ALAN Pardew has paid tribute to “fabulous servant” Steve Harper ahead of the former Newcastle United goalkeeper’s charity game.
Harper made 199 appearances for the club over a 20-year career at the club.
A Newcastle XI will take on the AC Milan Glorie team at St James’s Park tonight (7pm kick-off) in honour of the 38-year-old, now at Hull City.
The likes of Alan Shearer and Les Ferdinand will play for United, while Franco Baresi will be in the visiting team.
Pardew managed Easington-born Harper during the last two and a half years of his Newcastle career, which ended in May with an emotional final appearance against Arsenal.
“Steve’s contributions at Newcastle have been unbelievable,” Pardew said.
“To spend 20 years at a Premier League club is something special.
“Maybe we are going into a different era now, but he will probably be one of the last players to dedicate his career to one club like he has at Newcastle.
“I hope he won’t be the last at Newcastle, but I’m not sure too many can repeat his achievements.”
“He was a fabulous servant for Newcastle, and I want to wish him a great night from myself, because he thoroughly deserves it.”
More than 40,000 tickets have already been sold for the game, which has captured the imagination of Tyneside.
“It’s great that the money is going to good local causes,” said Pardew.
“To get over 40,000 is a fantastic effort from the fans.”
The Steve Harper 20 Years Charity Match is raising money for The Great North Children’s Hospital, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and the Newcastle United Foundation.
Turnstiles 75 and 76 at St James’s Park will be open for cash entry from 5.30pm. Tickets, priced £10 for adults and £5 for concessions, are on sale during the day from the club’s box office