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Emotional Harper bows out on a high
Goalkeeper Steve Harper has admitted it would be just like Newcastle to go and win a trophy without him next year after his 20-year roller-coaster ride on Tyneside.
The 38-year-old saw the curtain come down on his Magpies career as he made his 199th appearance for the club in Sunday's 1-0 defeat by Arsenal. Harper's relative lack of action over two decades is due in part to the brilliance of Shay Given and Tim Krul, but their loyal deputy can count Champions League football and an FA Cup final start amongst his achievements.
He will look on from afar next season as he enters a new phase of his career, and the club which has become a huge part of his life will never be far from his thoughts. Harper said: "Wouldn't it be typical if they go and win something after my 20 years here?"
He added: "But I'll be there cheering them on - provided I'm not playing against them, obviously. It would be fantastic.
"All this club needs now is a trophy and it would be an amazing day - and one where I would be there in amongst it celebrating."
The departing Harper spoke to the team-mates he is leaving behind in the dressing room after the game on what proved an emotional day for him, and his message was clear.
He said: "The manager presented me with a big montage of the 20 years and they all took the mickey a little bit about some of the pictures.
"Twenty years at this club does that to you, that's all I could say.
"I just said to the lads, 'You have seen today what a great football club this is. All people want to see is people pulling on that shirt and giving their all day in, day out for this club, which is what I have done and that's the response you get'.
"Hopefully the lads will respond to that next season."
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