Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Board Must Back Boss, Says Harper

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Board Must Back Boss, Says Harper

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Douglas

STEVE Harper has urged the Newcastle United board to make the funds available for Kevin Keegan to build on the momentum that he created at the end of the season.

United are waiting to make their first move in the transfer market and the exact nature of their summer recruitment strategy is still clouded in mystery, with the club conducting a global search for emerging talent while the manager also pushes for the club to sign established topflight players like Manchester City skipper Richard Dunne.

Although owner Mike Ashley is believed to have sanctioned significant funds for team strengthening, the club appear determined to go down a different route from the one ploughed with limited success over the past decade.

Newcastle were revealed as the Premier League's fifth biggest spenders on wages in the Deloitte & Touche survey into football finance but success has been scant for all that investment, and Ashley is determined to secure more value for money in the transfer market this summer. For goalkeeper Harper - a crucial figure as United pulled away from relegation trouble in the second half of the season - there must be significant investment if Keegan is to maintain the momentum he began to build after taking over at the turn of the year.

Harper acknowledges that the club were at a low ebb when Keegan was announced as Sam Allardyce's successor and, while hailing the job he has done turning things around, he believes investment is needed to take United close to Uefa Cup qualification. "His impact after taking over was massive. You couldn't put into words how big his impact was," said Harper.

"We couldn't have been any lower when he came in and he just lit the place up, as he does. Now we just hope he gets the backing over the summer to bring in the players and help get us back where we belong in the top half of the Premier League."

Despite plenty of activity on the periphery of the market, the club are yet to make any significant moves. …

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