Being Steve Harper: Should he stay or should he go?

Posted on September 30th, 2011 | 37 Comments |

Steve Harper.
Should I stay or should I go?
On his return from an injury picked up in pre season, Newcastle United’s most senior goalkeeper, Steve Harper, was looking forward to a return in Newcastle’s League Cup tie with Nottingham Forest.

However Newcastle United manager, Alan Pardew, decided instead to select his old Charlton goalkeeper, Rob Elliot, instead. This came on top of previous reserve goalkeeper, the highly talented but less experienced and sometimes mistake prone Tim Krul seemingly claiming Harper’s old place in the Premiership. This was more or less confirmed when Newcastle United manager, Alan Pardew, said a few days after the Forest Cup tie:

“There is no situation with Steve. Harps and Rob are here as back-up to Tim at the moment because Tim has the jersey. It is as simple as that.”

Now, in a more recent development, Pardew has now revealed that he intends to hand Elliot the substitutes jersey for Newcastle united’s next Premiership game, and rotate the backup keepers to create some “competition” between Harper and the former Charlton Athletic “Player of the Year” runner up. Pardew said of the decision:

“We want to give all of them involvement. It creates competition and it gives us a different voice in the changing room.

“This week, Robbie gets his chance and he and Harps will come back in, it’s important for us to keep everybody active.

“I wouldn’t want a keeper deemed third choice and marooned at the training ground.”

That may be a noble sentiment, but it’s hard to see how alternating between Harper and a lesser keeper is in the best interests of the club in the long run. Should something happen to Tim Krul in the course of a game, the club should have the best substitute ‘keeper available, and from what I have seen of Elliot, while he may be a very respectable keeper for a League One side like Charlton, I certainly know who I would choose.

However, that is not really the main thrust of this piece; it is to attempt to look at this through Steve Harper’s eyes and ask, after years of service to the club, standing in the shadows of Shay Given mostly, is it finally time him to throw in the towel and move to a club that would have more respect for his undoubted abilities? After all, qualities such as loyalty and experience are very much out of fashion at the moment at Newcastle United. Jackie Milburn is dead, and Alan Shearer is on the “Match of the Day” sofa, which is much the same really. The days of “legends” spending their careers at the club is over. The emphasis has switched to a profitable turnover of younger livestock such as Krul, who can be placed in the Premiership shop window and moved on for a tidy profit should anyone take the bait.

Even before this latest slap in the face from Pardew, If I were Harper, with around three or four years of my career left, I certainly wouldn’t want to wait for the day when Krul was passed on to a bigger club, only to see myself replaced by yet another younger upstart, especially so when they are simply not as good.

Of course, Harper himself may feel differently, he may be resigned to being banished into the wilderness and uncomfortable with the upheaval of moving to another club after so many years on Tyneside, though he certainly could if he wanted to for one last hurrah.

I lnow what I would do.

NUFCBlog Author: workyticket workyticket has written 1093 articles on this blog.

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37 Responses

  1. he has sat still his whole career and though his loyalty and performances cannot be questioned his ambiton can be, he will sit and stay

  2. He must stay at the club as new GK coach. He stayed loyal to Newcastle all these years and of course he’s a good keeper. Given could be in his place, but he sell his soul for one FA Cup… it’s sad.

  3. I thought Elliot was bought for a nominal fee to cover 3rd choice Foster while he was out on a season long loan to celtic.
    So what’s happening?
    Elliot is not a top class keeper and is nowhere near as good or experienced as Harps.
    It is clear than one day Krul will take over as no.1 from Harps – are we to assume that this has now happened and Harps is on the way out?
    And Foster – is he not coming back? He is a better keeper than Elliot, he should take his place as no.2 to Krul.
    All a bit of a puzzle – but why bother to explain to the fans?


  4. I wouldn’t necessarily say that Forster is better than Elliott. Both have had stinkers for us, but it’s obvious that, if Krul is now first choice, Harper has to be the back up. I don’t know how long Harps has got left; I read somewhere that his knees and his shoulders have been giving him problems. Maybe this is his last year as a player? Maybe be retires soon and we then have Krul, Elliott and Forster as first team ‘keepers. Does anybody know how good Soderberg is? Have to admit, I was a bit baffled by the signing of Elliott, but then I’ve been pleasantly surprised by a lot of the things that have baffled me about the club lately.

  5. Davies says – I’ve been pleasantly surprised by a lot of the things that have baffled me about the club lately

    agreed mate – perhaps they know their jobs better than we do – its about time we were run by good coaches.
    I am gradualy begining to think that my criticisms are a habit caused by years of incompetance at NUFC, but I’m afraid to trust them just yet – but I live in hope.
    I long for the day when its proved beyond doubt that they are brilliant & right and I am crap & wrong – I will then be a happy NUFC supporter again.


  6. supermac says:
    September 30, 2011 at 10:32 am

    “I thought Elliot was bought for a nominal fee to cover 3rd choice Foster while he was out on a season long loan to celtic.
    So what’s happening?”

    Pardew’s brought in his goalkeeping team in from Charlton supermac. He brought in his old china plate, Andy Woodman, to replace Paul Barron as goalkeeping coach. Now he’s replacing Harper and Forster with Elliot.

  7. Munich Mag says:
    September 30, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    “sometimes mistake prone Tim Krul”….?…interesting observation….

