English Premiership

Magpie fans killed in air crash

2014-07-18 13:00
Newcastle United fans (Twitter)
Newcastle United fans (Twitter)

London — Newcastle says two fans flying to watch the team's football tour of New Zealand were among the 298 people killed on the Malaysia Airlines jet shot down over eastern Ukraine.

The English Premier League club's website named the supporters on Flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur as John Alder and Liam Sweeney. Ages were not given.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew says "myself and all the players are deeply shocked and saddened by this terrible news."

"We all knew how passionately John and Liam supported the team and the Club.

"They were with us just earlier this week for our first pre-season friendly against Oldham and their dedication to travel all the way around the world to support us in New Zealand tells you all you need to know about the passion they had for Newcastle United.

"Our hearts go out to their families and friends."

The club says Alder was a "familiar sight in the stands for almost half a century, having barely missed a single game in that time." Sweeney had volunteered as a steward on supporters' buses.

They were going to watch Newcastle's preseason tour matches in Dunedin and Wellington, where Pardew and his players will now wear black armbands.

In an official statement made on a Newcastle website, Managing Director Lee Charnley said: "The loss of John and Liam is truly devastating news.

"Both men were dedicated supporters of our Club and were known to thousands of fans and staff alike.

"On behalf of everyone at Newcastle United we send our deepest condolences to John and Liam's families and friends.

"The Club will be dedicating an area surrounding the Sir Bobby Robson statue for fans to pay their respects to John and Liam.

"The manager and players will also be wearing black armbands for both their games against Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix in the Football United Tour of New Zealand.

"Arrangements will be made to pay tribute to the two men at the Club's first Premier League game against Manchester City on Sunday, 17th August. Further information regarding this will be announced in due course."


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