STEVE Harper has thanked Newcastle United’s fans for an “incredible” send off.
The goalkeeper made his 199th and final appearance for the club in yesterday’s 1-0 defeat to Arsenal.
Harper, given a minute’s applause in the 37th minute, left the pitch at St James’s Park in tears.
“The 37th minute was just incredible,” said the Easington lad. “It was mind blowing, and I was struggling a bit.
“Then (Lukas) Podolski smashed the ball into my family allowance, and pulled me out of it!”
There were presentations to Harper – who joined Newcastle in 1993 from Seaham Red Star – after the game from his team-mates and journalists. “I got given a montage (by the players),” he added. “It was special.
“The people in Newcastle respond to honest endeavour.
“I’ll be honest, I haven’t got half the ability of some of the people in that (dressing) room, but what I have done is give my all, day in and day out, for the football club
“And if you do that, that’s the sort of response you get from the fans.
“I have to thank all of the medical and backroom staff for getting me out there and keeping me going, the manager, and Woody (coach Andy Woodman) for keeping it going.
Reflecting on his career, Harper went on: “I’ve been here more than half my life. It does take over your life.”
SEE Monday’s Mail for full story