Harper: Newcastle job is Carver’s to lose

John Carver.
John Carver.

STEVE Harper says the Newcastle United job is John Carver’s to lose.

Carver is in charge of the club until the end of the season, when a permanent successor to Alan Pardew will be appointed.

It’s in his hands and I wish him well

Steve Harper

Former United goalkeeper Harper, now at Hull City, has known the 50-year-old for more than two decades.

And the 39-year-old – who was back at Newcastle’s training ground this week to make a donation to charity Ballboys – feels he has the coaching credentials to succeed at St James’s Park.

But Carver and his 11th-placed team are faced with a tough run of Premier League fixtures – and he is hindered by a lengthy injury list.

Harper said: “It’s up to John and the club between now and the end of the season.

“Their safety is well assured in the Premier League, so there’s no pressure on them now and they’ve got the freedom to go out and play.

“They’ve got a tough run of fixtures to come.

“It’ll be tough, but certainly when Glenn Roeder stepped up he would earn the right and he had a lot less experience than John had.

“John’s been in and around the first team not just under Sir Bobby but recently as well.

“It’s in his hands and I wish him well.”

Harper – who spent 20 years at St James’s Park after joining from Seaham Red Star – has likened Carver’s situation to that of Glenn Roeder, placed in temporary charge after the dismissal of Graeme Souness in early 2006.

Roeder guided United to a seventh-placed finish – and Europe – in the final months of the 2005-06 campaign, and was handed the job on a full-time basis by then chairman Freddy Shepherd.

“John was here when I started in the 1990s,” said Harper.

“He’s always had a passion for coaching. He started young, and he’s very experienced. He’s coached all round the world.

“I liken it to the Glenn Roeder situation when he was here and he was put in charge until the end of the season. He earned the right to be given the job.

“It’s up to John to do that. Being a fan, I would like to see that happen, because if he does get the job, it will mean the team has had a very strong finish to the season.

“It’s very much in John’s hands.

“He’s black and white through and through. He’ll be relishing the challenge.”

Harper’s Oddballs boxer shirts firm this week presented a donation £2,500 to testicular cancer charity Ballboys at United’s training ground.

The cheque was accepted on behalf of the charity by Newcastle’s Jonas Gutierrez, who was given the all-clear late last year after treatment for cancer.