Harper talks about giving it all

What it meant to Steve...

What it meant to Steve…

In today’s footballing world, that is full of badge kissing one week and transfer requests the next, it can be easy to become cynical about the loyalty of players. If ever I am feeling particularly down in the dumps about this particular subject, I look towards one man – Steve Harper. Here is a man who for the best part of his 20 year career at St James’ Park, he played second fiddle to the likes of Shay Given, and more recently, Tim Krul. Here is a man who was undoubtedly Premier League quality, and would have easily started for a whole host of mid-table teams when he was in his prime, indeed he was our own No 1 keeper when we first won promotion back to the Premier League.

So if there is one player who knows a thing or two about what it means to wear the Newcastle United shirt, and what the fans expect from you when you don the black and white stripes, it is this man. He had this to say to Luke Edwards from the Daily Telegraph,

“I’ve said to an infinite amount of players when they signed, just make sure you give everything you’ve got,” he added. “It doesn’t matter which country you’re from, what colour your skin is, they want you to be committed to the shirt. That’s the minimum they ask for, but you also have to have a certain character to succeed.

“I think a few players got a shock last season. It’s not only British players who get this club. It’s not a case of ‘you’re foreign and don’t understand’. Look at [Fabricio} Coloccini, Jonas [Gutierrez], they get it the same way Kevin Nolan did.

“Last year was a struggle and whenever you lose home games 3-0 to Sunderland and 6-0 to Liverpool, it’s going to open a few wounds and it did. It made a few people realise what’s needed to play here. It made a few players realise the size and the scale of the football club, as well as the situation we were in.

“I think it was a huge wake up call for some people. Like others before them, it’s now up to the players who have come in over the last couple of years to show they can handle the weight of the shirt.

“When you’re here, you have to give 100% to Newcastle United, not worry about whether you are going to get a move elsewhere.”

No doubt there will be Newcastle United fans the world over who will read comments from Steve like “certain character to succeed…” and the “weight of the shirt” and fully understand what Steve Harper is talking about, and these statements will resonate with them to the core. It is all part of the DNA of being a Newcastle United fan and, as was the case with Harper, being a Newcastle United player.

Perhaps it is about time that some of our players really listened to these words, stand up and realise what a historic footballing institution they represent, and how much respect they ought to treat it with.

I won’t even try to apply the same principle to Alan Pardew, Joe Kinnear and Mike Ashley. That ship has sailed, don’t you think?

What do you think of Harper’s strong words to the players? Is he right? Do you need to be of a certain mindset to succeed at this club?

Comments welcome and expected. I get sad and lonely if you don’t comment…

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8 comments

  1. Likewise Ibiza, I hope he gets the send off his loyalty deserves, however what I found more interesting from Harper’s interview was were he was advising Ashley on how to run the club, he was basically saying that Ashley is killing the club and he must change his methods sooner rather than later, otherwise it could be too late for him.

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    1. Harper is still a professional footballer and is more than likely pulling his punches a little bit here. I would imagine that he, as a NUFC fan with inside knowledge, is fuming with how Mike Ashley has been running the club, but he can’t really come out and slate him.

      I would say that some autobiographies will be an interesting read in a few years time…

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      1. I would imagine that once his testimonial is over then he will not have to be as guarded about his comments and he might open up about what is really going on behind the scenes.

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        1. Hopefully that is the case. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of staff ie players, coaches etc had to sign non-disclosure forms as part of their contracts, preventing them from speaking out against the owner and the club.

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      2. Not sure if an autobiograhy is needed to be honest, this is what Harper said

        “Whenever the club has done well over, the fans have been on board. They have been fully behind their team, their club.” “I think their loyalty has been tested far too often in recent years.”

        “It’s one of the great clubs, but it should be competing amongst the very best in Europe. It’s getting harder and harder to break on to the top table and opportunities have been missed.”

        “We finished fifth a couple of years ago, but to sustain that you need investment in the team.” “If I had a message to Mike Ashley it would be to engage with the fans, to repair that relationship. It’s not totally broken, but it doesn’t just need a plaster on it, it needs to be fixed.”

        you don’t need to read between the lines to realise that what he is saying is that Ashley has taken the support for granted but if he is not careful his poor attitude and his poor running of the club might come back to haunt him

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        1. Just think he may be pulling his punches, and an autobiography might give a deeper indication of the level and extent of mismanagement within the club over Mike Ashley’s time in charge.

          We all know as fans that Ashley has taken us for granted, it’s interesting to hear a former player and club legend intimate that as well. I’m just interested to see if former players will go a step further in their criticism when they retire and let us know what really went on with certain things – transfers etc

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