Forster seals deal to stay at Celtic
Published at 09:04, Monday, 16 July 2012
STOCKSFIELD’S Fraser Forster has made his move north of the Border permanent after penning a four-year deal with Scottish Premier League (SPL) champions Glasgow Celtic.
After spending the past two years on loan at the Bhoys, the Tynedale shot- stopper decided Scotland was where he wanted to continue playing his football. The 24-year-old has shown great promise throughout his career but moved on from Newcastle United, where he had been since he was 18, due to limited first team opportunities.
Forster had been expected to challenge for the Magpies’ number one jersey as long time servant Steve Harper’s career draws to a close, but the emergence of Dutch keeper Tim Krul has forced him to look elsewhere for his football.
Some quarters believe that by moving to the SPL, where the standard of football is classed somewhere below that of English football, Forster is harming his chance of an international call-up to England.
A lot of people, chiefly Newcastle fans, were calling for his selection into the Three Lions’ Euro 2012 squad when third choice, Norwich City’s John Ruddy – coincidentally, Forster’s replacement after a successful loan spell at the Canaries in 2009-10 – was injured.
Instead, unknown teenager Jack Butland was chosen despite failing to break into Birmingham City’s npower Championship team and having only tasted first team football on loan at League Two Cheltenham Town.
However, the 6ft 7ins goalkeeper from Stocksfield believes he has made the right choice, particularly as the prospect of playing in the Champions’ League is very much alive.
He said: “I want to win things as a team and improve as an individual, and I think I will be able to do that at Celtic.
“It also gives me a great opportunity to play in the Champions’ League if we get through the qualifiers. I really enjoyed my time in Europe last season so I will be looking forward to it if it happens again.
“I enjoyed last season as a whole and we have a great young squad here. The players and the coaches make it an enjoyable place to be and I like being a part of this team.”
Since starting off with Stocksfield FC at U12 level, Forster has impressed between the sticks, staying at his home club until moving to Newcastle’s Royal Grammar School at the age of 16.
From there, he joined the Magpies at 18 but, despite being contracted at the club for six years, he had not made a first team appearance in a competitive game.
He spent a period on loan at Stockport County in 2008 where he played six times, which was followed up by four matches for Bristol Rovers in 2009.
But it was while on loan at Norwich during the 2009-2010 season when the shot stopper really came to prominence.
His sterling performances helped the Canaries to the League One championship, and then manager Paul Lambert was desperate to secure his services on a permanent basis.
In that loan spell, Forster was named Players’ Player of the Year by his peers while he also scooped the Macron Golden Gloves Award for the most clean sheets in the division with a whopping 20 from 42 appearances in all competitions.
Expected to return to Newcastle to challenge for the number one shirt, Forster was shipped to Celtic for the 2010-11 campaign where, again, he excelled and helped himself to a Scottish FA Cup winners’ medal.
Such was the success of his loan deal that manager Neil Lennon tempted him back for the 2011-12 season where he added to his silverware, this time lifting the SPL trophy.
Forster played a massive part in that success, keeping 21 clean sheets in the league while racking up 26 in all competition.
Published by http://www.hexhamcourant.co.uk
This week in... 1928Saturday, December 8, 1928...
The Miners' Hall at West Wylam was officially re-opened after undergoing extensive renovation.
Built as a cinema with a sloping floor 15 years previously, a ladies' cloakroom had been added and the floor levelled to turn it into a dance hall.
The work cost £500, half of which came from the Northumberland Miners' Association.