• Former keeper has worked hard to build his education since ending his playing career - even qualifying as a REFEREE!
  • Brings values and stature to a key role within the English Premiership club
  • Emphasises the importance of developing the Newcastle youngsters as PEOPLE as well as players

STEVE S-HARPER...Newcastle favourite has worked to build his skill set since quitting playing

CUT Steve Harper open and you feel he would bleed the black and white of Newcastle United - there could be no more committed choice as the English Premiership club's new Academy Manager.

Yet you have to look deeper than simply former keeper Harper's undeniable passion for the Magpies to discover why Sport Careers Agency client Steve, now 46, is such a perfect fit for the role.

Harper, who has been interim Academy manager for the last five months before being confirmed in the post at the weekend, remains the all-time longest serving player for the Geordies.

He could have simply traded on his reputation of loyalty and dedication to the Newcastle cause when his playing career ended. He refused to do so.

The keeper brought up in the mining village of Easington, County Durham, is made of sterner stuff than that.

Steve earned his UEFA A Licence, worked as Academy Goalkeeping Coach and then with the first team in the same role.

Then he hit the books to earn a Masters in Sports Directorship, he even worked hard with the English FA to qualify as a REFEREE!

There are few with the learning profile and experience of the Premiership's newest Academy Manager.

Steve is relishing the task ahead of him and he said: "I'm delighted to take up the position as Academy Manager on a permanent basis.

”I have enjoyed every day in the role so far. I'm passionate about our club and to lead our Academy is an honour and a privilege.

"The club, Head Coach and all the staff have been fantastic and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank them for their support.

"We want to help our young people to become better players and have a successful career in the game."

Harper was often back-up to star names like the late Pavel Srnicek and Shay Given in his playing days at Newcastle but battled for recognition and became a huge fans' favourite.

He was between the sticks for the 1999 FA Cup Final defeat from Manchester United and enjoyed glory nights like a 1-0 Champions League win over Italian giants Juventus at a rocking St James' Park.

The young players at Newcastle will now get the benefit of all that experience and education as they go through the peaks and pitfalls of chasing their dreams.

And Steve said: "Equally importantly to their playing development, we are developing them as people, instilling them with the right values to support their onward journeys.

"The Academy provides them with wonderful opportunities on and off the pitch and I'm excited to be working with a great team to drive our Academy forward for the benefit of everyone involved."

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