The Newcastle United Blog

News and Commentary On Newcastle United By Ed Harrison, A Proud Exiled Geordie And Lifelong Fan

The Newcastle United Blog header image 2
Howay The Lads!!

Remembering John Alder And Liam Sweeney

12:02 am, Friday, July 17th, 2015 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 89 Comments

It was one year ago today on July 17th,  that two dedicated Newcastle fans, John Alder and Liam Sweeney were killed when their Malaysian airlines flight MH17 was shot down, when they were on their way to New Zealand to watch the Newcastle team play in a pre-season tour.

The plane was passing over a Russian held part of eastern Ukraine, when they were shot down and the suspicions are that a Russian-made missile fired by Russian rebels in the region, brought down the plane with all aboard being killed.

john alder liam sweeney

John Alder and Liam Sweeney

John Alder and Liam Sweeney lost their lives literally supporting Newcastle United, and there was just unbelievable support not only from Newcastle United and their fans, but also from the Sunderland fans and Sunderland Football Club.

One Sunderland fan Gary Ferguson created a fundraising page that raised tens of thousands of pounds for the families of John and Liam.

john alder liam sweeney 87

One of the tributes to John and Liam

The terrible tragedy seems to have brought the two sets of fans together.

The supporters gave one minute of applause in the 17th minute of every single game played by Newcastle last season, and the fans of the opposing teams also gave  their support at each of the games.

That was done as a sign of  support, appreciation and remembrance of the two brave and faithful Geordie fans, who were tragically killed.

There’s one thing that is certain – Newcastle United and their fans will never forget these two  dedicated and loyal Newcastle fans.

Rest in peace John and Liam.

Tags: John Alder and Liam Sweeney · Newcastle News · Other News

89 responses so far ↓

  • 1 RonVanDam // Jul 17, 2015 at 12:08 AM

    Before we get a striker or CB, I think we need to buy at least 4 more midfielders.

  • 2 toon22 // Jul 17, 2015 at 12:11 AM

    Maybe we could buy someone to be on the board.

  • 3 Graeme // Jul 17, 2015 at 12:12 AM

    Respect to departed Merit.
    They were true fans, may they rest in peace. Thoughts and best wishes to their families and their memories.

  • 4 Toon-Prodigy // Jul 17, 2015 at 12:19 AM

    RIP Lads

  • 5 CisseSomething // Jul 17, 2015 at 12:19 AM


  • 6 optimistic prime // Jul 17, 2015 at 12:24 AM

    Football is the same as betting, you can’t move the goal posts.

    Carver didnt count as well you know.

    Full of shit

  • 7 optimistic prime // Jul 17, 2015 at 12:25 AM


  • 8 Lost Plot // Jul 17, 2015 at 12:27 AM

    RIP wor lads .. Fallen but Soldiers Live On!

  • 9 Our Toon // Jul 17, 2015 at 12:31 AM

    RIP lads. Credit to the club for the class they showed last season and to the fans who never forgot week in week out.

    Gone but never forgotten!!

  • 10 JP...from The Rock // Jul 17, 2015 at 12:32 AM

    RIP lads. Hopefully the club will put a smile on your faces when you look down upon a great team again soon.

  • 11 nightfa11 // Jul 17, 2015 at 12:35 AM

    its a nice gesture and all..but millions od people die every day..and some are nufc fans.. perhaps sometimes we should remember those and not just john and disrespect, but all we hear about is those 2.. just cos they were able to afford to travel across the globe to see nufc team, doesnt make them any more special.. i dont want to sounds harsh and dispresectful..but..there are thousands of others nufc fans who left this world too early..

  • 12 Munster Mag // Jul 17, 2015 at 12:37 AM

    RIP to two great fans, a credit to your club and city.

  • 13 ToonHeart // Jul 17, 2015 at 12:48 AM

    @Nightfa11 – Two at once? in such a horrific death of supporters only flying to see Newcastle play? Could of been avoided being anywhere else.. the fact they could afford tickets to fly out probably meant they were bigger supporters than us! I love Newcastle. no way I would fly out that far to see them! Now, that’s dedication.. but, hey, whatever!

