36-year-old Steve Harper was back-up to Shay Given during Shay’s long spell at the club of 12 years.
Steve Harper – a top professional at Newcastle
Then when Shay was transferred to Manchester City in January of 2009, Steve got his well deserved run in the first team for two and a half seasons.
But that run seems to be over now, and top Dutchman Tim Krul seems to be the new number one goalkeeper at Newcastle.
Certainly Tim’s displays this season have been first class, and of course the goalkeeper will only improve as he gets more games at the top level and gets older.
Harper has been at the club since 1993, when he was signed by Kevin Keegan, and he has now made 191 first team appearances for Newcastle in his career, and is a first class professional, who has always supported the Newcastle cause 100%.
This is what Steve told the local Newcastle press today:.
“The club made the decision to start with Tim at the start of the season and he has been outstanding,” “You can’t take that away from him.:
“Some games he has been quiet but against Fulham, the cup game against Forest, and Wolves he was outstanding.” “He has played a big part in the start to the season and I will continue to help him.”
“He is a big player for the future and if I can help get the best out of him then it will only benefit the club.” “The manager has been first class. I read somewhere we have had a fall-out. We haven’t had a fall-out.”
“I’ve had several discussions with him and every one of them has been amicable.” “We have come out very positive and I fully endorse what he is doing regarding the bench. I have no problem with the rota system.”
“Everybody knows I have a million T-shirts for sitting on the bench.” “It is good for Rob and it’s good for the club to get him involved and immersed.”
The attitude of the players on Tyneside reflects well on the man-management of Alan Pardew, and Alan is very good at talking to the players offline and letting them know exactly what’s happening.
When he does that, the players understand why he makes certain decisions, and it keeps the spirit in the club high, which it has been all season.
It’s a lesson that Mike Ashley could learn regarding his relationship with Newcastle fans, that communication is always a very good thing for relationships.
It looks like Steve Harper will only alternate the substitute duties to Tim Krul, with 25 year-old Rob Elliot, who could also be one for the future at Newcastle.
Shay Given and Steve Harper always had a great working relationship, and the same has been true of Steve Harper and Tim Krul, and when Tim gets older it’s almost a certainty that he will have good relationships with his fellow goalkeepers – that’s the way these things tend to work.
We’ve always known Steve Harper was a first class professional, very mature and a really good guy, and it would be great for him to coach at Newcastle somewhere down the line.