On Wednesday the 11th September 2013, Newcastle United will see one of its finest servants grace St James’ Park for the last time. Steve Harper spent the last 20 years at the club, serving as number 2 to the likes of Shay Given, Pavel Srnicek and, more recently, Tim Krul, and many would accuse Steve Harper of being a bench-warmer; always the bridesmaid, never the bride, but this is certainly not the case.
Steve Harper was, and still is, an excellent goalkeeper, but for the depth of his love for Newcastle United, he could easily have been a No. 1 choice for most teams in the country. He ably replaced Shay Given when he was sold in January 2009, and was first choice goalkeeper under Chris Hughton in the Championship season in 2009/10 when we won promotion back to the Premier League, as well as proving his Premier League mettle in the 2010/11 season under Hughton and then Pardew, and would most likely have been United’s No 1 choice, but for the emergence of Tim Krul as a top young talent.
Newcastle fans the world over know of Harper’s undoubted credentials, and appreciate the extent of his loyalty, always putting the best interest’s of the club before his own. He was given a fitting farewell in Newcastle’s last home game of last season against Arsenal, a farewell that brought tears to even the hardest of Newcastle fans, and even Steve shed a tear or two.
Next Wednesday, Harper, and a squad of Newcastle heroes in days gone by have teamed up to face an AC Milan select that includes the likes of Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Costacurta, to name but a few. That’s not to say that the Newcastle United squad is lacking in star quality itself, with the inclusion of David Ginola, Alan Shearer, Les Ferdinand and Rob Lee proving more than capable of giving the star-studded Italian side a run for their money.
The full squads for each team are as followed:
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
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
All money raised from the event will be donated to the Newcastle United Foundation, Great North Children’s Hospital and the Sir Bobby Robson foundation.
Come along and show your support for a true Geordie legend!