Harper bows out on a high

Steve Harper has admitted it would be just like Newcastle to go and win a trophy without him next year.

Last Updated: 09/06/13 at 13:33 Post Comment

Steve Harper: 20-year Magpies career comes to an end

Steve Harper: 20-year Magpies career comes to an end

Steve Harper has admitted it would be just like Newcastle to go and win a trophy without him next year after his 20-year roller-coaster ride on Tyneside.

The 38-year-old goalkeeper saw the curtain come down on his Magpies career as he made his 199th appearance for the club in Sunday's 1-0 Barclays Premier League defeat by Arsenal.

Harper's relative lack of action over two decades is due in part to the brilliance of Shay Given and Tim Krul, but their loyal deputy can count Champions League football and an FA Cup final start amongst his achievements.

He will look on from afar next season as he enters a new phase of his career, and the club which has become a huge part of his life will never be far from his thoughts.

Harper said: "Wouldn't it be typical if they go and win something after my 20 years here?

"But I'll be there cheering them on - provided I'm not playing against them, obviously.

"It would be fantastic. All this club needs now is a trophy and it would be an amazing day - and one where I would be there in amongst it celebrating."

The departing Harper spoke to the team-mates he is leaving behind in the dressing after the game on what proved an emotional day for him, and his message was clear.

He said: "The manager presented me with a big montage of the 20 years and they all took the mickey a little bit about some of the pictures.

"Twenty years at this club does that to you, that's all I could say.

"I just said to the lads, 'You have seen today what a great football club this is. All people want to see is people pulling on that shirt and giving their all day in, day out for this club, which is what I have done and that's the response you get'.

"Hopefully the lads will respond to that next season."

There were signs of a response yesterday as the Gunners, who needed to win to ensure a top-four finish and the chance to secure a 16th successive season of Champions League football, had things far from their own way.

They ultimately prevailed after Laurent Koscielny stabbed a 52nd-minute shot past the helpless Harper seven minutes after the break.

The keeper said: "I was disappointed we lost the game, but it was a much better performance. We owed the fans a response.

"We were playing against a very good team, a very hungry team and we contained them pretty well.

"We were compact and organised, which is something I tried to help by being multi-lingual on a football pitch, and the lads responded well.

"Sadly, we didn't start the second half very well and Arsenal got their goal and hung on to it because we had them under pressure a little late on."

But if the result was not what Harper would have wanted on his big day, everything else was, and he was close to tears when the clock ticked into the 37th-minute - his shirt number - and St James' rose to acclaim a stalwart.

He said: "Somebody said it might happen, but you are concentrating on the game that much, you forget about it. And then that happens and it was quite incredible.

"I started to get a little bit wobbly then and I had a one v one with [Lukas] Podolski and he smashed the ball between my legs, and that sobered me right up and got me out of that little pickle I was in.

"But it was incredible. It's something I will never, ever forget and I will certainly cherish that moment."


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

W

e have the personnel. The trick is keeping them fit. Carrick and Blind have missed large chunks of the season, while the defence has been one muddled mess of intermittent stooges, all coming and going at various intervals thus far. We may be just short of title winning quality, but we're half way through. An injury crisis to either of the top two could change things. Optimistic, yes, but not unrealistic.

HarryBoulton
One Point And One Conclusion For United

P

arish is the man to blame for this shambles. Pulis must be chuckling into his left over turkey sandwich. I pray this doesn't mean the Neil Warnock media machine will kick in now and he'll be back on the telly box.

magicfuller
Warnock sacked by Palace

W

e almost found a new way to lose, just when I thought it was getting boring Giroud does that. Although Arsenal are deservedly called 'soft' the entire midfield is out injured. Still must admit MU are managing to win despite a similar raft of absentees. Think the Gunners have good players but poorly coached.

gettalong
Wenger: Giroud deserved red

Footer 365

Premier League: Newcastle overcome Everton 3-2 thanks to Papiss Cisse, Ayoze Perez and Jack Colback

Newcastle overcame Everton 3-2 at St James' Park thanks to goals from Papiss Cisse, Ayoze Perez and Jack Colback.

Jose Mourinho accuses referees and opposing managers of having 'campaign' against Chelsea

Jose Mourinho accused referees and opposing managers of having a "campaign" against Chelsea.

Premier League: Burnley fightback stuns Manchester City as Chelsea are also held

Manchester City and Chelsea stumble as Arsenal move into fifth place with a thrilling derby win over West Ham.

Mail Box

Van Gaal's Half-Term Report Card...

One Man United fan isn't happy with the rate the team is progressing under Louis van Gaal, while the mailbox also wishes Liverpool fans a Merry Mid-Table Christmas...

Hang On, Rafa's Success Is No Fluke...

The afternoon mailbox kicks the morning mailbox's arse after claims that Rafa Benitez has fluked his success. Plus, big talk about Liverpool's progress and lots more...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property