The Newcastle fans yesterday at St James’ Park applauded for a full minute in the 17th minute of the game against Real Sociedad in honor of John Alder and Liam Sweeney, who lost their lives when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down on July 17th.
John Alder and Liam Sweeney
And today in the Chronicle the local paper is calling on supporters to make the applause a permanent thing for all our games this season.
And the tragedy has so gripped the fans of other clubs – that the opposition fans will join in the applause for John and Liam – and Manchester City fans will have a banner in honor of John and Liam at next Sunday’s first league game of the season.
This is what Liam’s father Barry Sweeney has said:
“I didn’t know they were doing that but it’s a nice gesture. It would be great if they did it for the rest of the season and they would be part of every game.”
“They will never be forgotten.” “If Liam knew everyone was clapping for him he wouldn’t have believed it, but he would have been so proud.”
The 17th minute is appropriate because it was the 17th of July their flight was shot down with all 298 on board losing their lives, and the flight number was MH17 – a flight number the airline will never use again.
In yesterday’s program there was a one page tribute to the two fallen supporters which read:
“In memory of Liam Sweeney and John Alder. Rest in Peace. With love from all at Newcastle United.”
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew also had this to say:
“The tragic loss of our loyal supporters John Alder and Liam Sweeney as they traveled to New Zealand was devastating for everyone at Newcastle.”
“And we will give them the respect they deserve with a full tribute in front of a packed St James’ Park next weekend.”
We applaud the initiative taken by the Chronicle today, and simply wanted to help get the word out, and it seems very appropriate – and certainly John Alder and Liam Sweeney will never ever be forgotten by Newcastle United or by their fans.