Steve Harper has revealed that his testimonial charity match at St James' Park earlier this month raised £300,000.
The former Newcastle United goalkeeper invited the likes of Alan Shearer, Peter Beardsley and even Paolo Di Canio to take part in the match played to celebrate the 20 year career of Harper on Tyneside.
An AC Milan Glorie side led by Franco Baresi and featuring Paulo Maldini was in opposition. The game ended 0-0 after 90 minutes, with the visitors clinching the subsequent penalty shoot-out 2-1.
Almost 51,000 fans were at St James' Park on 11 September to pay tribute to the 38-year-old.
Harper returns to the North East with current club Hull City at the weekend, and ahead of that game the veteran goalkeeper has disclosed that North East charities would be given a sum of £300,000.
"It was an incredible night. I'd like to say thank you to everyone who came along to St James' Park to be a part of it and for making it so special," Harper said in a statement.
"It was a privilege to be on the same pitch as some of the greatest players to have ever played the game and, more importantly, the match raised money for charities which are very close to my heart.
"I'm delighted that those funds will enhance the amazing work they continue to do for people right across the North East," he concluded.
Harper's noble gesture has increased the respect for him among Newcastle fans. The lad who grew up in the mining village of Easington, County Durham, played around 180 games for the club he loved. However, more often than not, he was deputising for Pavel Srníček, Shaka Hislop, Shay Given and Tim Krul.
The keeper's affinity for the club cannot be questioned and for many he will always be seen as one of football’s nice guys. This weekend the St James' Park faithful will give another one of their local heroes a rousing reception - only this time he will be playing for the opposition.
What are your thoughts on Steve Harper's contribution to the North East?
image: © mikebrown59