Harper Launches 20 Years Charity Match
Written by Newcastle Utd
Newcastle United FC
Former United goalkeeper Steve Harper returned to St. James' Park on Tuesday to announce plans for a star-studded charity fixture
Former Newcastle United goalkeeper Steve Harper returned to St. James' Park on Tuesday to announce plans for a star-studded charity fixture which will celebrate his 20-year spell at the Club.
A Newcastle United XI, selected by the popular shot-stopper, will take on AC Milan Glorie - a legends team from Italian Serie A giants AC Milan - at the home of the Magpies at 7pm on Wednesday, 11th September, with all proceeds being split between three charities close to Harper's heart.
The Great North Children's Hospital, Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Newcastle United Foundation will all benefit from the one-off Steve Harper 20 Years Charity Match, boosting their respective projects throughout the North-East.
Harper, who recently signed for Barclays Premier League new boys Hull City, will call upon Magpies legends and ex-teammates including Alan Shearer, Les Ferdinand, Rob Lee and Faustino Asprilla in his United ranks, while the AC Milan Glorie squad will feature a host of revered Rossoneri icons including Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Costacurta and Andriy Shevchenko.
Harper said: "This match is a massive honour for me. 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.
"To have some of the best players to have ever worn the black and white shirt back at St. James' Park alongside some of the greatest names from Milan is fantastic and with every penny raised going three important North-East charities, I hope as many people as possible can come along and enjoy it. I'm sure it will be a special night."
Legendary Italian defender Baresi, who will captain AC Milan Glorie on Tyneside, added: "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."
The fixture is being orchestrated on Harper's behalf by the Newcastle United Foundation, which has worked closely with Azzurri Sports Management and counterparts at AC Milan's own Foundation to secure a stellar cast of players.
Kate Bradley, head of Newcastle United Foundation, said: "We are delighted to be organising the Steve Harper 20 Years Charity Match.
"Steve was an immensely popular figure at the football club and it's a pleasure to bring AC Milan Glorie to St. James' Park in his honour.
"The match will be raising money for three fantastic charities, which will ultimately benefit people from across the whole of the region. We hope the North-East will get right behind the match and show their appreciation for Steve's contribution in his 20 years at Newcastle."
Speaking on behalf of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Lady Elsie Robson said: "It's very thoughtful of Steve to include the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation as a beneficiary for his charity match.
"He's always been a great supporter of our work and makes himself available to help wherever he can. He's a grand lad and very obliging.
"As a player, he was someone Bob could rely on. Really, he's carried on being a steady pair of hands for us too and I'm grateful for that.
"We're in the company of some other wonderful local charities who are also going to be helped through this match. I'm sure it will be a fantastic night. I hope the fans get behind the game and give Steve a huge send off and well-deserved thank you."
Pauline Buglass, head of fundraising for Newcastle Hospitals, said: "The Great North Children's Hospital is a wonderful facility but it is generosity like Steve's which enables us to really enhance the environment we can provide for young people and their families.
"We are very grateful for Steve's kind gesture and we wish him and everyone connected with the match every success."
Final squad lists will be confirmed in due course, with a number of star names yet to be announced.