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Were Newcastle Too Quick to Offload this Youngster?

Newcastle United let young goalkeeper Fraser Forster go out on numerous loan spells to four different club over a five-year period before finally deciding that he wasn’t worth keeping.


On the 30th of June this year, it was confirmed that Forster would be joining Neil Lennon’s Celtic on a permanent contact, having been with them since 2010.

Now, with Forster putting in a series of eye-catching performances on both a domestic and continental scale, it does beg that question of whether perhaps the club was too hasty to let him leave. This has come to the fore particularly in recent weeks, with Forster putting in a great display in Celtic’s narrow, heroic defeat against Barcelona in the Nou Camp, and also his call up to the senior England squad for the recent qualifiers against San Marino and Poland.

Obviously, Tim Krul is Newcastle’s current first choice goalkeeper and doing a fine job of it, so there is no doubt that Forster would merely be a back-up to the Dutchman. However, Newcastle’s other two goal-keepers aren’t of a similar high caliber, with Rob Elliot seeming a bit hit and miss in his appearances (which albeit have been sporadic) and veteran Steve Harper possibly ‘over the hill now’.

Harper’s performance in the recent defeat to Manchester United at St James’ was nothing short of sub standard, and while we must be quick to recognize his years of great service to the club, we must also be realistic. Harper was caught out for Tom Cleverly’s stunning third goal, and was also lucky when caught in possession by England speedster Danny Welbeck.

This means there are two schools of thought. Obviously, Krul is himself also young and have a long and prosperous career ahead of him, potentially at an even higher level, so some will argue that Newcastle don’t need a particularly good back-up keeper. This is a philosophy brought into by many clubs, for example Chelsea opt to keep Petr Cech as their main man, with much worse options left in reserve.

However, as we’ve already seen this season, Krul is susceptible to injuries, missing around a month with an elbow injury earlier in the campaign. Rob Elliot himself picked up a knock in the Europa League campaign. It is in these situations that Newcastle could benefit with a very capable pair of hands waiting to step in, which the clearly talented Forster would offer.

Looking at other clubs in the Premiership, such as Manchester United themselves or maybe Aston Villa as another example, they both choose to operate with two quality keepers and are not scared to chop and change. We’ve seen Shay Given dropped in favour of Brad Guzan in recent weeks there, and another more recent example would be Tottenham Hotspur, who now boast Brad Friedel, Huge Lloris, Carlo Cudicini and Heurelho Gomes as options for inbetween the sticks.

Obviously, questions can be asked over whether Forster would have been willing to settle for a number two slot, especially at such a crucial stage in his development. However, with Newcastle playing in Europe this year, he’d have be certain to get games, as Elliot and Harper both have so far in the campaign.

Therefore, it’s safe to make a judgement on the question posed ; Newcastle were certainly too hasty to permanently offload such a star of Forster, and will nervously watch his future development to see what becomes of such a talented youngster, and what might have happened.

What do you think? Was he worth keeping?

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About Harry Savill (Editor) (418 Articles)
I am the Editor of 'The Spectator's View'. I set up the website so that I could combine my two passions: Newcastle United and writing, and I hope for it to be a platform where fans can express their views on the club. History Graduate from Durham University. Junior Account Executive at M&C Saatchi.

17 Comments on Were Newcastle Too Quick to Offload this Youngster?

  1. the manjority of this article is a pretty fair assessment.. however it’s very important to remember that the Forster you see now is not the Forster which arrived from Newcastle in 2010.. when many Celtic fans didn’t think he was up to the job. his remarkable improvement is down to the work that’s been done with him by the Celtic staff (stevie woods in particular) in conjunction obviously with his natural attributes. but I have to say that there seems to be a perception amongst Newcastle fans that they gave us this brilliant young keeper for a song which is simply not true. he was 21 when he came to Celtic a big raw lad with huge potential but also some very obvious flaws (crosses & kicking mainly) .. the keeper you see now breaking into the England squad is not the lad we bought for a fairly hefty 2m from Newcastle he is more a product of the coaching, environment & opportunity to play first tem football afforded to him at Celtic. he recently said pretty much the same himself in a recent interview.

