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Next two games the most important of my career

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BIRTHDAY boy Steve Harper believes Newcastle United’s next two games are the biggest in his St James’s Park career.

 

It’s a claim that is put into perspective by the fact that Harper has been at the club for nearly 15 years and has played in an FA Cup final and against Juventus in the Champions League.

 

The keeper, who is 33 today, will again be in the United goal in Monday’s vital encounter with Birmingham City at St Andrews.

 

And unless Shay Given makes an unexpected recovery from his groin trouble, Harper will again deputise when Fulham come to St James’s Park a week tomorrow.

 

After burying his Liverpool demons with a fine individual performance at Anfield last Saturday, Harper will be hoping to banish his Birmingham blues on Monday night.

 

For the only red card of Harper’s career came at St Andrews when Yorkshire referee Uriah Rennie sent him off on the stroke of half-time for bringing down Andy Johnson as United crashed to a 2-1 defeat in the League Cup in October 1999.

 

And this after Rennie had become the first referee to red card Alan Shearer at St James’s Park a couple of month earlier.

 

Harper actually turned out at St Andrews the following season but on this occasion it was Andy Johnson’s namesake Michael who put Birmingham through in the last minute.

 

Referee Steve Bennett had earlier failed to send off his namesake Ian Bennett for a blatant professional foul on Alan Shearer.

 

But Harper knows that he cannot dwell on any bad luck he and United may have suffered in the past at Birmingham’s dilapidated ground on Monday.

 

The United keeper told me today: “The next two games at Birmingham and at home to Fulham are the biggest the club has had in a long, long time.

 

“We’ve got to get a minimum of four points from them. We can’t afford to lose either, because they’re against two sides who are below us.

 

“We’ve got to go to Birmingham looking to win the game, and then we’ve got to beat Fulham at home.”

 

United have kept a paltry four clean sheets in their 29 games in the Premier League this season, split evenly between Harper and Given.

 

But they have only achieved one on their travels – and it came in their last league victory, against Fulham at Craven Cottage on December 15.

 

And what United would give for a clean sheet on Monday night, in a season in which they have already conceded nine goals more than in the whole of their last League campaign.

 

Hasn't had many to choose from tbf. :puke:

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just a query, he's been with the club 15 years, never complained when he was out of the first team (to my knowledge) why didn't he get a testimonial? Or has he and it just passed me by?

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just a query, he's been with the club 15 years, never complained when he was out of the first team (to my knowledge) why didn't he get a testimonial? Or has he and it just passed me by?

 

Probably just get it when he retires.

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Hes not wrong like. Most important games since keegans saved us from relegation first time round 15 years ago.

... does this mean we can expect history to repeat? :puke:

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15 years service and the only worthwhile comments are that he played in an FA Cup Final and faced Juventus in the Champions League....

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just a query, he's been with the club 15 years, never complained when he was out of the first team (to my knowledge) why didn't he get a testimonial? Or has he and it just passed me by?

 

He hasn't payed a season's worth of games, never mind the required 10.

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just a query, he's been with the club 15 years, never complained when he was out of the first team (to my knowledge) why didn't he get a testimonial? Or has he and it just passed me by?

 

He hasn't payed a season's worth of games, never mind the required 10.

So do we have over 100 game seasons now in England?

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just a query, he's been with the club 15 years, never complained when he was out of the first team (to my knowledge) why didn't he get a testimonial? Or has he and it just passed me by?

 

He hasn't payed a season's worth of games, never mind the required 10.

So do we have over 100 game seasons now in England?

:puke:

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just a query, he's been with the club 15 years, never complained when he was out of the first team (to my knowledge) why didn't he get a testimonial? Or has he and it just passed me by?

 

He hasn't payed a season's worth of games, never mind the required 10.

So do we have over 100 game seasons now in England?

:puke:

 

38 versus 100 (doubtful) versus 380+~100. Not even worth commenting on, about as stupid as thinking I would type 'sky rocket' without irony. Fucking dullard.

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Perhaps I'm just being cynical, but when I read "Next two games the most important of my career, Steve Harper"

 

I can't help thinking, they are going to choke or bottle it and balls it up.

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Perhaps I'm just being cynical, but when I read "Next two games the most important of my career, Steve Harper"

 

I can't help thinking, they are going to choke or bottle it and balls it up.

 

I can't help thinking he's two games off a contractual appearance bonus.

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why should Given if fit be selected to jump straight back into the first team? his performances of late have been dire,if Harper is playing well let him keep the first spot OK we have had great service from Shay but of late he has'nt been performing so well maybe!!he needs a rest

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I wouldnt put Given back in when fit. Time for Harper to fight for his place and keep it until performances suggest otherwise.

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