Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Home sweet home

"I'm a north-east lad and United has always been a huge part of my life and I'm delighted that will continue". Thus spake Steve Harper today, in the wake of the news that he's signed a three-year contract extension. What with Ameobi having committed himself to the club for another three years only recently (no doubt unable to believe his luck), it seems the only ones not desperate to flee the sinking ship are the Geordies...

As I've said before, there are two ways of looking at Harper. One is as an unambitious and relatively disinterested individual, content with having made only 111 appearances in his 13 years at St James' as long as the pay packet comes in. The other is as a 'keeper who is fiercely loyal, who has sacrificed his own advancement in the interests of the club, who very rarely if ever lets us down and who is one of the very best back-ups in the Premier League. Guess which view I subscribe to.

Of course the question being asked now is whether this effectively confirms Shay Given's departure for the City of Manchester Stadium. Maybe - though Chris Hughton was having none of it: "The only thing to read into it is that we'd like to keep the quality individuals here". He added: ""We've never seen Steve Harper as a number two". Which I'm sure is reassuring - no one likes being seen as a number two, except, perhaps, for a certain Mr Bellamy who we'll probably be lining up against tomorrow night...


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