THEY have been good friends for more than a decade and have worked closely together in the past, so would Steve Harper consider forming a management team with Alan Shearer when he retires?
Harper has hinted he may stop playing when his current Newcastle contract expires in June 2012 because he does not want to hold back Tim Krul and Fraser Forster by hanging on too long. But he does not know what to do with himself when he does.
He said: “I've done the first part of my badges and I'm going to do the next one over the summer. By the time I retire I'll be fully qualified as a goalkeeping coach.
“I've done a bit of media work as well and that keeps you involved.
“We'll wait and see. Alan and me as a management team? He has to get a job himself first!
“I can't see myself as a manager, but as you get older, maybe I'll give it a try. If the right opportunity came along. I'm friends with Alan, I could work with him, but he would be a hard task master. He is very driven, as he was when he was playing.”
Harper is convinced Newcastle have two excellent goalkeepers on their books in Forster and Krul and, at 35, he knows the younger men are looking to oust him.
He added: “I've got another couple of years after this, who knows? I've got a tough job keeping the two lads here out of the team.
“Tim wants to be playing week in, week out and that is what he will want to continue to do.
“Fraser Forster, by all accounts, has been outstanding up at Celtic. Alan Thompson has been raving about him. He had a brilliant year at Norwich and he's on a massive stage now up at Celtic.
“There is half a chance he will win another league title up there and things are looking good for the club in the goalkeeping department.
“The two young lads are both playing week in, week out and it's a job for me to get back in and then keep them at bay. But that's the aim.
“People are talking about the battle I had with Shay and it's going to be the same.
“The problem with me and Shay was that I haven't played the number of games they have. The club might have a problem keeping them happy even when I'm gone.
“Tim is a Dutch Under-21 international and he might have a chance of getting in the full team with the run of games he’s getting at the moment.
“As for Fraser, he has a big, big future ahead of him and the club must try to hang on to them both.
“It's going to be hard for me to keep the shirt, I'm under no illusions about that.”