Steve Harper is heading for a 50,000 crowd for his charity testimonial match tonight – with Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio set to play the villain.
The Hull City and of 20 years, has assembled two squads worth £725million in today’s transfer market for a celebration tonight.
A Toon legends XI, with Alan Shearer and Les Ferdinand reunited as a strike-force, will take on Milan Glorie, including Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi, in aid of the Newcastle United Foundation.
Harper has also reunited Shearer with Joey Barton on the SAME side, a year after the QPR midfielder said he "despised" the Match of the Day pundit. Ex-United winger Keith Gillespieis also back on Shearer’s wing, in a strike force that will pack plentyof punch.
Harper has joked that referee Mark Clattenburg "may have a busy night, especially if he comes into our dressing room."
DiCanio confirmed his appearance in a Milan shirt again, at the weekend, and advanced ticket sales (£10 for adults and £5 for kids) have topped 40,000, with a remarkable sell out on the cards with a good "walk up" crowd this evening.
Harper left Newcastle in the summer when his contract expired, after a career that spanned almost two decades, but wanted to leave a lasting mark off the pitch with a charity match.
Hispopularity has ensured former team mates from several eras will play, including Faustino Asprilla, David Ginola and more recent close friends Kevin Nolan and Barton.
Barton tweeted yesterday: "Are the rumours true about the 5under1and manager playing? Can’t wait to play at SJP again. Against Baresi and Maldini and co. What a night it should be!"
Di Canio has kept himself in trim this summer by leading from the front in Sunderland’s pre season training.
Are the rumours true about the 5under1and manager playing?
— Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton)