Harper hints at exit

Last updated : 02 March 2004 By Martyn Elliott

Although it is great to have a goalkeeper as good as Shay Given it is difficult not to have some sympathy for Harper’s plight, as even if he had been at Manchester United, Arsenal or Chelsea he would have played more games than he has at St James’ Park.

At the age of 28, and in an era where there are very few good English goalkeepers, Harper needs and deserves to be playing regular top-flight football.

If he does move on in the summer he is sure to take the best wishes of Newcastle fans with him after providing ten years of excellent service to the club.

Speaking about his current situation, Harper told The Journal: "The end of the season is getting closer and there's still no sign of a change in my circumstances.

"I'm not the type of player who's happy to sit on the bench and pick up his wages. Nobody enjoys life as a substitute - least of all me.

"I do speak to the manager about my situation and, rest assured, I will be speaking to him again before the end of the season.

"People keep telling me to sit tight and to wait for my chance but how long can one person wait? How long can you convince yourself that that first-team opportunity is just around the corner?

"The years seem to be ticking by and I am going nowhere. It seems like a very long time ago that Shay Given and I were neck and neck in the race to be Newcastle's number one."