Harper Still Battling The Shay Given Legacy!

Last updated : 09 March 2009 By Footy Mad - Editor

Harper has been loyal to the Toon, and God bless him for that, but many fans were furious when Mike Ashley let Given move to Man City.

Some could argue Given had his mind made up, but the fact he said: "Newcastle didn't do enoug to keep me", has us wondering what REALLY happened.

One thing is certain, we will miss the Irishman in this horrendous fight against relegation.

And it's no surprise to hear TV commentators say "you cannot blame Harper - even Shay Given wouldn't have stopped that goal" most times the ball hits the back of the net.

Harper is currently Newcastle's undisputed first choice between the posts, but he is well aware of the presence of two ambitious and highly-talented young goalkeepers desperate to oust him - Fraser Forster and Tim Krul.

Forster, who has gained first-team experience on loan at Stockport County this season, and Krul - who has been on loan at Carlisle United and Falkirk - are alternating as Harper's back-up on a matchday.

Both just 20.

Harper: "I'm not taking anything for granted because there is Tim Krul and Fraser Forster behind me.

"I think there is a week in age between them and even less in terms of ability, which is why they are alternating on the bench each week.

"They are working really hard. They are both young and very, very hungry. They both want my place. They've both played first-team football on loan and they want to get into the Newcastle team.

"You know, I look at them and I see Shay and myself all over again. It's a rivalry which could go on for years. I'm enjoying it and I've got to keep them at bay for as long as possible, hopefully at least for the next three years.

"I'll help them as much as I can, but it's my job to keep them out and keep them frustrated. I've waited a long time for this and I'm not going to give it up easily."