Steve Harper’s bad mistake at Stoke early in the second half was crucial in seeing Newcastle lose that game.
Steve Harper – only two seasons more on Tyneside
The mistake came after a very even first half, and Steve has said today he only will play another couple of seasons at Newcastle, and will not play be playing much longer than that because of his bad knees.
Of course Steve has been at Newcastle since 1993, when Kevin Keegan signed him from his local club Seaham Red Star, and he now has 189 appearances for the Newcastle first team.
But he was famously the back-up to Shay Given for around 12 seasons on Tyneside, and before Shay left just over two years ago, Steve had played very few games over that period for the Newcastle first team.
Steve thinks that if anything he is getting better with age, although the timing of saying that may be a bit off, after what happened last Saturday.
This is what Steve, who turned 36 a week last Monday on 14th March, told the Newcastle official site today:
“As a goalkeeper and at 36 you know a lot more than at 26,” “I’ve got some very young, good goalies behind me, so I try and pass on the experiences I’ve collected over the years.”
“Us keepers seem to mature and get better as we get older. It’s just from experience as you learn from situations.”
“You recognize situations and things develop a little bit earlier. You are probably calmer around the place, and a better communicator.”
Manchester United keeper Edwin van der Sar has recently turned 40, and has only since announced this will be his last season, even though it looks like the Dutchman could play at least another couple of seasons at the highest level.
But the Dutchman wants to go out at the top of his game, which he is certainly on this season at Old Trafford.
Harper believes Edwin has made the right decision”
“Van der Sar is a legend,” “He’s been outstanding wherever he’s been, and I think Sir Alex said he wishes he had signed him in 1999 when Peter Schmeichel left. What better compliment than that?”
“And to still be doing it week in, week out at 40 is testament to him. I think it’s a fantastic decision by him to retire at the top, because he is still very much at the top of his game.”
But here’s where Steve says there is no way he will be playing when he turns 40 in four years time, and thinks he will play only another couple of years.
So that will at least offer some hope to Tim Krul and Fraser Forster – our two young goalkeepers just itching to take over from the experienced 36 year-old.
Steve was asked if he would be playing when he’s 40:
“No, no chance. Not with my knees,” “I’ve got a couple of years left here which will take me to 38, and then after that we’ll just see how it goes.” “But I’m sure van der Sar hasn’t got knees like mine!”
“But I’ve done the Level Two of my coaching badge, so I want to get more qualified over the next couple of years and stay in the game once I’ve retired.”
Steve was the unlikely villain on Saturday, when he was caught in possession and that led to Stoke’s second goal only seconds later.
But we also have to remember in the previous game, Harper was the Man of the Match against Everton, and certainly kept the score down.
We think Steve will keep his place against Wolves in the next game, although we have seen that soem readers would like Tim Krul back in goal.
But Newcastle need as much skill and experience in the side for the game, that we can muster, and a win would be absolutely great.