Tickets for the John Cooke testimonial match at 1st Cloud Arena are now sold out.

The exhibition game, which is being held on Sunday, May 29th, will see a large number of famous faces from the game take to the field in honour of former Sunderland AFC stalwart John, better known as Cookie.

Among them are South Shields manager Kevin Phillips, fellow Sunderland great Niall Quinn, Newcastle United legend Peter Beardsley and Scottish football icon Ally McCoist, with the two teams to be managed by former Sunderland boss Peter Reid and Cooke himself.

The testimonial will recognise Cooke’s remarkable service to Sunderland, who he played for between 1979 and 1985 before serving as kit manager from 1994 to 2020.

A full house will be in attendance to watch the match, which is set to kick-off at 2pm. Prior to that and after the game, there will be a full timetable of events to enjoy.

11am: Gates open, with bars open and food and drink available

11am-1.45pm: Football Feast on the 3G pitch, with Soccer AM-style ‘You Know The Drill’ coaching carried out by John Cooke’s son Zak Turner-Cooke, former Newcastle United and Sunderland player Paul Bracewell and coaches from South Tyneside Ability FC

1pm: South Tyneside Ability FC are introduced to the crowd before taking part in an exhibition game

2pm: The big kick-off as the Cookie XI and Peter Reid XI go head-to-head

2.45pm: South Tyneside Ability FC return to the field for a penalty shootout

3pm: The second half begins

3.45pm: The full-time whistle blows and the teams have a thank you lap of honour

4pm: After-match party begins with a live band. Bars remain open into the night for those in attendance to celebrate

4.30pm: Grand prize draw is held. Your match programme is your entry into the draw. The full list of prizes can be viewed by clicking here

A star-studded line-up is set to take to the pitch as former Sunderland AFC kitman John Cooke is honoured with a special match at the home of South Shields FC.

Kevin Phillips, Niall Quinn, Ally McCoist, Lee Clark and Peter Beardsley are among those to have committed to the event, which will see a team managed by Cooke take on a side led by ex-Black Cats manager Peter Reid.

The testimonial will recognise Cooke’s remarkable service to Sunderland, who he played for between 1979 and 1985 before serving as kit manager from 1994 to 2020.

It will be held on Sunday, May 29th at 1st Cloud Arena and tickets are sold out.

Cooke said: “I am humbled by the event and wish to thank Peter Reid and (South Shields FC chairman) Geoff Thompson and his team for organising what looks set to be a fantastic day out.

“The response to this event from everyone has been overwhelming and given me a tremendous lift.

“I look forward to celebrating with former players and friends, and thank those who wish to support the event.”

Cooke was a key part of the backroom staff at Sunderland for almost three decades, and is extremely fondly thought of by those he worked alongside, including club legend Niall Quinn.

Quinn said: ”If I have learned one thing in life or football, it is that you need a good dressing room.

“You live or die by the characters in the dressing room.

“Johnny was a larger-than-life component in ours and his impact was far greater than that of a kitman.

“He was the very fabric of the best dressing room I was ever involved in.

“Later as chairman, I knew the dressing room was fine with Johnny around.”

Reid’s Sunderland side – featuring Quinn and newly-appointed South Shields manager Phillips – took the Premier League by storm, twice finishing seventh in the top flight.

Cooke has been highlighted as playing an important part behind the scenes in ensuring the dressing room harmony was maintained.

Reid said: ”Cookie’s strengths were his personality and his humour, but I have to say his pace wasn’t his best attribute as a player or kitman!

“The support and feedback from ex-players has been amazing, including the black and whites.

“I would also like to thank Geoff and South Shields Football Club for their full support to this event.”

Former Sunderland players spanning several eras including Kevin Ball, Michael Gray, Alex Rae, John O’Shea, Wes Brown, Gary Bennett, Gordon Chisholm, Ian Atkins, Kevin Arnott and Gary Rowell are all set to take part, with more names due to be announced, including ex-managers, local celebrities and several former Newcastle United players.

Match commentary at the game will be provided over the Tannoy system by Nick Barnes, of BBC Radio Newcastle.

The stellar cast list also includes boxing legend Frank Bruno, who will attempt to bring some order to proceedings by serving as the video assistant referee and co-commentator.

South Shields FC players are due to make an appearance, too, while club chairman Thompson will swap the boardroom for the pitch for a cameo stint as a player.

The football feast will begin at 11am, when supporters will get the chance to take part in a free football coaching session known as You Know The Drill, with the bars to be opened at the same time.

Players from South Tyneside Ability FC – which provides disabled football coaching for children, adults, ladies and the visually impaired – will entertain the crowd with an exhibition game from 1pm as the build-up to the big kick-off continues.

At 1.45pm, members of Sunderland’s 1973 FA Cup-winning squad will be introduced to the crowd to begin a year of celebrations which will culminate in the 50-year anniversary of their famous triumph, and then the match will begin at 2pm.

An after-match party with a live band – free to all ticket holders – will start at 4pm to kick-off an evening of entertainment.

A souvenir programme will also provide match-goers also a number for a free entry into a raffle. Prizes will include framed signed shirts of Jordan Henderson, Jordan Pickford, Allan Saint-Maximin, Callum Wilson, several Sunderland players and others. Programmes are to be priced at £5.