Steve All Set To Step Into Shay’s Boots At Newcastle

Joe Kinnear today has given a big vote of confidence to Newcastle’s new No 1 goalkeeper,  Easington born and bred local lad, Steve Harper.


Steve Harper – will get lots of support from Newcastle fans

Steve is the longest serving Newcastle player on the books, having been signed as an 18 year-old way back in 1993 by Kevin Keegan, and he is also a leader at the Newcastle United club.

This is really the first real chance Steve has had since Shay Given arrived, of cementing himself as the long-term number one goalkeeper on Tyneside, and if Steve is as good as we think he is, he’s going to do just fine, and make the loss of Shay Given seem minimal.

We hope so anyway.

But it seems like Newcastle boss Joe Kinnear has every faith that Steve can step into Given’s boots.  Joe told the Shields Gazette today:

“Steve’s probably one of the top five English goalkeepers,”

“When I came here, I said goalkeeping was one of the areas in which we were blessed.”

“We’ve got (Tim) Krul and (Fraser) Forster as well, and it’s probably the strongest area at the club.”

“Harps has come in now, and he’s got an opportunity to stake his claim. He’s a very competent, good goalkeeper.”

Harper has so far made 113 appearances for Newcastle United since joining the club from Seaham Red Star, and of course he has signed a brand new contract to stay at the club until the summer of 2012, so there could be a lot more appearances for the local lad before his contract runs out.

We need players like Steve at the club right now, local lads who will give their all for the club, in these rather turbulent times.

And it looks like Kinnear has more than a few great characters in his squad now, who are ready to fight with all they’ve got for the Newcastle cause.

Steve is probably as good if not better than Shay at both kicking, and at dealing with crosses, and we’re sure he will work his socks off to be a top goalkeeper at his home-town club.

If we can pull away from the relegation zone, before the end of the season, that will be a huge relief to Newcastle fans, after what has been one of the most turbulent seasons in recent memory.

Comments welcome.

40 comments so far

  • Stardust

    Feb 4, 2009 at 1:00 PM

    Comment #1

    And he is loyal and willing to fight for the long term cause, got to love Stevie Harper

  • miloflembo

    Feb 4, 2009 at 1:04 PM

    Comment #2

    i thought they were the same person anyway, him and given 😛

  • Micky Toon

    Feb 4, 2009 at 1:10 PM

    Comment #3

    miloflembo // Feb 4, 2009 at 1:04 PM

    i thought they were the same person anyway, him and given 😛

    You might have something there. After all you never saw them both on the same pitch at the same time did you? Eh? 😉

  • Toon Sweden77

    Feb 4, 2009 at 1:12 PM

    Comment #4

    They are very look-a-like… And great goalkeepers as well!

  • Darling27

    Feb 4, 2009 at 1:18 PM

    Comment #5

    I’m right behind the lad. The best goal keeper we could possibly have after Given.

  • SpartanChris

    Feb 4, 2009 at 1:19 PM

    Comment #6

    If he plays half as good as Shay does he’ll be in the England squad by the end of the year.

  • bowburnmag

    Feb 4, 2009 at 1:25 PM

    Comment #7

    Harps chucks it with his left arm otherwise I couldn’t tell them apart. Still gutted Shay has gone but hopefully it works well for all. Used to think Harps was arrogant and a bit of an ar*e after a couple of run-ins with him on the town (verbals and hacky looks, nowt serious). Turns out he’s actually a really nice bloke and the only downfall is his dodgy accent. Though that’s slightly diluted now.

  • Nobby_Long

    Feb 4, 2009 at 1:30 PM

    Comment #8

    He’s a good intelligent lad. He always speaks well when being interviewed. Can’t believe he never moved away, but good luck to him & lets hope he grabs this chance with both hands.

    Lets face it, the way we’ve been playing he should get plenty of opportunity to show what he can do.

  • Davies

    Feb 4, 2009 at 1:33 PM

    Comment #9

    Love him. Losing Shay is a shame, but not a concern.

  • pityaka

    Feb 4, 2009 at 1:33 PM

    Comment #10

    Always thought Harper’s all round game was better than Givens! Given is a great glorified shot stopper, but his distribution (kicking) and command of his area in the air is shocking. I believe he was the reason for such a bad defence.

    Given never puts trust in the back four and chooses not to play from the back. This does nothing for their confidence especially young lads. Harper will work woth his defence though as he hasnt got a chip on his shoulder like Given.

    Harper has stood in his shadow for too long, who unlike Given doesn’t cry like a baby when he doesn’t get hios place.

    We’ll see what he does at City?

    I will be pleased when we get rid some of these players who think they are bigger than newcastle and some of the mercenaries on big wages. We can then start building a Team of tryers rather than rejects!

  • Davies

    Feb 4, 2009 at 1:36 PM

    Comment #11

    I know I’ve said this before, but is a total crock of sh1t. I’m sure it’s editorial staff are people too stupid to make the grade at The Mail.

