St James' Park, Newcastle

Next Game

Newcastle v M'gladbach

Saturday, 01 August 2015, 15:00

Friendly Match

Newcastle fans remembered

Football supporters have held an informal service for the two Newcastle fans who were killed in the Malaysia Airlines atrocity last week.

Last Updated: 21/07/14 at 23:37 Post Comment

Newcastle United: Informal service held for the two Magpies fans killed in the M

Newcastle United: Informal service held for the two Magpies fans killed in the M

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Around 200 people gathered for the impromptu memorial at St James' Park, where flowers, football shirts and scarves have been left in memory of John Alder, 63, and Liam Sweeney 28.

The service outside the ground included a poem to the fans and ended with a minute's applause. 

The pair were flying to New Zealand to watch the Magpies play a series of pre-season friendlies, but their flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur came down in eastern Ukraine on Thursday afternoon, killing them and 296 others.

Before the service Mr Sweeney's father Barry said: "This is one of the most amazing scenes I have ever seen. He and John I hope are in the sky, watching this. They would be amazed."

Mr Sweeney, a father of seven who cares for his terminally-ill wife Lesley, said: "I loved him to bits. He was a diamond."

Well-wishers gathered to pay their respects to the dead men, many of them leaving bouquets of flowers with a message to the two well-known fans who rarely missed a match.

Mr Sweeney was overwhelmed by the scale of the turn-out and thanked everyone for coming.

A fundraising initiative by Sunderland fans has reached £24,500, when the original aim was to get to just £100 and the surplus will be split by the Macmillan Cancer Support and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Liz Luff, of Sir Bobby's cancer-fighting charity, said: "The atmosphere was incredibly emotional. I've not experienced anything like it.

"It is a wonderful way to remember the pair and it has been very special."

Sir Bobby's widow, Lady Elsie, said: "Like everyone, I was shocked and upset when I heard about flight MH17 and the awful loss of life.

"I can't begin to understand what John and Liam's family and friends are going through. It's so hard to comprehend something as terrible as this.

"You often see the best of people in the worst of times and that's certainly true of the Sunderland fans who organised this collection in tribute to John and Liam.

"They, and everyone who has donated to it, are a credit to football and to the North East."

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

Y

ou can't blame De Gea for wanting to leave, he has enough to do in front of goal as it is as well as taking on the role of Man Utd's version of Derek Acorah in trying to contact and organise a defence that isn't there.

rodger's gusset
Van Gaal downbeat on De Gea

I

f you want to take six points off Arsenal, then that's a great strike force. Can't imagine either of them showing much for the rest of the season though...

foot in mouth
Adebayor & Berbatov: You Have To Admire The Balls

L

ooks like Real get their man, most likely at their own valuation, yet again. Resistance is futile.

paul7702
Van Gaal downbeat on De Gea

Footer 365

Andre Pirlo backs Liverpool's Mario Balotelli to prove his potential

Andrea Pirlo thinks Mario Balotelli can still be one of the "top forwards in Europe" despite his struggles at Liverpool.

West Brom reject approach from Aston Villa for Joleon Lescott

West Brom have rejected an approach from Aston Villa for central defender Joleon Lescott, according to reports.

Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla sign new deals with Arsenal

Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla have signed new contracts at Arsenal.

Mail Box

Neville Has It Wrong On Chelsea...

One Mailboxer says that the Neviller has it slightly wrong on Chelsea. Plus thoughts on sexy Saints, pre-season reviews, Connor Wickham and televised analysis...

De Gea Disrespectful? Remember RVP...

We got dozens of mails from people pointing and laughing at Brian D for suggesting David de Gea has acted disrespectfully; we printed some. And there's more...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company