Steve Harper will be playing in Europe tomorrow night in Madeira, when we play Maritimo in the group stages of the Europa League, and it’s been six seasons since we last played in a European group game.
Steve Harper – got the hump last summer
And after Demba Ba’s comments about being benched on Monday night, and it looks like Gabby Obertan is also not a happy camper at the moment, Steve Harper has admitted for the first time that he did not take losing his place to Tim Krul as professionally as he could have last summer.
Maybe that explains why Alan Pardew played Rob Elliott essentially as the number two last season, when it was obvious that Steve was next in line, at least in terms of ability to the extremely talented Tim Krul.
Steve’s game on Monday night was his first in the Premier League since April of last year, and Steve’s in the last year of his contract at Newcastle, when he will have been at the club for 20 years, after joining from Seaham Red Star in the summer of 1993, when Kevin Keegan was the manager.
Steve was very steady as usual on Monday night, and he had this to say in the local Newcastle press today:
“If you’re left out you’re entitled to be a little bit disappointed but when you get your opportunity, take it.” “We’ve got a game on Thursday where hopefully players will come into it looking to show the manager – like Demba did at Goodison – that they’re still a part of it as well and desperate to get into the first team.”
“I probably didn’t think a night like this would come again.” “It looked a long way away.” “It was probably a little bit my fault as well. When Tim Krul started last season admittedly I got the hump a bit and let my standards slip.”
“At half-time the manager was not a happy man.” “He said in the dressing room it was the worst we’d played under him.” “He made a very bold substitution, which is credit to him because it certainly worked. ”
“When you’re 1-0 down away from home you need to get the next goal and that’s what we did.” “Then he made another change and went three up front away from home, which shows he really has that commitment to win a game away from home, which I’m sure the fans love.”
We’d love to be a fly on the wall at half time, when Alan Pardew makes his comments to the players, and Jonas has already said Alan was not a happy man at half time – who was?
And we cannot let a couple of unhappy players upset the team spirit at the club, and if Gabby Obertan is unhappy at not being in the side, then he should put all his energy into training and becoming better than he is at Newcastle.
But with the experienced Jonas Gutierrez playing an important role for Newcastle these days, and he’s now vice-captain to his Argentine team-mate Coloccini, and Ben Arfa our best player so far this season, it’s going to be hard for Gabby to start in the Premier League at the moment.
But the Frenchman will get his chance tomorrow night in Madeira, to show what he can do – and let’s hope he puts in a great performance for the team.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org