3:56 AM

    Comment #32

    macca i get your point and i suppose people do tend to side with the local lads but not to the extent where we start ignoring what they do on the pitch and say oh hes a geordie let him off.

    i suppose im trying to defend taylor etc because hes had a tough season a lot of mistakes etc but people have to take into consideration other seasons .. same with butt milner. theyve all been good in other past seasons and when some say we should sell them they forget what they can do. for example taylor has been our best defender for the last 2 seasons yet he has a bad season and every1 says hes useless.

    i suppose what im tryin to say is that a lot of people are now starting to use the term ‘local lad’ to criticise a player when it has nothing to do with being local.

    on ur point with harper .. i dont see why it is so unrealistic. cappello is picking on form isnt he? and harper is playin v well atm whilst other english keepers are performing badly. for me like others i believe he could have challenged for england team if hed moved on for 1st team football but he chose to stay and fair play to him. like a say gr8 guy.

  • iain

    Apr 9, 2008 at 6:40 AM

    Comment #33

    shay has two massive wekanesses to his game that have got worse since his injury problems which imo are know partly mental.

    ive been saying it all season to anyone who would listen that shays groin would go sooner or later you only had to watch the way he was kicking the ball and jumping. he certianly wasnt diving at full stretch like he used to. he also wanst coming of his line as much and he looked scared he might get hurt, which given what happened is understandable.

    harper does command the area better and kicks better and if shay cant regain his cat like reflexes due to injury then harper will be the better keeper for us from now on.

  • vitorbarbosa

    Apr 9, 2008 at 6:42 AM

    Comment #34

    To be England No.1, it’s still long game to go. David James is no.1 now, and I can’t see anyone can rival him for his spot.

    But to be frank, everyone knows that Shay is the best shot stopper but Harper is better in organizing the defence. So, give and take.

    If we are to look for the future, we need someone taller in that area. Someone who can pull saves like Given, command the area like Harper. Will not be the best in the world, but will certainly improve our goalkeeping department.

  • hanzemre

    Apr 9, 2008 at 7:20 AM

    Comment #35

    yeah luckily we’ve no problem in between the post if both goalies are match-fit. Whoever is the best goalie to pick is KK’s headache as he must perform his best for the sake of NUFC like Shay did constantly in the past seasons (sorry! he’s not for most of this season) & atm. Harper is doing his best & deserve his place.

  • elfer

    Apr 9, 2008 at 7:41 AM

    Comment #36

    Well all comments that GIVEN isn’t our number one should be ignored…don’t get me wrong, HARPS is an outstanding backup keeper for us, but there’s no way to get before worldclass GIVEN with his cat reflexes – clearly only if he’s 100% fit!

  • Eric

    Apr 9, 2008 at 9:08 AM

    Comment #37

    Harper has more strings to his bow. I heard he was a qualified referee and that he was doing an Open University degree. His loyalty is without question and I think there is little difference between him and Shay in goalkeeping terms. To
    achieve what we should achieve we need them both in the coming seasons. Harper has that special northeastern grit that one does not see with some of the southern prima donnas.

  • Dave Atkinson

    Apr 9, 2008 at 9:39 AM

    Comment #38

    Macca. Decent analysis of the Given versus Harper question but I can’t agree.

    The great goalkeepers don’t rely on reflexes (with which Given has been blessed in the past) but instead they marshall their defence and have a dominant presence around the box. Harper is better in this regard but still nowhere near world class (let’s not get carried away here).

    Furthermore, Given’s kicking has always been….wait for it….pathetic…for a premiership goalkeeper. He improved after obviously working on his game but has pretty much lost it again after his groin injury. His distribution was poor and remains poor. Despite his limitations in this area, he has a penchant for hoofing the ball up. At least Harps looks for someone to roll the ball out to.

    I say give Harps an extended run and let’s see if Given can get his place back on merit.

    A coupls of other points – Given IS always in the papers (his recent relative absence is due to his injury). Everytime, he’s come back from an injury, if he hasn’t been picked immediately, he whinges (oh yes he does) about thinking about looking elsewhere. Harps is talking to the press these days because he’s in the team and I’ve never heard him issue veiled threats about leaving if he doesn’t get his place back….

    Playing for Ireland has nowt to do with anything.

    Oh, and by the way, been supporting the Toon longer than I have – how about 1970? Is that long enough for you. Including 19 years living 200 miles away from Newcastle – and STILL going to the games. Do I qualify?

  • Leo

    Apr 9, 2008 at 9:45 AM

    Comment #39

    even harpers distribution is better than givens, harps very rarely boots it up the field instead gives it to the defenders to give to the midfielders to run up the field give it to the strikers then score!!! wooo haha

  • Johann

    Apr 9, 2008 at 12:52 PM

    Comment #40

    It´s very simple. Harper commands is area more and gives a lot more confidence to his defense. Come on you all see that I´m right. So his shot stopping abilites don´t need to be so amazing really. But I don´t agree Given is a better shot stopper than Harper. Given only has more reflexes which makes him better to save shots near him. But those shots shouldn´t even be coming. Given looks better in games because he gets more shots on him and so on. Managers today tend to look at that. The best keepers don´t get that much noticed in games because of their shot stopping, it´s because of how they commend their area and defense. They are talkative and make the occasional world class save from a long shot. But it´s right what someone said. Harper aint world class but clearly he is better than Given


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