    Impatience of youth Munich. He gets caught of his line just a little too often and has been quite lucky so far this season. Though as I wrote, he is a very talented keeper.

  8. Worky, imo Krul is the best young goalkeeper in the PL, and he is one of our own, brought up through the academy, which is a tremendous achievement.

    I don’t see the reason for you putting put a negative angle on Krul’s ability, unless of course you prefer Harper over Krul ? I mean Harper has also made some howlers in his time.

  9. Munich, Harper is “one of our own” too. So why are you trying to “put a negative angle” (to use your words) on his abilities?

    I guess you just don’t understand irony Munich :-)

  10. Worky, I am not trying to put a negative angle on Harper’s abilities. I purely mentioned this in defence of Tim Krul, hence my comment to your article. My initial post was regarding your shot at our current number 1, excellent young Dutch international, academy goalkeeper Tim Krul, nothing more nothing less.

    Irony, of course I understand irony. I just cannot find it in this piece:-)…

  11. But Krul reserved special mention for Woodman, with the ex-Charlton and West Ham keeper coach helping bring out the Dutchman’s fine form.

    He said: “Andy has played a big part in it too.

    “When he came in last December to work with the new manager we all said we would work hard on a few things and the defensive part of our team is more than solid. He’s a big part in all of that.”

  12. Munich Mag says:
    September 30, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    “But Krul reserved special mention for Woodman, with the ex-Charlton and West Ham keeper coach helping bring out the Dutchman’s fine form.”

    Well I certainly hope that Pardew and Woodman can bring the same kind of success to Newcastle as they brought to West Ham and Charlton Munich.

  13. Anyone who thinks Elliot is a 1st choice PL goalkeeper is invited to make a offer for my car = 10 volvo 230,000 miles bargain at £5,000

    Wolves tomorrow
    miracle of miracles its 3pm on a saturday!
    12th with 3 defeats on the trot = spurs, QPR, liverpool
    I fancy a result, 0-0 or 1-1
    but you never get many laughs out of McCarthy or wolves


  14. Munich Mag says:
    September 30, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    “worky mate, don’t you ever get tired of being so negative?”

    Munich, after Hitler stormed through France in a matter of weeks in the early stages of the Second World War, many Germans would have told me that I was just being negative if I said that Hitler was an incompetent crackpot, and it was inevitable that he would lose the war eventually. I probably would have been marched off to a camp too, but I would have been proved right eventually.

  15. Krul does still make the odd ‘schoolboy error’ like.
    & Harper still has a few good years left in the locker, no sweat.
    Harper’s been injured & has just got back to full fitness.
    As for Elliot, he’s had a couple of outings FFS, one a win in the cup v forest & the other a win v swans, admittedly, he’s let 6 in during those games.
    But we won them both & he’s just got here, give him a little bit of a chance.
    It’s a bit previous to right him off quite this soon, even for us.

  16. You should go round the back of SJP, crawl through an old, little-known, disused tunnel, look through a key-hole & you find that you’re looking through Steve Harper’s eyes.

    Check it out!

  17. CLiNT FLiCK says:
    September 30, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    “admittedly, he’s let 6 in during those games.”

    :lol: That’s a cracker Clint!

    On the “Moneyball” thing, have you ever done any research to find out how much the Oakland Athletics baseball team have benefitted from this strategy, also bearing in mind that they play a completely different game to football?

    Finally, don’t you think we should perhaps give Steve Harper a chance rather than chuck him for a League One keeper after all the good work he’s put in for the club in the past? Have you seen much of Elliot’s work with Charlton? Do you watch the The Football League Show, Late Kick Off etc?

    Scientia potentia est. ;-)

  18. In an ideal world id have,krul then harper,bringing harper back in now n then to keep timmy on his toes,then forster,dont know much bout soderberg but if he was as good as krul at his age he wouldve been tried by now,elliot shouldnt be here pointless really but if soderbergs worth a try then have him 3rd choice,id rather have forster to fight it out,admittedly its only the jock league but he did get big match experience their,shame it seems hes not up for a fight to try and be 1st/2ndchoice in a competitive league

  19. Munich Mag says:
    October 1, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    ““sometimes mistake prone Tim Krul”……doh”

    It’s still true Munich, despite his excellent performance today, and a good season overall so far. You’re not really interested in that though really.

    Try doing something interesting with your life. ;-)

  20. worky don’t be pompous now ;-)

    I’m no “troll”. “or people may think….blah blah..” Which people may think that, what do you know about my life ?;-);-)

  21. Munich, when you’re spending so much of your time trying to wind up a complete stranger on a ‘blog, you have to admit that it’s kind of indicative that you don’t have much gannin’ on in your life. ;-)

  22. worky…I’m not spending so much of my time mate trying to wind up a complete stranger….;-)….

    I’ve got too much going on in my life mate. ;-)

  23. “This came on top of previous reserve goalkeeper, the highly talented but less experienced and sometimes mistake prone Tim Krul seemingly claiming Harper’s old place in the Premiership. ” doh…

    Tim Krul….academy lad, and possibly, if he sticks around, the next toon legend….

    David Gea…£18.3million….

    Who would you rather have ? Tim Krul any time…easy…
    The world according to all things Toon is looking up.

    Where have all the Pardew bashers gone ?…a deathly silence prevails… ;-)