Newcastle legend Steve Harper is in hospital following a medical emergency. The former goalkeeper suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage on Monday and is now recovering, with the Magpies releasing a statement on Wednesday to confirm the news.
“Newcastle United is sending love and best wishes to Steve Harper and his family after the club’s academy director suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage on Monday,” read the statement. “The club is pleased to report that Steve is awake and recovering well in hospital.
“Steve, his family and everyone at Newcastle United extends a heartfelt thank you to NHS staff for the incredible care he is receiving. Steve is the longest-serving player in club history after spending 20 years as a goalkeeper at St James’ Park between 1993-2013. After serving as a goalkeeper coach at Newcastle United’s academy and working with the first team, he was named full-time academy director in 2021 and has continued to enhance the club’s talent pathway.
“Steve will be given the club’s full support as he recovers. Everyone connected with Newcastle United sends their best wishes to Steve and his family as he continues his recuperation.”
Harper was born in Easington, County Durham, and joined the Newcastle academy from local side Seaham Red Star in 1993. The shot-stopper made his Premier League debut against Wimbledon in 1998 as he replaced Shay Given at half-time, before playing in the next two league matches.
The 48-year-old spent the majority of his playing career as Given’s back-up but enjoyed extended periods in the team when the Ireland international was unavailable. He played in the 1999 FA Cup final as Newcastle lost 2-0 to Manchester United and also represented the club in the Champions League. The former player kept 66 clean sheets for the Magpies and helped the team win promotion from the Championship in 2010 before moving to Hull on a free transfer in 2013.
Harper had six loan spells away from St James’ Park during his time as a Newcastle player and appeared for the likes of Brighton, Huddersfield and Stockport. After leaving Hull in the summer of 2015, he joined Sunderland the following January and spent six months at the Stadium of Light.
After hanging up his gloves following his spell with Newcastle’s arch-rivals, Harper returned to the Magpies as an academy goalkeeper coach. He then worked with the Northern Ireland national set-up for two-and-a-half years before returning to the north east in 2019 as Steve Bruce’s assistant. He took on his current role in January 2021.