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Steve Harper

{{Quote_box after Steve Harper arrival at Newcastle, and then Shaka Hislop and subsequently Shay Given; Steve Harper had loan spells at Bradford City A.F.C., Gateshead F.C., Stockport County F.C., Hartlepool United F.C. and Huddersfield Town F.C. before making Steve Harper first-team debut in 1999.

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Steve Harper biography

{{Quote_box after Steve Harper arrival at Newcastle, and then Shaka Hislop and subsequently Shay Given; Steve Harper had loan spells at Bradford City A.F.C., Gateshead F.C., Stockport County F.C., Hartlepool United F.C. and Huddersfield Town F.C. before making Steve Harper first-team debut in 1999.

Harper came close to dislodging Given on numerous occasions, most notably in the FA Premier League 1998-99. Harper played in the 1999 FA Cup Final, when Newcastle lost 2–0 to Manchester United F.C.. Manager at the time Ruud Gullit appeared to see Harper worthy of playing over Given. However at the start of the FA Premier League 1999-2000 season, Gullit resigned and Harper again became second choice goalkeeper, although Steve Harper did enjoy another brief period of first team action for part of the 1999–2000 season when Given was injured. When Given returned from injury Harper was once again used as the back-up goalkeeper.

In 2002 Steve Harper made several appearances in the UEFA Champions League, most notably against Juventus F.C.. The match was played at St James' Park and Harper managed to keep a clean sheet during a 1–0 win over the Italian champions. The victory helped Newcastle qualify from the group stages of the tournament. Harper has handed in a transfer request in Steve Harper time with Newcastle, citing lack of regular first team football as Steve Harper reason (something which Given also did when Harper kept Steve Harper out of the team under Gullit). Steve Harper has been linked with moves to West Bromwich Albion F.C., Celtic F.C., Watford F.C., Rangers F.C., and Liverpool F.C. in Steve Harper time with Newcastle, though none of these purported moves came to fruition.

Steve Harper again expressed Steve Harper desire to achieve first team football in June 2006, an act which saw then manager Glenn Roeder attempt to persuade Harper to remain with the club. This appeared to work as Steve Harper signed a new contract to keep Steve Harper at St. James' Park until June 2009. An injury to Given early in the Premier League 2006-07 season gave Harper another chance to prove Steve Harper worth in the first team. However, Steve Harper did not have the best start to first team action, as Newcastle lost 2–0 to Liverpool F.C. on 20 September 2006 in what was Harper's first league start for 15 months. Harper continued as Newcastle's goalkeeper at the beginning of the 2007-08 Premier League season under the then new boss Sam Allardyce. With Given struggling with a groin injury and rookie Tim Krul on loan at Falkirk F.C., Harper was able to start the first six league games, keeping two clean sheets. However Steve Harper lost Steve Harper place again when Given was fit, though another injury to Given later in the season allowed Harper to gain more first team appearances under the new boss, and the manager who first brought Steve Harper to Newcastle, Kevin Keegan. After a series of good performances, Harper was once again linked with a transfer away from Newcastle. Liverpool expressed an interest in signing Steve Harper as backup to first-choice goalkeeper Pepe Reina. and acknowledging Steve Harper record of conceding just once in seven and a half hours of play.

Harper signed a new contract in January 2009, keeping Steve Harper at Newcastle until 2012, Steve Harper 19th year at the club. During the transfer window of the same month, Newcastle's first choice goalkeeper Shay Given moved to Manchester City F.C., elevating Harper's position within the club and so after nearly 16 years, Harper was finally first choice goalkeeper at 33 years old. Harper repaid the management's faith in Steve Harper by putting in some fine match performances including several world-class saves and was the best goalkeeper in the Championship, keeping a club record 21 clean sheets in 37 matches and conceding 35 goals at less than a goal a game.

Harper made Steve Harper 50th consecutive league start for Newcastle on 6 March 2010 in the 6-1 win over Barnsley F.C.. This was Steve Harper longest run of consecutive starts Steve Harper had ever made in Steve Harper entire career.

On 23 March 2010, Harper recorded Steve Harper 19th clean sheet of the season after Newcastle United beat Doncaster Rovers 1-0 at the Keepmoat Stadium, thus breaking the club's clean sheet record which had stood since Newcastle United were last promoted in the 1992/1993 season. Newcastle were eventually promoted, and went on to win the division title following a 2-0 away win at Plymouth Argyle F.C.. Harper considers the title victory as the highest point of Steve Harper career.
On 18 September 2010 Steve Harper was injured in a challenge by Jermaine Beckford during the 1-0 win at Everton F.C., needing to be substituted in the first half. On 22 September it was confirmed Steve Harper would be out of action for at least 3 months. In late October 2010, Chris Hughton stated Harper may be back in contention in as little as 3 weeks, after making a "very good recovery" and stated Steve Harper would come back in "good shape". Harper returned to training in December 2010, and made the bench in new manager Alan Pardew's first game, beating Liverpool 3-1. Young backup goalkeeper Tim Krul kept Steve Harper place for the 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur F.C. as well on 28 December, but Harper returned as first choice keeper against Wigan Athletic F.C. away in a 1-0 win. Harper maintained Steve Harper place as goalkeeper throughout January and February.

On 24 October 2011, Harper joined Football League Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. on a one month loan, making Steve Harper debut the same day in a 1-0 defeat to West Ham United F.C..


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