Harper testimonial shows how it could be at United

What might be...
What might be…
Last night probably didn’t go to plan, with the AC Milan XI taking away the trophy from St James’ Park in what was Steve Harper’s final hurrah as a representative of United.

Granted it took penalties to do so and even Harps admitted that the script was written as he was supposed to convert his penalty, but last night was about much more than Steve Harper.

To all intents and purposes, Harper has spent most of his time as a backup at United. He’s played second fiddle to a range of goalkeepers from Pavel Srnicek to Shay Given and, latterly, Tim Krul but the attendance of 50,793 all the same showed what this place is about, what it is to be a fan of United and, rather disappointingly, what we once had versus what we have now.

In truth the crowd may not have been as big had the cast not been so littered with players from an era where glorious failure was achieved with swagger and bucket loads of entertainment along the way, but it does show how the crowd can get behind something they believe in.

There is a saying, something like ‘if you build it, people will come’ and back then there was a sense we were really building something. Ultimately it never succeeded and eventually we find ourselves where we are today. It’s not all Mike Ashley’s fault as his predecessor must shoulder a fair proportion of blame for our fall from grace, but if last night doesn’t show Ashley that he is just a few million away from garnering some support rather than disdain then I don’t know what will.

That’s my issue. There is a lack of real ambition at United and at the moment it just seems as though we are happy to tread water making sure we stay in the Premier League. The reality is that we’re not in the top tier of clubs who are challenging for the title or even for a Champions League place, but a failure to sign anyone over the summer doesn’t send out many positive signals does it?

I can’t recall any fan asking for tens of millions to be spent on players earning hundreds of thousands of pounds a week, but what we do want to see are signs of improvement. Despite how we are often portrayed, the average NUFC fan understands that we won’t be spending obscene amounts of money on transfers or wages, but the average fan also wants to see signs of improvement rather than no movement at all.

Our next home game is likely to see a lower crowd than was generated for Harper last night and you have to ask why? Surely that should set some alarm bells ringing? Are the fans losing faith in the ideal? Are they losing faith in the ideal because it seems to have been abandoned over the summer? Even I find myself less interested in the day-to-day goings on at United these days and for me that is saying something!

With a little bit of ambition, even a bit of communication perhaps, people would still turn up. People may still be pi**ed off about certain things, but if there is a reason, a genuine reason, then people will at least begrudgingly understand. At the moment though United is like riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma to pinch a quote from Churchill, and people find that hard to buy in to.

Last night showed what we had, but also with a bit of tinkering, what we could have again. Maybe not to the same level but certainly more than what we have right now.

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

127 thoughts on “Harper testimonial shows how it could be at United

  1. Nice one Toonsy… nostalgia is always a powerful medium.. we all long for the good old days in our lives.. many of the players represent good moments but i am baffled as to why Barton was playing..

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  2. Barton and Harper were very good friends when they were both here why wouldn’t he play Aussie?

    From the stuff I have seen of it, it looked like a class night for Harper. Fair play to Di Cannio I bet he loved being the pantomime villain.

    The game has provided a bit of positivity amongst us supporters which is very welcome. Hope Harper all the best at Hull though he is still a backup which is kinda funny πŸ˜€

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  3. I forgot the match was on until after it was over πŸ™ .
    Bris (on the last article)
    Sorry I didn’t get back to you on the reply, have been occupied and then forgot.
    Is there actually any serious plan to protest/boycott or is it gunna be another fanny around and still end up going to the match?
    On the article
    Good read and there would always be a lure for the fans to see our best players of the past unite and so attendance was bound to be high. But all the same Harper deserved to play a final game surrounded by some of the all time greats.

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  4. I had my vent about Ashley and Kinnear at the end of the transfer window, so I’ll pass on having another.

    Agree, though, with the general thrust of the article.

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  5. Well he hasn’t played with any Newcastle champions Aussie πŸ˜›

    I didn’t know that if that’s what it was but didn’t Nolan play as well. Joey Barton was very good for this club and certainly done more for it the Pistone who played as well πŸ˜›

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  6. Just read about the speedo boys coming on in the testimonial. Touch of class by Harps and the speedo chant was nice from the fans.

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  7. Good read Toonsy. Sums it up really. I do worry about who we’ll have to sell to buy again, especially now Tiote, Cabs and Cisse are worth **** all.

    If it’s Krul or Benny then we’re ****ed basically.

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  8. @Begas
    Really liked your response yesterday.
    Agree with most of it, I would never mention past titles or anything like that though. We are the sleeping giants basically, great in every sense except in cups/titles.
    I think Harper’s comment just rubbed against me the wrong way having it just been international week, with us constantly getting shoved down our throat that England are a should be better etc, when history suggests we’re pretty terrible.

