Harper enjoyed a successful testimonial at St James' Park last night.
Recalling his first day at the Toon, Harper said: "I thought I was going to die.
"I was up and down, up and down, up and down. I can still hear John Burridge screaming at me that I was too good-looking to be a goalkeeper.
"I was probably a little fortunate in my first year as a professional. I broke my finger and thumb, and ruptured my ankle ligaments. Probably only my attitude got me another opportunity. I was very grateful of the chance to be professional footballer and I worked my socks off.
"I wasn't the most naturally gifted 18-year-old but I rolled up my sleeves, dug in, got the opportunity of a second year and grasped it."
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