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Tuesday 16 July 2013

Harper excited about 'fresh' Hull challenge

After 20 years at Newcastle United 38-year-old veteran agrees one-year deal at Hull City

Steve Harper was Newcastle's longest-serving player

Hull City have swooped for their second goalkeeper in as many weeks after completing the signing of the former Newcastle United goalkeeper Steve Harper.

The 38-year-old, who has signed a one-year deal, joins the newly promoted club on a free transfer after ending his 20-year association with the St James' Park club.

"It's a new page in my career and it feels fresh and exciting"
Steve Harper

"Hull City just felt like the right option for me," Harper told www.hullcityafc.net. "It's a new page in my career and it feels fresh and exciting. It's probably just what I need at this stage and I'm really looking forward to it.

"I've got a lot of experience in the Premier League and I'm sure that will come in handy. I've already said to the rest of the lads, and particularly the younger goalkeepers, that if they want to ask me anything I'm here to help. I trained with the lads on Monday afternoon and they're a great bunch."

The Seaham native joined Newcastle in 1993 but spent his first five years with the Magpies on separate loan spells with Bradford City, Gateshead, Stockport County and Hartlepool. He began to threaten first-team regular Shay Given at the turn of the century, playing in Newcastle's FA Cup final defeat to Manchester United in 1999.

After finally becoming the undisputed number one choice on Tyneside during Newcastle's season in the Championship, Harper signed a new contract in 2009 but two years later he found himself at Brighton & Hove Albion on loan. He played his last game for Newcastle, as captain, in a 1-0 Barclays Premier League defeat by Arsenal in May.

Newcastle's longest-serving player becomes the second goalkeeper to join Hull in a fortnight following the arrival from Besiktas of Scotland international Allan McGregor.

Harper is Steve Bruce's sixth summer signing following the arrivals of Peterborough United striker George Boyd, Sunderland midfielder Ahmed Elmohamady and defenders Maynor Figueroa and Curtis Davies, who joined from Wigan Athletic and Birmingham City respectively.

Hull begin their first Barclays Premier League campaign since 2010 with a trip to Chelsea on 18 August.

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