  • 14 alanrichie // Jul 17, 2015 at 12:49 AM

    Nufc fans may die everyday nightfa11 but most aren’t murdered supporting there club. I strongly disagree with you, you should be banned, grow a set and show some respect.

  • 15 expatmag // Jul 17, 2015 at 12:51 AM

    RIP lads from your mates in Australia

  • 16 Bobbybee // Jul 17, 2015 at 1:00 AM

    nightfa11, don’t mean to burst your bubble, but you do sound disrespectful and harsh. Yes, people die every day, but they’re not murdered travelling to watch the team we love – and that’s what stands them out. Proper fans; thick and thin, always there. Or is that your problem? As someone who gets their loyalty, regardless of petty politics, they have my utmost respect for their total commitment. RIP lads.

  • 17 nightfa11 // Jul 17, 2015 at 1:03 AM


    you just said it – most of them arent..which could also mean that hundreds of them were murdered..probably even thousands in history.. im just saying we should “remember” all of them and not just point out 2 of them.. like i disrespect..but all we read about is those 2..every month..for the past 2 years..we’re making them saints, but noone gives a s*it about others..right? and if that doenst make sense to you..feel free to ban me..

  • 18 Our Toon // Jul 17, 2015 at 1:07 AM

    Night FA

    You will cop it for your disrespectful comments and rightly so, during the 1 minute of applauding I remembers not just those 2 lads but also others that have died along the way. The reason the club pays respect is these 2 lads were going to see our lads play abroad in meaningless friendly, they were murdered when travelling to see the team they love. The club should never forget that, they went to watch the B&W’s but paid the ultimate price and one they didn’t deserve. I will always remember and I will always pray for there souls and families.

    Rip lads and to all toon fans we have lost over the past year!!

  • 19 Mister Tuff // Jul 17, 2015 at 1:12 AM

    – you’ve read about this every month for the last 2 years. Wow seeing it only happened a year ago.
    Making them saints – what a load of tripe -fellow fans are just remembering them – they were not wealthy lads either.
    nightfa11 – a bit of a spitefull post.
    RIP lads.

  • 20 Toon-Prodigy // Jul 17, 2015 at 1:12 AM

    Howay lads, I think there is a time and a place like..

  • 21 toonicle // Jul 17, 2015 at 1:17 AM

    Well said Ed. RIP John and Liam

  • 22 nightfa11 // Jul 17, 2015 at 1:22 AM

    i understand most of you disagree with me.. i didnt mean to be insulting or whaever.. im just pointing out that there are kids in africa, southern america, etc..who are football fans..who wear jerseies of w/e club, who get murdered, but cos its not all over the press, we forget about them.. and im just saying we should remember all of them..and not just those 2.. i understand you see death of those 2 more important, but the press made it more important to you, over any other death of a fan.. but they are all the equally impotant..

  • 23 Our Toon // Jul 17, 2015 at 1:29 AM

    Night FA

    Everyone remembers in there own way, I take sometime out during the applause to think of others as well as these 2 lads. People die everyday but this circumstance is different to those you’ve stated. You honour whoever you want the way you want, the club will honour those who lost lives whilst travelling to watch them play. Think you’ve over thought this mate!!

    Should we not remember those who died in WW1 or WWII? They made the ultimate sacrifice and our lads also made that same sacrifice but unwillingly. Best we leave this discussion as I personally will never agree with your stance.

  • 24 Sliema // Jul 17, 2015 at 1:31 AM


    So you obviously would like the press to either report every single murder/death of every single football fan (hockey fan, baseball fan, darts fan???) because we forget them all… or you’re simply suggesting there is zero coverage by the press of any death.

    Which one is it?

  • 25 Sliema // Jul 17, 2015 at 1:32 AM

    You’re a bit confused imho.

  • 26 nightfa11 // Jul 17, 2015 at 1:41 AM


    im saying that the title of article should be “lets remember our fans who left this world too soon” and not single out just 2 of them..every month..for the past 2 years.. even robson and speed dont get so much press – i know they werent mudered, but they left too soon..

    im saying this objectvly (emotions aside) – strictly objectivly – id understand such coverage and singeling out specific person if they were murdered BECAUSE they were fans (of whatever team)..