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  9. Santii πŸ™‚
    Newkie, good on ya fella, you have just brought the vibe down with ya negger post at 12… typical 😎

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  10. Aussie-you’re not exactly innocent@2.

    “Nostalgia is a powerful medium”-you sound way too posh for an Aussie as well like πŸ˜†

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  11. Toonsy very good read that sums up how I feel, Harper also had some very good words to say about the club needing to show ambition. As you say no one is asking for multi million pound super star, just quality players to help make us stronger.

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  12. Speeds lads coming on was an incredible gesture. Proof that the club still has a soul.

    Who knows whose idea it was but whoevers it was still works at NUFC football and that makes me proud πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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  13. Dave-same like, either get that crap out of the way with before the season starts or make it a two week period where they get the lot of the way ❗

    Although I wouldn’t have complained if Benteke had picked up an injury for this weekend πŸ˜†

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  14. Agree with that Dave and thanks Toonsy. I wasn’t there last night but would have loved a look at Maldini and Baresi. In the pics Maldini looks like he should still be playing – I’d swap him for Taylor any day.

    I agree too that Ashley hasn’t bought into the real Toon just the Sky version and has no idea what it really means. In that period when we rocketed from bottom of the second division to 3rd in the Prem the excitement and feel good factor were thick in the air in Newcastle. You could feel it everywhere. Wonderful memories. If Ashley had bought into that things would be very different.

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  15. I hate the early Int’l break too. Don’t know why they couldn’t have played this qualifying round over the summer. Oh well, at least my guys used the time to qualify

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  16. It’s a shame the result didn’t go the right way or Harps didn’t at least score his penalty. But what a great night for him all the same.
    He got a turn out equal to Shearers IMO (or not far off anyway), which when you consider he was a reserve keeper his whole career, that’s probably more than he could have ever hoped for.
    Top bloke, good luck to him.

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  17. International breaks – do we need them? Why can’t they just play Weds like they used to? Or make clubs continue without their Int stars. Now that would make for a more interesting league!

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  18. LST – I didn’t know about Speeds kid, didn’t get to see the game, but I agree that was a fanastic thing to do.
    It’s also pleasing that Harps donated all the money generated last night to charity. I know that’s the norm nowadays but it’s still good

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  19. Georgio-Can you imagine the horror the top clubs would have if they were asked to play without their stars? They might not be able to fill up a starting 11 let alone a bench to go with it πŸ˜†

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  20. Cheeses wept Santii, you don’t half drivel on. ! 😯

    @ Begas

    Your rant at the end of the season about Ashley and lack of investment is still sending shock waves round the blog! For cheeses sakes divvent gan off it again. πŸ˜›

    Anyway, just a quick update about my health and thanks for your concerns. The doctors believe I should make a full recovery from my twisted ankle caused by kicking the corner flag but I have to have Physio for 3 months due to the beating I took from the Chinese cops! 😈

    I put up a good fight but the most annoying thing is, they ripped my Grandad Les’ trunks and vest!! 😈

    Fizzin! Absolutely hissing fizzin!! 😈

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  21. Does anyone know if Tiote or Jonas will be fit for Villa? – I hope they don’t get selected if they are fit, just interested to know to see what Pardew does.
    I’d love to see a midfield 3 of Sissoko, Cabaye and Anita. With a front 3 of Benny, Cisse and Remy.
    If he goes with that I think we could really get at Villa like.

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  22. Krul,

    Debuchy, Mbwia, Colo, Santon
    HBA, Cabaye, Sisokko, Marveaux
    Cisse, Remy

    Subs; Elliott, Hiadara, Saylor, Anita, Tiote, Gouffran, Ameobi

    Definitely relegation fodder 😈

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  23. Good article toonsy. Fantastic sendoff for Harper. A true Geordie legend. I’m happy he said a few things about the club as well. A great day for the club. Let’s hope it carries over into our next set of games.

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  24. Sharpy@30-think that’s what we’d all like to see. If Tiote gets back to form he can replace cabs/anita but I don’t really see a place for Jonas. Should have tried to sell him. Isn’t he on like 45-50k anyway? Perch and Simmo would have been more use for that money..

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  25. What’s that Sharpy mate @30? An attacking formation from Pards away from home? Surely you’re joking. Isn’t it always 4-5-1 or 4-4-2? I would suspect he’ll start 4-4-2 with Cisse and Remy up front together at least until we score, then 4-5-1.

