Football legends are returning to St James’ Park to play in ex-United goalkeeper Steve Harper’s charity testimonial.
Harper, who recently signed for Barclays Premier League new boys Hull City, returned to the stadium yesterday to reveal who will be joining him for his star-studded testimonial on September 11.
To mark his 20-year spell at the club, Harper has called on old friends Alan Shearer, Les Ferdinand, Rob Lee and Faustino Asprilla as they form Newcastle United XI.
It is also hoped David Ginola, Andy Cole and Peter Beardsley will make a return for the game also, but the full line-up is yet to be confirmed.
They will take on the AC Milan Glorie legends team made up of Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Costacurta and Andriy Shevchenko. Harper said: “The Alan Shearer versus Franco Baresi battle is going to be a special one. Tino is coming back and I’m confident David Ginola is going to come.
“I’m looking forward to see the Beardsley-Cole partnership back together.”
Legendary Italian defender Baresi, who will captain AC Milan Glorie on Tyneside, said: “I would like to firstly congratulate Steve Harper on his 20 years with Newcastle United.
“I was very happy to hear of the possibility of AC Milan Glorie travelling and playing against a Newcastle United legends team at such a famous stadium.
“I know the passion of Newcastle fans and I know of the club’s history and the love of football in the city so I congratulate Steve and wish the fans and Newcastle United a magnificent occasion.”
But the main aim of the clash is to support the three charities which stand to benefit from money raised on the day – the Great North Children’s Hospital, Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Newcastle United Foundation. Harper said: “I had a fantastic send-off against Arsenal at the end of last season, so this is really my opportunity to say thank you to a region which has given me so much support and to use my time to raise as much money as possible for three incredible causes.”
Fans saw the loyal goalkeeper get emotional during his final Toon match in May and Harper admitted that it will be a “strange” experience stepping out in his black and white jersey for the last time just days before he returns to St James’ with Hull City on September 21.
“It will be strange 10 days. I’m hoping because the tickets on September 11 are only £5 and £10 that we will get as many people as possible there
“And then 10 days later I’ll be with Hull and I know it will be a full house for that game.”
Tickets for the Steve Harper 20 Years Charity Match will go on sale at www.nufc.co.uk from 10am on Friday priced £10 for adults and £5 for children/concessions.