Jul 18, 2014, 8:46 AM EDT
It’s easy to imagine the excitement of John Alder and Liam Sweeney, traveling abroad to see their beloved Newcastle United take part in a tour of New Zealand. How would the new signings look? Did manager Alan Pardew have the late-season skid sorted out?
Tragically, they will not witness the answer to those questions. Alder and Sweeney were among the 298 people aboard Malaysian Airlines flight MH-17 that was shot down over the Ukraine on Thursday afternoon.
The pair were incredible fans, and the club will pay tribute in a number of ways: black armbands during the tour of New Zealand as well as a dedicated area outside the stadium for memories and flowers.
Both men were familiar faces at every Newcastle United away game and attended not only first team games but Reserve and Academy matches too.
John was a lifelong supporter and a familiar sight in the stands for almost half-a-century, having barely missed a single game in that time.
Liam will be known to many fans during his time volunteering as a steward on supporters’ buses to away games.
The release also featured emotional quotes from NUFC managing director Lee Charnley and manager Alan Pardew, the latter referencing the attendance of Alder and Sweeney at Newcastle’s friendly against Oldham Athletic last week.
Current and former players responded on Twitter, too:
All my prayers are going to the two Newcastle fans died in the flight yesterday.
— yohan cabaye (@YCabayeofficiel) July 18, 2014
Very sad to hear about the 2 NUFC fans who were involved in the plane crash yesterday. My thoughts and prayers are with there families 🙏
— Ryan Taylor (@TaylorR1984) July 18, 2014
2 Geordies on plane MH17 travelling to watch Nufc in New Zealand. RIP John Adler and Liam Sweeney.. Our thoughts are with all the families!
The Chronicle’s Sarah Scott told more of the deceased fans in two strong pieces.
He became known amongst fans for always wearing a black suit, getting himself the nickname ‘The Undertaker’. Even in sweltering heat John would be seen in his suit, no matter what country he followed the team to.
In 1999 John was included in the Hall for Fans after not missing a United game since his visit to Queens Park Rangers in 1973.
“Liam has been a Newcastle fan all his life and been going to the away matches since 2007.
“He was going to Germany, every away match, every European tour.
“He worked the night shift in Morrisons in Killingworth. He’d been there for 10 years, they are all gutted.
“Everyone is going to miss him, family and friends.
A “howay the lads” to Alder and Sweeney, and our deepest sympathies to their families and friends.
Jul 27, 2015, 9:45 PM EDT
The Premier League’s big boys each play once more in the USA before heading back to England for the start of the new season.
Jul 27, 2015, 8:39 PM EDT
Afellay makes four ex-Blaugranas on the books at Stoke, where Mark Hughes is aiming for European qualification.
Jul 27, 2015, 7:56 PM EDT
As Bayern chase their fourth straight Bundesliga title (it would be a first), Mats Hummels says the league’s other teams need to stop fearing them.
Jul 27, 2015, 6:06 PM EDT
Drogba has arrived in MLS, and he even got to choose which team he’ll play for — kinda.
Jul 27, 2015, 5:15 PM EDT
Cyle Larin bagged his first pro hat trick on Sunday, somehow outshining David Villa at Yankee Stadium.
Jul 27, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT
Villa, Giovinco, Finlay and more — this week’s MLS Team of the Week.
Jul 27, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT
The first of three newly promoted sides, do the Cherries have what it takes to stay in the Premier League?
Jul 27, 2015, 2:24 PM EDT
JPW dissects the top deals, discusses which clubs have done the best business and which need to get a shift on.
Jul 27, 2015, 1:43 PM EDT
Plenty of preseason action continues out in the Far East.
Jul 27, 2015, 12:50 PM EDT
Can Sherwood rejuvenate Villa and show progress is being made? Losing Benteke and Delph will hurt his chances of doing that.
Jul 27, 2015, 12:02 PM EDT
Here are the latest rumors from around the soccer world.
Jul 27, 2015, 11:06 AM EDT
SWP and BWP in MLS for RBNY.
Jul 27, 2015, 10:20 AM EDT
El Tri boss could be in a lot of trouble if these reports are true.
Jul 27, 2015, 9:35 AM EDT
LVG isn’t afraid of telling it like it is. Not at all.
Jul 27, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
Can the Gunners improve on their third-place finish from last season?
Jul 27, 2015, 8:03 AM EDT
Red Devils sign another goalkeeper as the David de Gea saga rumbles on.
Jul 26, 2015, 9:59 PM EDT
It’s been an ugly tournament for El Tri, but they showed up ready to play in the finals.
Jul 26, 2015, 9:32 PM EDT
Arsenal won its second preseason trophy, while Romelu Lukaku logged a hat-trick for the Toffees.
Jul 26, 2015, 8:26 PM EDT
The French youth international impressed in the friendly against Wolfsburg, and Arsene Wenger wants him to stick around the Gunneres’ system.
Jul 26, 2015, 7:29 PM EDT
Banged up Mexico takes on rigid Jamaica in a scintillating Gold Cup final matchup.
- Monday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: PSG’s $133 million Ronaldo bid, Stones to Chelsea 1
- Amid reports of journalist brawl, Mexico boss Miguel Herrera looks ahead to USMNT showdown 5
- Manchester United lack creativity to challenge top clubs, says Louis van Gaal 6
- Premier League 2015-16 season preview: Arsenal 9
- Mexico 3-1 Jamaica: El Tri overpowers Cinderella story to win Gold Cup 30
- Frank Lampard ruled out of MLS All-Star game 2