It was 1996 all over again at St James' Park on Wednesday evening, as Alan Shearer, Sir Les Ferdinand, David Ginola and Rob Lee were among the names in a Newcastle Utd legends side assembled for former goalkeeper Steve Harper's testimonial.
In front of nearly 51,000 fans paying their respects to the keeper who served the club for 20 years, the Magpies faced an AC Milan XI featuring Paolo Maldini, Massimo Taibi, Mark Van Bommel and former Rossoneri forward Paolo Di Canio. As you may expect, the current Sunderland manager was booed to within an inch of his life whenever he touched the ball, and played up to the jeers when he was brought onto the pitch.
Prior to the match, former Newcastle star and current social media philosopher Joey Barton inferred that the fiery Italian might be on the receiving end of one of his trademark semi-legal challenges...
Are the rumours true about the 5under1and manager playing? #couldgetemptiedout
— Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton) September 10, 2013
Barton lived up to his promise of "emptying out" the 45-year-old coach, coming in pretty strong from behind minutes after he made his second-half substitute appearance. As Di Canio landed on his backside, he received his only cheer of the night.
The game ended goalless in regular time, but Milan came out 2-1 winners on penalties thanks to — you guessed it — a successful conversion from the much-maligned Black Cats coach...