Steve Harper: Newcastle keeper excited by future possibilities

Steve Harper

Goalkeeper Steve Harper is excited by the possibilities open to him following his final Newcastle United appearance against Arsenal on Sunday.

The 38-year-old ends a 20-year stay at St James' Park when his contract expires this summer.

"It's exciting not knowing what could happen," Harper told BBC Newcastle.

"The options are open, I'm in good nick so I could play on, or there may be an opportunity that comes up in coaching, management or media."

Harper's unexpected opportunity arose when Rob Elliot was dismissed at the end of Newcastle's 2-1 win at Queens Park Rangers which made sure of their survival in the Premier League, leaving the Seaham-born keeper to protect the lead, with the prospect of an emotional goodbye in front of the Magpies supporters this Sunday.

"It's totally unexpected, I didn't think about it at the time," said Harper.

"We had 12 or 13 minutes left which flew and it was only afterwards that I realised what was going to be a relaxing day with the family would actually see me thrust into the deep end.

"But I'm pleased actually, what a fitting way to go out, in front of a full house."

Loyalty to the club limited Harper to only 198 appearances going into his last outing, with fellow custodians such as Tim Krul, Shay Given and latterly Elliot ahead of him in the first-team pecking order.

"Lots of fans would love to play 199 times for Newcastle, so it's been a privilege," he added.

"It would have been nice to play a lot more but that's life. If I could speak to myself 12 years ago, I would have done something about it then."

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