There’s nobody knows what it’s like being a second choice goalkeeper than Steve Harper.
Steve Harper – big challenge this pre-season
And Steve will hold that experience in good stead when he fights it out with Tim Krul and Fraser Forster this summer, when Alan Pardew has to decide who will be Newcastle’s number one goalkeeper for next season.
But whoever wins the jersey, you can bet the Steve will be as professional as ever, and do all he can to help the two youngsters, as he’s always done.
Ever since Steve was signed by Kevin Keegan back in 1993, he’s been loyal to Newcastle, when a lot of us thought he could be a Premier League goalkeeper away from Newcastle.
Of course Shay Given was just an outstanding goalkeeper for Newcastle United over 12 years, and Steve didn’t get too many first team games during that time.
This is what Harper told the local Newcastle press today:
“The manager, once we were safe, wanted to put Tim in and have a look at him, and I had no problem with that,”
“He did very well, and I had no problem with him playing, as I had to get my knee right and come back firing on all cylinders in pre-season because the two young lads behind me are champing at the bit and ready to take the jersey from me.”
“Every season it gets harder. Fraser did very well at Celtic, which is a massive club with similar crowds to here, and the expectations there will have done him the world of good.”
“Tim ended the season in the team, and played 20 Premier League games. He’ll want to add to that tally next year and get more games in.”
“Every season the managers always said nobody’s No1 – it’s up to you to convince me in pre-season who deserves the shirt, and I’m sure it’ll be no different this time.”
“We can have a right go next season,” “It’s the consistency we’ve got to look for. At the start of the season, people said it would be our home form that kept us in the division, but we won five games away from home.”
“If we can get a few valuable additions, I’m sure we’ll be able to turn St James’s Park back into a fortress. We might get the home wins into double figures, and still pick up the away wins.”
“We could start looking upwards rather than over our shoulders.”
Steve is one of the leaders at Newcastle, and one of the good guys too, and we often think he would make a great coach for Newcastle once he hangs up his gloves.
Harper has 191 first team appearances for the Magpies, and Steve is also a Football Association-approved referee, and is one of the few professional footballers to have ever earned their referee’s license.
Steve has also used his time off from football to improve his education, and has a social sciences degree from the Open University.
He’s a great role model for not only Tim and Fraser, but for all the youngsters at Newcastle, and is currently the longest serving Newcastle player, having been at the Tyneside club for 18 years.