News emerged on Tuesday (see below) that Steve Harper was leaving Newcastle United.
Since first signing up a young keeper in 1993, the vast majority of these past 26 years have seen him working at NUFC.
No more though, the goalkeeper turned goalkeeping coach confirming that he has indeed decided to step away from St James Park.
In a personal statement now released on social media by Steve Harper, he has explained why he has ended his time working as lad Under 23 goalkeeping coach for Newcastle United.
As well as looking at other opportunities now he has freed up time, Harper says one of his children played a major role in his decision.
Steve Harper revealing that his youngest son is going into the Newcastle United Academy and he doesn’t want there to be any conflicts involved there.
Instead wanting simply to be the dad, rather than coming at it as somebody who is working within the set-up.
Steve Harper releases persona statement via Twitter:
“Thank you very much to everyone at Newcastle United Academy for their help and support with my role as lead U17-23 GK coach this season.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with Nathan (Harker) and Otto (Huuhtanen) in the excellent U23 campaign as well as witnessing the progress and development of both of the U18 GKs and many of the talented young GKs in the Academy.
“However, given the enormous time commitment working across both age groups, this is a role I will not be able to continue with.
“Also, my youngest son is going into NUFC Academy as an U9 GK and I don’t wish to be seen as a help and/or hindrance to his development by being in the same department as him and want to support him as a parent by giving him a clear run at hopefully representing this great club one day.
“I will continue my role as a trustee of our fantastic NUFC Foundation as well as pursuing other opportunities in the game and look forward to continuing a great start to our 2020 Euro campaign next month with Northern Ireland.
“Well done to Rafa, the lads and all of the staff this season too.
The Mag – Tuesday 14 May 2019:
Tuesday afternoon has brought news that Steve Harper is leaving St James Park.
The former NUFC keeper has been filling the role of Lead Academy Goalkeeping Coach at Newcastle United.
However, the Chronicle have now reported that Steve Harper is going to ‘pursue other opportunities’ away from St James Park.
Two months ago it was announced (see below) that the ex-keeper was now working with the Northern Ireland FA.
However, at the time Steve Harper was keen to point out that this was only part-time and as well as his work with Newcastle United.
Best of luck with whatever job he takes on next.
The Mag – 12 March 2019;
Steve Harper has confirmed that he has taken a job with the Northern Ireland FA.
However, he says he remains committed to his role as Lead Academy Goalkeeping Coach at Newcastle United.
Taking on the Northern Ireland goalkeeping coaching role on a part-time basis, Steve Harper will be working under former Newcastle striker Michael O’Neill.
The NI team manager played for Newcastle ahead of Harper’s 20 years at the club.
Steve Harper will travel to Woking with Ben Dawson’s under 23s for Friday night’s NUFC Premier League Cup clash against Reading before meeting up with the Northern Ireland squad.
On familiar face will be Aaron Hughes.
The defender played alongside Harper for Newcastle and despite turning 40 later this year, is still a regular in the Northern Ireland squad, currently with Hearts at club level.
Steve Harper speaking to official Newcastle site:
“The national team role is part time and Michael O’Neill was very keen to get people who are in it day in, day out so at the international camps we are sharp and fresh and ready for what is the ultimate level of football.
“I’m delighted. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, to be honest. Since finishing my Masters (in Sport Directorship), there have been a lot of offers coming in to me but this one was something I found particularly attractive.
“I met Michael O’Neill at a Newcastle game about six weeks ago and we were just talking football – nothing was mentioned about any roles, it was just a general chit-chat about Newcastle United. Michael obviously played there back in the day and it was the first time I’d met him.
“Then I got a call out of the blue just to say that the position was available and would I be interested in doing it? The opportunity to work at international level was something I wasn’t fortunate enough to do as a player but I have a lot of European experience from my time at Newcastle and, briefly, at Hull, and it’s an opportunity you can’t afford to turn down.
“I have to thank Newcastle for their support in the matter; Lee Charnley, Joe Joyce, Ben Dawson and Simon Smith were all very supportive. “During international breaks, we have goalkeepers away as well, which helps manage the situation in my absence, and we have some very good goalkeeping staff, with a bigger pool of staff now.
“It’s great and I can’t wait to get started but we’ve got an important under-23s game in the Premier League Cup on Friday that I’m fully focused on. Then, as of Sunday, when I go away, I’m looking forward to meeting the rest of the staff and the players ahead of two big games.
“Bailey Peacock-Farrell has had a lot football at Leeds, certainly in the early part of the season, and I’m going to watch young Conor Hazard – who is on loan at Partick Thistle from Celtic – at Hearts tonight.
“Michael McGovern, who has done an excellent job and had a fantastic Euros (in 2016) is down at Norwich with Tim Krul, and Trevor Carson, who has played the last few internationals, is out at the minute (through illness). I’ll be speaking to the staff at the younger age groups with an eye on what’s coming through, as well.
“I completed my UEFA A Licence and have just completed my UEFA Goalkeeping A Licence with the Irish FA over in Belfast, and I’ve been very, very impressed by the staff and the support from the likes of Alan Walker, Nigel Best, Tommy Johnson, who’s a Geordie lad, and more recently Packie Bonner on the UEFA goalkeeping course.
“I’m big on team clean sheets.
“John Burridge – my first very goalkeeping coach – used to tell me they’re a ‘goalkeeper’s hat-trick’ but we’re very big on goalkeepers now being seen as part of the team and getting more involved in team practices, so clean sheets are very much a result of a team performance.
“As much as the last week has been disappointing, we’ve still got the Premier League Cup, we’ve still got the play-offs to go for, and in football you have a lot of ups and downs so it’s important not to get too focused on a disappointing week and remember a lot of the excellent stuff that’s gone beforehand.
“The focus now is Friday. We have good memories – we beat Reading down there a few weeks ago and hopefully we can go and do the same again before the focus switches back to the league.”
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