  2. The reality is that he wouldn’t stay as back up so Pardew had to choose and I believe he made the right decision in going with Krul. As the celic guy mentions we did get £2million for him and hopefully there will be some ‘add ons’ if he does get capped – good luck to him and I hope he does well. Incidentally I was quite impressed with Elliott in his appearances this season and think he might have been in goal rather than harper if he hadn’t have got injured. So, in reply to the headline, my opinion is a ‘No’

  3. As far as I know there was a £2m fee attached to both of the loan deals to Celtic. Forster has improved remarkably since coming to Celtic. His first season at the club went well but he didn’t really start to stand out until his second season at the club. Forster is certainly England’s second best goalkeeping option.

  4. yes he would not have stayed to warm the banch having experienced forst team footbal at Celtic. £6m and you can buy him back

  5. yous lot dont rate celtic but celtic are a much bigger team now and always will be.seeing that yous wont ever see champions faser will see it every season while hes with celtic.

  6. newcastle fans did not rate big fraser saying he was not good enough for them the spl was his level. well since he has come to celtic he’s improved each season and he realy took off last season and the improvement was tremendous . this season he’s improved again making excelent saves in all our games in europe as well as on the domestic front .celtic paid around £2m for each loan period and made the move permenant for another £2m making £6m in total .but the coaching that he has got from stevie woods and the rest of the staff that has helped improve him.alan pardew and newcastle fans he would not be good enough .well fraser has proved them all wrong

  7. Fair play to Fraser , went from a bucket club to a club who is playing champions league football 🙂 i suppose the rule is the same in every sport , start at the bottom and work your way up! HailHail

    • I don’t understand how you can use Celtic being in the Champions league as an indicator as to how much better they are than Newcastle. When you play teams like Inverness Caledonian Thistle, week in week out, there’s no doubt that your going to win the league in Scotland. If Newcastle were to play you at full strength, it would be heavy win for the toon. To be quite honest, they fact that you’re joint top with Hibernian is pretty dire in itself. Be realistic

  8. I have been shocked with a lot of the stuff coming out of Newcastle blogs over the last few years in regards to Celtic and the SPL. The superiority complex is shocking coming from such an irrelovent team. Not Newcastle’s fault they don’t matter – thanks to the stupid money paid in England most of the league is meaningless. Considering that has always been the knock on the SPL it is quite the joke in my opinion. EPL teams have terrible scouting and youth systems and just buy players off other clubs hoping for the best. Absolute crap footballers make 50,000 a week there because teams like Sawanse are given 20-30 million in TV money and it has contributed to the downfall of the game.

    • Forster not a good as Krul, and never will be playing Scotland. So all this bigging up Forster is irrelevant

  9. Was poor in pre-season friendlies for newcastle, remember watching him play for the youth team a few years back and he looked pretty good though. Still, i doubt he’d want to be no.2, krul is fast establishing himself as one of the best in the PL and he’s already taken the no.1 spot for his country. Elliott’s also relatively young and looked good so far in appearances. That’s not forgetting young England u-20 international Jak Alnwick to replace Harps in the future. Good luck to Fraser though.

  10. Reading some of these comments I doubt Celtic paid £2million for each loan period. Celtic would never pay £6million for any player let alone a player who was up until recently the fourth choice goalkeeper at Newcastle. The SPL has it’s knockers but I doubt any of Newcastle’s players will be gracing or playing in the Camp Nou any time soon.

  11. Well, actually, it’s not just one game. Celtic play Barcelona in the Champion’s League again on Wednesday night, at Celtic park this time, in front of 60.000 fans and a worldwide TV audience of tens of millions. They did lose, by the very narrowest of margins by 2-1 with the winning goal scrambled over the line in in the 94th minute to the clear great relief of the Barcelona team, coaches and fans. It’s no shame to lose so valiantly to what is regarded by many as not just one of the best teams in the world, but one of the best football teams ever seen. And of course Celtic are only at the half way point in the Champion’s league group stage, sitting 2nd in the group table and have games coming up against Benfica, Spartak Moscow and Barcelona.

    • Fair call, but you will lose that one too..

      • But we will play it mate. When was the last time Newcastle were in the CL? And your most optimistic guess on when they will be back in the CL? Likely a long wait so enjoy taking shots at teams that are actually there.

      • Really Davo???? Sad little team are Newcastle. Enjoy EUROPA, it’s your level.

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