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  26. At the end of the day 451 easily turns into 433 and 442 is the formation most fans have been screaming for lately/end of last season. The individual selection and how we actually play is what’s key for me.

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  27. Spot on Newkie @36. Plus can we establish some ball control and keep possession longer early in the game. No Jonas please Pardew.

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  28. β€œIt is important to understand we have a good side.” β€œWe spent Β£30M in the last window.” β€œAnd Sammy and Dummett are young players coming through.”
    Another porky from Pardew. We spent between 18 and 19 M pounds in January, not 30M. Come on Alan tell the truth once in a while. Surprise the supporters now and then with a breath of fresh air.

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  29. I wish I had Kinnear’s job at Newcastle. He has got it easy really. No qualifications required and bonus’s for saving Ashley money. I would also get free excuses from Alan to tell the fan’s why we failed to sign any players. 150 grand or more a year but senile dementia would unfortunately be the reason I wouldn’t get the job.

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  30. Senile dementia is a requirement at Newcastle fc.
    Saving Ashley money earns bonus’s in the transfer market
    Need help with excuses then Alan Pardew knows what to say

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  31. Easy job really and you know Mike laughing about it all.
    He knows the fan’s dont want Kinnear or Pardew or Wonga. He must absolutely love it

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  32. Mike wakes up everyday thinking I’m going to take it out on the Newcastle fan’s today. I slowly losing the will Newcastle will amount to anything under this regrime.

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  33. Toonsy ,great article ,agree with pretty much all you say. Looking forward to season getting back underway again and hopefully something positive to chat about . Villa will be a hard task especially away from home with that Benteke mauling our back line .

    Liam @31 ,Yep What I would go with too ,though still not convinced about Debbie yet ,fingers crossed.

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  34. By the time you throw in Agents fees and wages for the half season on top of the club fees Β£30m is not an unreasonable figure.

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  35. 30 mill isnt too bad, then again we got 35 for andy Carroll.

    I love Pards sticking to the “we cant compete with the big boys” πŸ™„ If we tried to compete with the little spenders, it would be a step in the right direction..

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  36. Pardew must live or die by his recent comments in terms of looking foolish.

    One injury to either Cisse or Remy will be catastrophic.

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  37. What the hell has happened to Mark lately?

    He’s metamorphosized from a butterfly to a bird of prey! πŸ˜†

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  38. @Troy..

    I’ve always hated Ashley and Co but I’m also very forgiving and I like to give people another chance…

    P.S I think youve upset Sharpy m8.

    Sharpy, if youre reading.. I’m sorry if we upset you that day m8, wasnt trying to..

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  39. Troy I thought at first it was someone letting on to be Mark πŸ˜€ as the change in him is unbelievable 😯

    Prem sorry but for me β€œWe spent Β£30M in the last window.” means that you spent Β£30 in player transfers, I dont know any other club that throws in agents fees, wages in on top of what the transfer fee’s were πŸ™„

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  40. so where do we get 30mil from. I thought it was 12mil?

    I’ve worked out, since Pards took over we’ve spent approx 61mil but we’ve took back 55mil

    6mil since Jan 2011 isnt too bad like.. πŸ˜€

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  41. @Big dave, that doesnt include the purchases / sales when Hughton, Shearer, Kinnear & Keegan were in charge.. can’t be arsed to work it out πŸ˜†

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  42. anyway back to being positive πŸ˜†

    I’m going for a 1-1 draw v Villa. If we start with the team that finished or even, Anita for Cabaye. I reckon we can match them al over the pitch….. and.. could even pinch a win 😯

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  43. oh.. I forgot they also have newboy Libor Kozak who scored v Italy y’day… hmm extra options for them up front…. back to being negative 😐 πŸ˜†

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  44. @Mark

    Upset Sharpy? Surely not over the battered housewives comment. 😯

    Oh dear. πŸ™„

    You don’t think he’s a battered house husband don you ? πŸ˜†

    Comeback Sharpy. There’s nothing to be upset about. It’s all in days slagging match. πŸ˜‰

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  45. @Mark

    I’ve changed my opinion of Stardust!! He’s not a gulper eel ! He’s a bloody blobfish ! πŸ˜†

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  46. I actually think the current squad could suite a 352 formation, if a replacement for Taylor was bought. Debuchy and Santon providing the width and two of the centre backs covering wide when needed.

    ————————————— Krul

    ——————————-Taylor Coloccini Mapou

    ————Debuchy ————————————————Santon

    —————————–Sissoko Cabaye Tiote/Anita

    ————————————- Cisse Remy

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