  • batty

    Feb 4, 2009 at 2:31 PM

    Comment #12


  • chuck

    Feb 4, 2009 at 2:33 PM

    Comment #13

    Sure he can step into Shays boots, question is can he fill them ?

  • batty

    Feb 4, 2009 at 2:41 PM

    Comment #14

    10 pityaka big wages dus that include oba cos mark my words he will leave in summer

  • bennytoon

    Feb 4, 2009 at 2:43 PM

    Comment #15

    good luck to given. Hope you win that elusive first trophy.

  • chuck

    Feb 4, 2009 at 2:51 PM

    Comment #16

    We have heard it all before, Shay cant do this or that but he is a good shot stopper.
    You are just another ignorant fan who simply does`nt understand the game and repeating a theme.
    Why do you think every manager prefered Shay to Harper ?
    Not to say I have a problem with Harper I think he is a decent goalie, he is just not rated by most as being as good as Shay.
    Got It !

  • Bill F

    Feb 4, 2009 at 2:53 PM

    Comment #17

    Untill, he gets injured, Krull steps in and plays so well that poor old Steve is back on the bench.
    Sorry, poor joke I know but stranger things have happened.

  • RyanToon

    Feb 4, 2009 at 2:57 PM

    Comment #18

    glad harper turned that small club tottenham down, bet there fans are gutted that theve got a chelsea rejecy and wait for it…. GOMES HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

  • bennytoon

    Feb 4, 2009 at 3:18 PM

    Comment #19

    ryantoon- If we had wanted him we could have asked for him to be thrown in with martins as part of the bent swap. Shame harry didnt think that your star player was better than bent who warms our bench.

  • RyanToon

    Feb 4, 2009 at 3:22 PM

    Comment #20

    haha, you can only dream of martins haha

  • Matthew Tom

    Feb 4, 2009 at 3:28 PM

    Comment #21

    Joe F’Kinnear is seriously under-selling the talents of a very very good goalkeeper here.

    Fifth best in England? Behind whom? David James is probably, but Robinson? Hart? Green? I don’t think so.

  • dereksnevaright

    Feb 4, 2009 at 3:43 PM

    Comment #22

    I for one am with pityaka – for me the proof was when ‘the worlds’ best keeper put himself up for sale and not one of the big clubs came in for him. Just citeh. Likewise over past 5-6 years all of top four looking have looked for keepers and ignored him. There must be a reason for that.

  • bennytoon

    Feb 4, 2009 at 3:50 PM

    Comment #23

    I think you are all building harper up into something he is not. He is a good number 2 goalie. Nothing more.

  • chuck

    Feb 4, 2009 at 3:52 PM

    Comment #24

    You saying theres 5 good English goalies ?
    Name them !

  • ObaMartins

    Feb 4, 2009 at 4:03 PM

    Comment #25

    pityaka <<what a complete idiot

  • bennytoon

    Feb 4, 2009 at 4:12 PM

    Comment #26

    From the goalies in the prem alone i would rather have :Cech,Almunia,Friedel, Jassskalinan, Cuducini, Howard, Reina, Hart, Foster,Van der sar, Turnbull,Given, James, Gordon, Robinson, Carson, Green,Kirkland and Gomes.

  • chuck

    Feb 4, 2009 at 4:13 PM

    Comment #27

    Sunderland echo has Harper as one of the top 5 goalies in England.
    Shields Gazette has him as one of the top 5
    English goalies.
    I`m confused, which is it ?
    And whatta you think ?

  • bennytoon

    Feb 4, 2009 at 4:23 PM

    Comment #28

    His lack of international caps says it all. None of the england managers have rated him and i trust there opinion more than some journo that has never played the game.

  • fergie

    Feb 4, 2009 at 4:41 PM

    Comment #29

    I presume those of you that are saying that Harper’s kicking and distribution is better than Given’s have never been to a live game before. Given’s kicking is unbelievable, whereas Harpers is suspect. You only need to watch Given in the warm up before games for proof. When kicking out of hand, he will aim it to Paul Barron/Terry Gennoe or whoever our goalkeeping coach is these days and every single time they will not have to move more than 1 step to get the ball (in the opposite half of the pitch). Harper, on the otherhand will be fairly similar for the majority of the time, but is capable of producing some shockers. Just look at Given’s assist for N’Zogbia’s goal against Spurs for proof of his excellent distribution. The only downside I would say Given had in his game is that he was so used to kicking the ball long for Shearer, that afterv he retired, he continued to play the same balls, but without a competent target man to aim for, making our game suffer. As for Given’s awareness and speed off the line… second to none, unlike Harper who stays, then comes, then goes back.

    The people claiming Harper is better than Given are just being bitter, as a lot of people were about Milner when he left. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of Harper and think he is a good keeper, but lets get things straight… Shay Given is a much better keeper.

  • reillers

    Feb 4, 2009 at 4:43 PM

    Comment #30

    He’s waited a long time.

    My only worry is that, why?

    Ya loyalty is one thing, but what the bones of 11/12 years.
    I don’t want to, but you’ve got to question his ambitions, is it laziness or what? Loyalty draws a line at one point.
    What worries me is that for the bones of 11/12 seasons not one England manager came near him, not one club, and every manager for 99.9% of the time had Given as their number one.

