Steve Harper, the head of Newcastle United’s academy, suffered a brain hemorrhage this week and is recovering in hospital.
The former Newcastle United, Hull City and Sunderland goalkeeper fell ill on Monday night with severe head pain and vomiting. He was advised to go to accident and emergency at Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary where it was discovered he had experienced a subarachnoid haemorrhage.
The 48-year-old has undergone several other procedures and has remained in hospital while more tests are carried out.
Doctors are confident he will make a full recovery but he will be absent from the club’s academy for several weeks while he recovers.
An unusually emotional statement from the Premier League club said: “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. 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 made more than 150 league starts and was first-choice goalkeeper when the club were promoted from the Championship in 2010. He also featured for Newcastle in the Champions League in 2002, keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Juventus in the group stage.
He moved to Hull City in 2013 and helped the club reach the FA Cup final, where they were beaten 3-2 by Arsenal.
Harper returned to Newcastle as a coach under former manager Steve Bruce, who had signed him for Hull, and was appointed academy director in July 2021. He has continued in that role since the takeover by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in October 2021 and has impressed the new owners in that time as he oversees a revamp of the club’s age group development programmes.