England World Cup winner Ben Stokes enjoyed a standing ovation at St James’ Park ahead of the clash with Brighton & Hove Albion.
The cricketing hero – who helped inspire a World Cup final victory over New Zealand and was also a real star during the Ashes – was one of United’s guests of honour for the 0-0 draw with the Seagulls.
Stokes was joined on the hallowed turf with Geordie Mark Wood, Rory Burns and Jason Roy.
Speaking to the crowd, Stokes was asked about his contributions in a stunning super over in the final, he said: “I think when you are involved you much prefer to be out there.
“I have been in the changing room and watching and it is nerve-wracking.
“Being in control is the best place to be
“It comes from experience.”
“I think whatever profession you want to be performing at the highest level.
“I am thankful I got to represent the country in the final.
“This summer is something I can look back on when I’m 50 or 60 year-old and be proud.
“It’s just been fantastic.”