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Steve Harper explains himself

5 years ago

Friday saw our friends down the road cause a very small stir, as Sam Allardyce signed up Steve Harper until the end of the season.

This led to some Newcastle fans on social media denouncing what appeared to be an all but invisible enemy, namely United supporters giving Steve Harper a hard time for joining the mackems.

Harper took down his Twitter account but that was probably as much a time-saving exercise as anything, not wanting to waste time dealing with a small number of people masquerading as Newcastle fans giving him stick, nor those looking to valiantly defend his honour.

Reality is that you would rather anybody who you liked and respected from their Newcastle days didn’t then go and join Sunderland.

However, nobody who is normal is really bothered, especially when Steve Harper is nearly 41 and going there as third choice cover for the next few months.

Interesting though what he had to say about his decision to join the mackems, in terms of it reflecting his career overall.

Steve Harper was a very good servant for Newcastle but he even admitted himself when his 20 year stretch ended, that he should have shown more ambition and left Tyneside to see how far he could get in the game, rather than the very nice lifestyle he had for two decades at Newcastle as second choice to a number of keepers.

Speaking after accepting Sunderland’s offer, Steve Harper admitted that he had turned down chances to join both Premier League and Championship clubs since leaving Hull last summer, plus more exotic offers from India. The former Newcastle keeper admitting ‘I think my career proves I’m a bot of a home bird’.

Let’s hope after his stint at the dark place, Steve Harper spreads his wings and uses his talents more productively elsewhere.

Steve Harper talking to the Sunderland official website:

“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, how it all happened – I saw the manager in the summer when we were guests at a wedding, not together I might add, and we got chatting because we were obviously both out of the game at the time.

“I worked with him before at Newcastle and I got a phone call yesterday (Thursday) asking how I was, what my fitness was like and if I fancied coming in for a chat, so I came in this morning and however many hours later we’ve had a good chat, done a few tests and I’ve signed on the dotted line.

“I played for Seaham Redstar when I was 15 and it’s not a million miles way, Easington where I was born is about a ten-minute drive, but it’s taken a long time to get here, bypassing it on the way.

“I turned down a lot of offers in the summer; I had a chance to join a Premier League club and Championship club in August and three offers to go to India, but I think my career proves I’m a bit of a home bird.

“I think if I hadn’t played the last seven games of last season I probably would have finished, but I played the last seven keeping three clean sheets and just had that gnawing feeling that I had a bit of unfinished business, so I kept myself ticking over.

“I was in shock when Sam Allardyce rang but over the course of today, seeing the training field, and that little gnawing feeling that there was something left in me, I thought why not.”


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