What? Yes the two teams were playing in Steve Harper’s Newcastle testimonial following 20 loyal years at the club.
The Tyneside crowd enjoyed Joey Barton’s flooring of the Sunderland manager, who was booed by a crowd of 50,000 when his name was read out by the stadium announcer. Di Canio was sporting and blew kisses to the Newcastle faithful.
A number of stars turned out to celebrate Harper’s service for the Magpies following his move to Hull, including AC Milan legends Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini. The Newcastle XI had in its ranks Alan Shearer, Peter Beardsley, Andrew Cole, Faustino Asprilla, Les Ferdinand and David Ginola among others, and most notably Joey Barton, who currently plays for Queens Park Rangers in the Championship.
The match finished scoreless and went on to penalties. Only Alan Thompson could convert for Newcastle as Alessandro Costacurta converted for Milan and Paolo Di Canio then scored the winning spot-kick.
Joey Barton later tweeted:
Fairplay to Di Canio for playing. Still a top quality player. Took the banter from the crowd in his stride. Classy guy.
— Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton) September 11, 2013
Harper is donating proceeds from the match to several north-east charities, including the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.