One of the interesting aspects that Newcastle United will soon have to deal with, one way or the other, are the contracts that are due to expire this summer.
Steve and Shay - two great goalkeepers these last 11 years
There are a number of decent players such as Michael Owen, Nicky Butt, Steve Harper, Mark Viduka and Shola Ameobi, who will become free agents in the summer, if Newcastle elects not to offer them new contracts.
With the sale of the club still potentially going to happen in the new year, there’s not much the current regime can do right now, which is a terrible situation for the club to be in – but that’s the situation – like it or not.
One player who obviously would love to stay at the club is our longest serving player, goalkeeper Steve Harper, who has been at the club for 15 years since being signed by Kevin Keegan in 1993, from Seaham Red Star.
Steve talked today about his time at the club:
“I’ve really enjoyed the last two years, as I’ve played over 20 games. This year has been very difficult. I haven’t been able to get a game yet, so it is important to keep ticking over. I am only too happy to play in the reserves.”
“Shay’s obviously had a very difficult two years with injuries, but he looks to be over that now. He’s got the shirt, and while he stays fit and keeps doing well, that’s the way it’s going to be.”
“You just keep your head down and soldier on. I’ve been fully committed here for the best part of 16 years, and I’ll remain so until someone tells me otherwise.”
Steve proved once again he is a top class goalkeeper, when he substituted brilliantly for Shay Given at the end of last season, but now that Given seems fully fit again, and playing near world-class, Harper cannot get a game at the club.
And with two top 20 year-old youngsters in Tim Krul and Fraser Forster knocking at the door, it may be that Newcastle will not renew Harper’s contract, and let one of the youngsters become Shay’s stand-in. If Steve is kept at the club, we fully expect Tim Kriul to want to leave Newcastle for pastures anew.
But most fans will hope Steve’s tremendous commitment and dedication to the Newcastle club is justly rewarded soon.