Former Newcastle keeper Steve Harper says he “read the script” to deactivate his Twitter account before his move to Sunderland was announced.
Harper was a free agent having been without a club since being released by Hull at the end of last season. The 40-year-old spent 20 years at Newcastle up until 2013, making 157 league appearances, largely as back-up.
The goalkeeper joined the Magpies’ arch rivals Sunderland last Friday on a contract until the end of the season to provide cover for Vito Mannone and Jordan Pickford and Harper admits he expected a reaction to the move.
“It was out the blue,” Harper told Talksport.
“I got a phone call on Thursday afternoon from the gaffer who said, ‘how are you?’ I said I am still in decent nick and he asked if I fancied coming in for a chat, which I did, and the rest is history.
“There was always going to be a reaction but I am not the first, I certainly won’t be the last and bigger and better players than me have done it and played for both clubs with no issues.
“I think I am the first to do it in the new social media age so I read the script and deactivated my Twitter account before I signed so as not to get involved.
“But every message I have had from friends, ex-colleagues and even genuine, hard core Newcastle fans have said: ‘great to see you back in the game and good luck’.
“I had a decent Christmas and New Year but at the start of January I have just battered the gym for the last three weeks, not knowing anything was going to happen.
“It turned out to be a good decision.”