    And Harper never left or showed any interest in wanting to leave.
    At one point, it shows his lack of ambition and I don’t like saying it.

    One of the top 5 English keepers? So that puts him behind who exactly..there are no top class English keepers, but one of the top 5, it doesn’t give a lot of confidence does it.

    JK stops short at saying Given’s better then him. But you can tell he’s thinking the end of the day we all are.
    He tries to put his backing to Harps, it comes across like he’s sighing when he’s saying it. It’s like he doesn’t believe what he’s saying.
    The reality is that Harps will always be seen as no.2 and when he leaves in goals a lot of fans will look around wondering could Given have saved it?
    He’s a good local lad..but is he any more then that?

  • Bill F

    Feb 4, 2009 at 4:46 PM

    Comment #31

    Reillers, you are repeating what I have said on many occaisions.

  • batty

    Feb 4, 2009 at 4:47 PM

    Comment #32


  • chuck

    Feb 4, 2009 at 5:50 PM

    Comment #33

    Ditto. Could`nt have stated it better.
    Now for all the critics and ignoramuses, enough allready.

  • Jeff D

    Feb 4, 2009 at 5:54 PM

    Comment #34

    OK!! Given is better than Harper. No one will argue with that, but he is a very good replacement. On the England manager thing. He would never have been picked if he was always a substitute keeper. Now he is a first team premier league starter that might change. In fact im going to put my money where my mouth is, and go to the bookies and stick a T£nner on Harper winning an England cap.

  • reillers

    Feb 4, 2009 at 6:13 PM

    Comment #35

    There are a lot of players who play for their country and aren’t starters, they at least get on the squad.
    Harps even when he had those runs on the team when Given was out injured there was no interest, he didn’t get near the squad, a poor English squad.
    And no club has ever come near him in 11 years.

    We have lost a massive player and though it’s selfish to say I wish Given did a “Robbie Keane” and came back.

    Harper is a good keeper, a good local lad, but imo he’s no more then that.
    He has to step into Given’s shoes, but like it was asked all ready, can he fill them..I don’t think so.

  • Toon_Factor

    Feb 4, 2009 at 6:14 PM

    Comment #36

    Ever since I was little i though Harper was better

  • Piccolo

    Feb 4, 2009 at 6:17 PM

    Comment #37

    fergie – agree on the Given being a better goalkeeper overall but have to disagree on the kicking ability.

    I have seen live games, season ticket in the gallowgate, and Givens kicking was truly appalling last season. I think he got a kick up the backside when Harper came in and did well last season and came back better this season but i still rate Harpers kicking distribution higher than Givens.

    At the end of the day it’s subjective and only time will tell if Given can help command Citehs dodgy defence and if Harper performs well now he’s in the toon side.

  • reillers

    Feb 4, 2009 at 6:30 PM

    Comment #38

    How many times have we seen Harps kick..not often.
    Given a hell of a lot.
    You cannot be 100% accurate all the time, players are moving, they are trying to get free, trying to loose their defender.
    Not to mention Given is trying to get an attack moving as well.
    A lot of the long kick are such are down to the game style in which the manager wants to play.
    They need to work for the ball as well.
    I’ve to agree with Fergie I’ve seen the wee lad before matches kicking and their spot on 99.9% of the time.

    I’ve seen the wee lad with Ireland as well and his distribution is excellent, he’s be throwing the ball out. Getting attacks moving and such..but it’s all about what the manager wants.
    Long puck outs or short, it’s up to the manager.

    But you’re right time will tell. It’ll take both I’d say a wee while to get used to playing behind their defenders, but we’ll see.

  • Johann

    Feb 4, 2009 at 11:08 PM

    Comment #39

    Let´s first look at your comment about every manager choosing Given over Harper.

    The only valid argument there is when Bobby Robson chose him but he wasn´t sure at all. Harper orginally lost his place through injury. And for those who don´t remember we got very far when he was a manager. So to state that everyone have chosen him counts for nothing. Look where those managers are!

    They were sacked.

    And now I´ll you the facts. And don´t just say there isn´t an argument there. It´s a pretty good one.

    We had a fantastic run last time Harper was in goal and the one before with Roeder. Both dropped him and were out soon after.

    Harper has better distribution that´s a fact.
    His organisation is as well a lot better.
    He´s more determined going for crosses.
    He controls his defense and gives them confidence. He doesn´t just look on in angist when things aren´t going well.

    Given has one thing over Harper. That´s his showboating reflexes. His shot stopping and reflexes combined (very quick unexcected shots) are very good. But that doesn´t make a keeper.

    I´m not saying Harper is world class. Personally I wish he was taller or at least could save the world class saves that Cech does. Then he´d be a top10 keeper. But the jury is still out. Now he´ll get a run (if he doesn´t get injured, hope not!) so he might prove that he´s in the top10 bracket though I think he needs more height

  • Tom_Toon

    Feb 4, 2009 at 11:53 PM

    Comment #40



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