PAVEL Srnicek says Newcastle United’s future’s in safe hands – thanks to Tim Krul and Steve Harper.
And the former St James’s Park favourite would love to see his old club back in European competition.
Srnicek – who spent eight years at Newcastle in the 1990s, and also had a brief second spell on Tyneside – helped United back into Europe.
After an absence from continental competition lasting more than four years, there are hopes that Alan Pardew’s team can qualify for a Europa League place.
Newcastle went into the weekend lying fourth in the Premier League after an unbeaten start to the season.
And Srnicek told the Gazette: “You always think about what the club can achieve.
“Two years ago it was promotion to the Premier League. Today, maybe the top six – you never know.
“Maybe they can do something in one of the cups and qualify for European competition.
“What’s important is that the club takes it step by step. There aren’t any big superstars in the team, but the team is doing well.”
Srnicek was at Newcastle when Harper was signed as a teenager from Seaham Red Star.
And the 43-year-old worked with Krul when he returned as goalkeeping cover after Shay Given suffered an injury.
Krul – who made his United debut in a UEFA Cup tie in late 2006 – has taken over from his mentor between the posts this season, though Harper, his No2, could be handed his first start of the season in Wednesday night’s Carling Cup tie away to Blackburn Rovers.
“I was with Tim in my second spell,” he said. “He lived next door to me, so I had dinner sometimes.
“We had a very good relationship, the same I had with Steve Harper. I’ve been friends with Steve since he was 15.
“Obviously, I follow the goalkeepers. They are both very good goalkeepers. Steve was outstanding last season, and Tim has been outstanding this season.”
Srnicek – who now runs a goalkeeping school in his native Czech Republic – was given a warm welcome when he played in the recent Entertainers ReUnited game.
The charity match saw Kevin Keegan take charge of a team of his former players at Kingston Park.
And the occasion brought back happy memories for Srnicek.
“Every time I return to Newcastle, it’s been good,” he reflected “All the memories come back, and people are good to me.
“In my career, I had my longest spell at Newcastle. Everyone still talks about that time, and that’s why it’s a special place for me.
“When you’re a player, you don’t really think about things – you just think about the next game.
“Afterwards, when you have finished, the memories come back, and you realise how good it was.
“When you’re playing, you just think it’s your job, which you love.
“You appreciate it more when you finish playing. The longer the time goes, the younger people might not know so much, but maybe they hear from their dads.
“The majority of the people still remember the good times.”