Firstly, speaking in an interview with Brighton and Hove Albion’s website and also in the club’s match programme, currently on loan ‘keeper, Steve Harper, has once again become weary of his peripheral role at Newcastle United. The goalkeeper said that now he was a bit more settled in at Brighton, he would definitely be open to extending his trip to the seaside further, also adding that he wished he had “moved on” ten years earlier.
Harper, who joined the club from the mighty Seaham Red Star back in 1903, and was a close personal friend of the Magpies’ legendary Edwardian centre forward, Albert Shepherd, said on extending his current one month loan from the current deadline of the 20th November:
“I’m certainly open to that, definitely, but the focus this week is Tuesday and Sunday and hopefully getting four or six points.
“Then Sunday night I’ll speak to the manager and my wife and see how she is getting on with the kids and we’ll take it from there!”
Harper, who has of course spent years on the sidelines, with ex-keepers, Pavel Srníček, Shaka Hislop and then Shay Given occupying the number 1 jersey most times, then expressed his regrets on not making a move ten years ago. He could possibly be referring to the time in 2002 when he actually handed in a transfer request but eventually stayed. Harper said on this:
“If I could have spoke to myself ten years ago I think I’d have moved on then.
“I hadn’t played a competitive game for about six months before coming to Brighton so it was nice to blow the cobwebs out.
“I didn’t want to do nothing for the last years of my career. I could be here until January, the longer the better.”
Speaking on settling down on the South Coast he also commented:
“I feel a lot better after having a few days down here. Last week was a bit of a whirlwind but now I’ve spent four days in and around the lads I feel a lot happier, and more settled.
“Brighton is certainly different. I’ve had a lot of managers at Newcastle who all like to play in different areas of the pitch, but the way Brighton play is a breath of fresh air.”
After a brief spell under Ruud Gullit as the number one choice, he once again found himself on the sidelines on Gullit’s departure, a few injuries to Shay Given excepted. Then, when he finally found himself as first choice once more on given’s departure to moneybags Man City, he himself succumbed to injury in the last pre-saeason only to have his place usurped once more, this time by ambitious young Flying Dutchman, Tim Krul, on the back of a string of successive performances. In a further humiliation, he then found himself as number three after current manager Alan Pardew and new goalkeeping coach Andy Woodman brought in an old friend from their Charlton “Dream Team” days, Rob Elliot, as stand in for Krul.
Meanwhile, reserve striker / winger, Peter Lovenkrands, who played an important role in Newcastle’s Championship promotion campaign in the 2009/10 season when he scored 16 goals in all competitions, has also strongly suggested that he wants out of the club due to a lack of first team action. He told Danish TV channel, TV2, about how his agent is currently trying to find him a new club. The Great Dane said on this:
“I’ve talked to the coach (Alan Pardew) and he would like to extend my contract, but I cannot wait for that.
“In January, I can talk to whoever I want, so my agent is working to find me another club.”
Refusing to rule out a move in the January trnsfer window, he then added somewhat cagily:
“There are lots of things I’d like, but I’m keeping my cards close to my chest.”
“There have been talks with the club about an extension, but it’s not something that happens before January or next summer, so right now we’re looking for other options.”
To borrow the title of a famous film, Mike Ashley’s and Alan Pardew’s Newcastle United is “No country for old men”, with the emphasis being on young, usually foreign livestock who can be displayed in the Premiership shop window, then sent to market when the price is right. Hence, it’s probably wise for the two players to make a move sooner rather than later, with current club captain, Fabricio Coloccini possibly being the next cab off the rank if the club do not acceed to the player’s wage demands.
Time will tell on that one.