Joey Barton

Some of the biggest names to have worn Newcastle United's famous black and white stripes in recent history will return to the St. James' Park pitch next week to honour goalkeeper Steve Harper's 20-year spell at the Club.

The Steve Harper 20 Years Charity Match, which kicks off at 7pm on Wednesday 11th September, will bring together an illustrious squad of former Magpies stars against Milan Glorie - a legends team from European football heavyweights AC Milan.

Harper, whose two decades on Tyneside only ended this summer when he joined Barclays Premier League new boys Hull City, has called former teammates including strikers Alan Shearer, Andy Cole, Les Ferdinand and Faustino Asprilla into his United ranks, as well as Magpies first team coach Steve Stone, football development manager Peter Beardsley and current Birmingham City boss Lee Clark.

In addition to popular figures including Rob Lee, Nolberto Solano and Nikos Dabizas, they will be joined by former Toon midfielders Joey Barton and David Ginola, who confirmed their attendance this week.

Barton, now with Skybet Championship side Queens Park Rangers, said: "Steve epitomised Newcastle United when I was there.

"He gave most of us an insight into what it took and what it meant to play for the football club. Steve was Mr Newcastle. He grew up in the area, came through the ranks and was there for a long time with a lot of different managers so nobody knew the Club better than him.

"When I was asked to go back up and be part of this game, I was honoured. It'll be a great night against an AC Milan legends side which includes some of my heroes when I was growing up.

"It will be the first time I've been back to play an actual game at St. James' Park. I've been back with QPR but I was suspended so it'll be nice to go back and get a run out on my old stomping ground; a place where I have really fond memories.

"It's supporting a great guy and doing well for local charities. It should be a great occasion and I hope the fans turn up in great numbers."

Harper's XI will come up against a Milan Glorie side anchored by legendary former Italy captain Franco Baresi, with iconic figures from the San Siro including Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Costacurta and Zvonimir Boban also on display alongside former Dutch international Mark van Bommel.

The visitors' firepower will be provided by Christian Vieri and Daniele Massaro.

Proceeds from the one-off match will go to the Newcastle United Foundation, Great North Children's Hospital and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Steve Harper said: "To have secured the players we have is a real coup for us. It's fantastic to have big, high-profile names supporting the charities we are raising money for and we're very grateful to have Milan Glorie and some of the biggest names in world football flying in from Italy.

"The Newcastle United Foundation, Great North Children's Hospital and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation are incredible causes in their own right and we're very fortunate to have them on our doorstep in Newcastle. Every penny raised from the game will go towards boosting their vital contributions to the North-East."

The Steve Harper 20 Years Charity Match is being organised by the Newcastle United Foundation, which has worked closely with Carl Dunn of Azzurri Sports Management and counterparts at AC Milan's own Foundation to secure Milan Glorie.

The Foundation, the official registered charity of Newcastle United, relies on independent funding to continue working with 47,000 young people and families in the North East each year and will channel its share of the proceeds into community projects across North and South Tyneside, County Durham and Northumberland.

Tickets for the event are still available, costing £10 for adults and £5 for concessions and can be purchased by clicking here.

 

Newcastle United Squad

Steve Harper, Pavel Srnicek, Shay Given, John Beresford, Olivier Bernard, Nikos Dabizas, Brian Kilcline, Darren Peacock, Alessandro Pistone, Steve Watson, Joey Barton, Lee Bowyer, Nicky Butt, Lee Clark, Kieron Dyer, Ruel Fox, Keith Gillespie, David Ginola, Liam O'Brien, Scott Sellars, Nolberto Solano, Steve Stone, Alan Thompson, Rob Lee, Faustino Asprilla, Peter Beardsley, Andrew Cole, Les Ferdinand, Paul Kitson, Alan Shearer

AC Milan Glorie Squad

Sebastiano Rossi, Massimo Taibi, Franco Baresi, Roberto Favalli, Paolo Maldini, Roberto Mussi, Massimo Oddo, Guiseppe Pancaro, Pietro Vierchowod, Ibrahim Ba, Zvonimir Boban, Alessandro Costacurta, Angelo Carbone, Federico Giunti, Christian Lantignotti, Gianluigi Lentini, Mark van Bommel, Daniele Massaro, Christian Vieri