First Ever Home Derby Game For Harper

Steve Harper will play his very first derby game at St. James’ Park on Sunday, after being at the club for 15 years.


Steve Harper – first derby game ever at St. James’ Park

The veteran goalkeeper also admits he is now thinking of his first victory over Newcastle’s local rivals:

“It will be my first derby with Sunderland at St James’s Park,”“I have played twice at the Stadium of Light, including earlier this season, and we have drawn both of those games.”

“It will certainly be different to those two games. I’ve played in front of 48,000 of their fans and it will be different on Sunday when there are 52,000 screaming us on.”

“It was great to be part of it at the Stadium of Light and it will be the same on Sunday.”

Harper’s comes from Easington which is in County Durham, south of the Tyne, and it’s not too surprising that most of them support Sunderland, who are also in County Durham – southerners!    😀

Steve continued:

“It is probably 60-40 in their favor.” “And while there are quite a few Geordies there, they are outnumbered.”

“However, they’re a vocal lot, and the rivalry’s good. I still go back to my mum and dad’s all the time, as they still live there.”

Of course Kevin Keegan has been so impressed with Harper’s form of late, and is quick to point out it was he who signed Steve 15 years ago from Seaham Red Star.

There is no doubt that Harper has been a top quality deputy for Shay Given and there promises to be a monumental battle for the first team jersey next season.

And when Harper was asked if all the Newcastle players understand the importance of the derby game on Sunday he said:

“I think they do. I don’t think you can fail to know what it means when you live in a city like Newcastle.”“It lives and breathes football and you have seen in the last month what a difference it’s made around the city.”

“The doom and gloom that was hanging over the city has gone and the place is bouncing again now.”

“We’re going in with a lot more confidence than we had five or six games ago.” “It’s a big, high-pressure game, but we’re going into it with a lot of confidence.”

Steve been in his best form ever for Newcastle since Shay has been out and he’s going to stand a good chance of dislodging Given next season unless Shay is back to his very best and has fully recovered from his groin problems, which seems to have adversely affected his play this season.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

12 comments so far

  • ToonRich

    Apr 17, 2008 at 1:35 PM

    Comment #1

    If any player deserves to play in this derby it’s this man 🙂 Good luck to Harps, hope he shows his ability when called upon.

  • Leo

    Apr 17, 2008 at 1:37 PM

    Comment #2

    well i think this will just add to the passion that he shows on sunday, i soo cant wait, going out to celebrate after the match with the mates, not just the impending victory but ma 21st. drinks all round me thinks.

    its a shame your not allowed to stay wearing club colours in the bars because it means i will have to drop into ma dads office to change.

    who thinks that rule should change?

  • Aussie Toon

    Apr 17, 2008 at 1:49 PM

    Comment #3

    Well done Harps well deserved. I think 4-1 to Newcastle 🙂 Leo i think the rule should change but it wont due to the minority of thugs who like fights when they drink and wear the colours. I hope my prediction for the final score is correct 🙂

  • Toon Goat

    Apr 17, 2008 at 1:56 PM

    Comment #4

    If Harper loses his place to Given “automatically” when Given is fit again it will be a travesty. Harper has been superb lately and Given has been poor all this season and most of last. When does he EVER come for a corner? And if he threatenes to leave, let him go. We have great replacements in Forster and Krul.

  • ehssi

    Apr 17, 2008 at 2:33 PM

    Comment #5

    LORD dont let S. Harper get injured before the game…I hope he could be the goalie in that game, he deserve it =)
    I love harpers passion for the club :).

  • Bill F

    Apr 17, 2008 at 3:02 PM

    Comment #6

    Leo is that rule just for this game or does it apply to any match. Sounds dopey to me bit like telling people not to dress up for a carnival parade.

  • Leo

    Apr 17, 2008 at 3:19 PM

    Comment #7

    well im sure alot of bars around newcastle have signs if they do not allow the clubs colours, such as baja beach club or blu bambu… that is any night that they are open…

    many bars do the same, but i guess during the daytime, they dont mind it.

    so for watching the match in a bar or a pub wearing the clubs colours is fine.

  • Rob Kirton

    Apr 17, 2008 at 4:00 PM

    Comment #8

    For Sunday..

    I hope he doesn’t get his gloves dirty and has time tip to nip into shearers bar for a pint with some of the lads when we’re defending the Gallowgate end :0)

  • Darryl

    Apr 17, 2008 at 5:04 PM

    Comment #9

    I’m not far from easington, born in just outside of Durham – 6 mile away, think im about 3 from easington. Most of my mates support Newcastle, and rightly so!

  • Daniel...

    Apr 17, 2008 at 6:51 PM

    Comment #10

    sorry edd but the “southerners” are not from county Durham it is called tyne and wear now, also it is not all mackems there are more or less the same where i live and its a nice healthy rivalry as we do not all support the same team, in fact a few of my good friends are some of their lot and i will not hear the end of it till the next game if we loose or in case of the the st game, fail to win.

    so we need a win down here!

  • Bill F

    Apr 17, 2008 at 6:58 PM

    Comment #11

    Leo I see, that makes sense suppose they have to have a dress code, why not stick an Ashley mask on that might work. 😉

  • Ed Harrison

    Apr 18, 2008 at 10:00 AM

    Comment #12

    Daniel – I was just trying to be light hearted – a joke 😀


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