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Howay The Lads!!

Tragic News On The Death Of Two Dedicated Newcastle Fans

1:29 pm, Friday, July 18th, 2014 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 18 Comments

We were very saddened and shocked to hear that two Newcastle fans on their way to support Newcastle United on their New Zealand tour,  were among 9 British people who were killed on the Malaysia Airlines 777 plane (flight MH17) that was shot down by a missile over eastern Ukraine yesterday.

290 people ( 283 passengers and 15 crew members) were all killed when the jet was shot down by a ground to air missile close to the Russian border with Ukraine.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Newcastle United v Everton - St James' Park

The two fans are John Alder and Liam Sweeney, and they were on their way to support Newcastle United in New Zealand.

John Alder was from Gateshead and thought to be in his 60s,  and news in the Shields Gazette is that he was known to fellow fans as ‘The Undertaker’,  because he always wore a dark suit, and he had only missed one game in more than 40 years of supporting Newcastle.

John had traveled all over the world to watch Newcastle play,  and Liam Sweeney was only 28 years old, and thought to be from Newcastle.

This is the statement that Newcastle United have just released on the tragedy:


It is with great sadness that we learn today the tragic news of the deaths of John Alder and Liam Sweeney, two of the Club’s most loyal supporters, who lost their lives on Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 which crashed on Thursday afternoon in Eastern Ukraine.

John and Liam were travelling out to New Zealand together to support Newcastle United in the forthcoming Football United Tour, which takes place next week in Dunedin and Wellington.

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.

Newcastle United 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.”

Manager Alan Pardew said:

“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.”


Those are good and fitting statements from both Lee and Alan.

It’s a tragedy that 290 completely innocent people on the plane have lost their lives.

We want to send out our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of John and Liam, and may be they both rest in peace.

God bless their souls.


Tags: Newcastle News · Other News

18 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jail for Ashley // Jul 18, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    What a terrible tradegy for them and evryone on board.

  • 2 LGFUAD21 // Jul 18, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    Rest in peace guys. Thoughts with friends and family.

    On Grenier. I think he is the ideal choice to replace Cabaye, however I dont see there being any truth in the approach.

    I dont see how the club would justify the spend by their own standards unless a midfielder is leaving, in which case I would hate for Tiote, Moussa or Anita to leave.

    Would love to have him though.

  • 3 gar69 // Jul 18, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    Nice to see the club made a statement regarding the loss of both John and Liam and upcoming tributes for the lads. Deepest sympathies to their families a tragic loss. Great guys and very loyal NUFC fans judging by what has been previously mentioned on a number of social media sights. RIP

  • 4 DokToon // Jul 18, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    words cannot adequetly express my sadness for two of our supporters, and the rest of the innocents on that plane… my heart goes out to their families… having lost many friends on a september morning, i understand the pain… may God bless you and keep you, may He make his face shine on you, and give you peace…

  • 5 Toonfan8 // Jul 18, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    R.I.P. lads…I hope you will be watching some great football in heaven from our team 🙁
    very sad news

  • 6 Markaccus // Jul 18, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    Terrible thing to happen. Feel so bad for their families, not to mention the families of the othet passengers too. What a sh1te world we live in.

  • 7 Markaccus // Jul 18, 2014 at 1:48 PM


    Even though I am an atheist, that was quite an excellent thing for you to say. Good on you.

  • 8 phatt knacker // Jul 18, 2014 at 1:52 PM


    cant belive the news!!

    Puts new signings into perspective!

    Club have acted well for once and expect the tour and first home game to hounor the memory of these two “canny lads” and all who have been lost.

  • 9 BandB // Jul 18, 2014 at 1:52 PM

    Terrible, shocking news, for their loved ones, the city, and anyone who loves Newcastle United.
    It puts things in context, doesn’t it? I hope it is no-one any of you know.
    God bless and keep them.

  • 10 woody92 // Jul 18, 2014 at 1:52 PM

    Rest in peace lads and also to the other 296 men, women and children on board. Absolutely Terrible news.

  • 11 Goodfella // Jul 18, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    R.I.P lads, thoughts go out to the family and friends.

  • 12 shanghai fan // Jul 18, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    God bless you john, Liam and the other passengers. So sad. I hope those that committed such a terrible act receive the punishment deserved.

  • 13 toonbrother // Jul 18, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    Rest in peace Toon brothers

  • 14 Online Guy // Jul 18, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    No words ..Just Love

  • 15 clarkytoon // Jul 18, 2014 at 4:56 PM

    God rest your souls Geordie brothers. Sleep well John and Liam. Condolences to your loved ones.

  • 16 ToonFromLeeds // Jul 18, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    RIP lads such a horrific tragedy

  • 17 OneAlanShearer // Jul 18, 2014 at 6:31 PM

    RIP all those that died. Simply tragic.

  • 18 stokietim // Jul 18, 2014 at 10:16 PM

    RIP – the whole football family shares your loss

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