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Mar 21, 2013

Steve Harper to leave Newcastle

Veteran Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper has confirmed he will leave the Magpies this summer after two decades with the club.

Harper, 38, joined Newcastle from nearby Seaham Red Star in 1992 and has played almost 200 games for the club during a 20 year career. Currently the club's longest serving player, Harper has been a part of every one of Newcastle's Premier League campaigns since their first promotion to the league in 1993.

Describing his time at the club as a 'privilege', he is expected to take a player-coach role next season, with several Championship sides already expressing an interest in his services.

"It has been a privilege to be a professional at such a fantastic football club," he told the Evening Chronicle. "If you had said to me as a raw kid from Seaham I'd be at the club for 20 years as a professional, I would have said you were mad.

"People describe the club as an emotional roller-coaster and it certainly has been. I've had some fantastic times here. There have been some difficult times as well, but I have enjoyed it all."

Currently taking his coaching badges, Harper remains eager to play first-team football with Newcastle likely to entertain a loan move once Tim Krul has returned to full fitness. The stopper was wanted by Birmingham City at the start of this season, with former team-mate Lee Clark offering him a player-coach role - something he declined after being reassured by the Magpies that his services were required.

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