Steve Harper Taking Nothing For Granted At Newcastle

There is something satisfying to have Steve Harper in the Newcastle goal, now that Shay Given elected to leave the club in January.


Steve Harper – Tim and Fraser will be breathing down his neck

We on the blog always thought that Steve could have been a starting goalkeeper at another Premier League club, but as everybody knows, he elected to stay at his local club and fight for the first team spot.

But as Shay Given made close to 460 appearances for the team since 1997, and was twice voted the best PL goalkeeper by his peers, Steve made only around 110, so he was nearly always second choice goalkeeper, although reckoned to be one of the best back-ups in the Premier League.

Steve now has his chance to be the first team goalkeeper at Newcastle for a few years, but will have two 20 year-olds breathing down his neck for an opportunity.

Tim Krul – who has been on loan at Carlisle United and Falkirk – and Hexham-born Fraser Forster, who has been at Stockport on loan for first team experience, are now alternating as Harper’s back-up for each game.

Steve Harper seems to believes that one of the two will eventually succeed him:

“I’m not taking anything for granted because there is Tim Krul and Fraser Forster behind me,”

“I think there is a week in age between them and even less in terms of ability, which is why they are alternating on the bench each week.”

“They are working really hard. They are both young and very, very hungry. They both want my place. They’ve both played first-team football on loan and they want to get into the Newcastle team.”

“You know, I look at them and I see Shay and myself all over again. It’s a rivalry which could go on for years. I’m enjoying it and I’ve got to keep them at bay for as long as possible, hopefully at least for the next three years.”

“I’ll help them as much as I can, but it’s my job to keep them out and keep them frustrated. I’ve waited a long time for this and I’m not going to give it up easily.”

It’s strange but Steve has a lot of experience even though he has not played too many times for Newcastle, but it was fitting that he was made captain in the absence of Michael Owen and Nicky Butt last Wednesday, against Manchester United, an honor that was also occasionally given to Shay.

We have every confidence in Steve Harper, and as we said earlier there’s something satisfying that after such a long wait, Steve is finally getting his chance, and he’s started as safe as ever.

Comments welcome.

8 comments so far

  • RyanToon

    Mar 9, 2009 at 9:53 AM

    Comment #1

    i see RIQUELME claims to off rejected us

    (the mirror)

  • Marty-Toon

    Mar 9, 2009 at 10:00 AM

    Comment #2

    I reckon he is a good keeper and will have to be to keep us up…….
    He will need Tayls,Collo,Bassong and Jose at threir best to keep us in it too.
    Here`s hoping guys.

  • Whumpie

    Mar 9, 2009 at 10:18 AM

    Comment #3

    Harper’s going to South Africa. Got to be.

  • Whumpie

    Mar 9, 2009 at 10:21 AM

    Comment #4

    I have to admit it – I’m not missing Shay. A club with as thin a squad as we have and a restricted transfer budget can’t afford to have four decent goalies on the books.

    Also, I think we’re much better on the counter-attack now – as was the case with Manure on Wednesday. I think Steve H is more in tune with the NUFC way of thinking, even if his reflex saves are not as good as Shay’s. (But then, nobody’s are)

    Lastly, and most importantly, we need true, loyal players out there to inspire the kind of passion that we’re going to need to survive and then start a prolonged recovery.

    The Steven Taylor interview in today’s Times is another good example – although I know he’ll get a slagging-off from the usual quarters. We need these guys right now, and it’s good that they are among those getting regular football right now.

  • Ericles

    Mar 9, 2009 at 11:07 AM

    Comment #5

    I think that Steve will establish himself as our number one keeper for some time to come. Keepers do not “wear out” as quickly as some forwards I know of! I also think it time that he was promoted to the England squad. In Krul and Forster we have quality back-up and it is up to them to show which one will fill Steve’s boots one day.

  • Toon Graeme

    Mar 9, 2009 at 11:57 AM

    Comment #6

    Ive seen Krul and Forster in action in the reserves.

    Forster is very good vocally with his back 4.

    Ive never seen them in action against any prem teams so cant really judge them on their 1st string ability. From what I have seen – I got faith that we have very good back up for Harper.

  • Rodzilla

    Mar 9, 2009 at 1:53 PM

    Comment #7

    Haven’t see much of Krul but can remember him having an absolute blinder for us in a UEFA cup game a couple of years back (against Palermo I think). If he’s like that all the time, I’d say he’s pretty good back-up!

    (shame he’s not a striker though)

  • Tom_Toon

    Mar 9, 2009 at 4:27 PM

    Comment #8


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