  • 27 Our Toon // Jul 17, 2015 at 1:44 AM

    It happened last year not 2 years ago!! Shocking to read though.

  • 28 nightfa11 // Jul 17, 2015 at 1:54 AM

    why is it shocking? i didnt say anything bad about them..its horrible what happened to them..but it happens 24/ it or not..

    i’m jsut saying the concept of such press is..too bias..

  • 29 Our Toon // Jul 17, 2015 at 2:04 AM

    It’s shocking because you struggle to distinguish between death/murder which happens every day to murder when travelling to watch your team play. They were killed whilst travelling to see the toon play….you seem to struggle to understand this aspect!!

    It’s like a Liverpool fan saying why remember Hillsborough amd not all Liverpool fans that have died!!

  • 30 expatmag // Jul 17, 2015 at 2:04 AM


    I am from Melbourne. There were 38 Australians on that plane and thoughts on the anniversary are primarily about them here.

    I wouldnt expect Newcastle United fans on a blog give major thoughts about them on this blog about anyone other than the 2 lads who supported this club through thick and thin just as I dont expect other Aussies to be thinking primarily about John and Liam.

    However, it is obvious that decent individuals will have thoughts and prayers for all the victims and their respective families whilst giving priority to those they knew.

    Nothing wrong at all with that.

  • 31 Our Toon // Jul 17, 2015 at 2:09 AM

    Night FA

    A plane doesn’t get blown out of the sky 24/7 either. Nothing stops you from remembering who you want in whatever way you want, the club will remember those who lost their lives whilst going to watch us play!!

  • 32 nightfa11 // Jul 17, 2015 at 2:14 AM

    Our Toon

    yes i dont see the difference…maybe im me..murder is murder.. its like you go to the store to buy clothes and get murdered along the way.. so the owners/designers of the brand and their fans would..?? i dont know..i dont see the me murder is murder..

  • 33 expatmag // Jul 17, 2015 at 2:28 AM


    The difference is very simple.

    When a murder occurs to someone you know or related to, then the prevailing circumstances effect you more than if it happens to complete strangers.

    Most decent people are appalled by any murder but when it happens close to home and in such tragic and unexpected circumstances, then it hits hone harder.

  • 34 Our Toon // Jul 17, 2015 at 2:37 AM

    Night FA

    If I went to clothes shop & died along the way the store I was going to attend or the designer wouldn’t bat an eye lid….because there’s hundreds of stores customers go to not just 1 store, there’s hundreds of brands I wear I’m not devoted to 1 designer. NUFC is a family, we are one. We love our club and our club only, we are devoted to NUFC, we follow NUFC, we devote our time every day to nufc. Massive difference

  • 35 King Colback // Jul 17, 2015 at 3:03 AM

    RIP John & Liam

  • 36 nightfa11 // Jul 17, 2015 at 3:24 AM

    Our Toon

    clotes were just an example..cos..everyone hs his passion.. for us its nufc..for some are drugs..for some its music..for some are designer clothes..and for women its disney’s happily ever after..

    who’s to say which one is more important? i’m just saying that constant reminder of 2 guys and noone too bias..many toon fans died..but always talking just about those 2……

  • 37 Bobbybee // Jul 17, 2015 at 3:48 AM

    Nightfa11, that hole is getting bigger, time to stop digging. If your passion is NUFC you have a strange way of showing it. It’s the ANNIVERSARY ffs, that’s why it’s being remembered. Their loyalty is something you could learn from, if you even understand the word. The more you try to justify your post, the worse you look. You’re a minority of ONE, which says a lot about your opinion.

  • 38 expatmag // Jul 17, 2015 at 4:01 AM


    You are an absolute prune. Give it up.

  • 39 King Colback // Jul 17, 2015 at 4:22 AM

    Slightly off topic but just seen this on twitter:
    Do we really need anymore midfielders?

    On Topic, John and Liam died following the club they loved due to a terrorist act, it is the anniversary of their deaths and quite rightly should be remembered

  • 40 nut meg // Jul 17, 2015 at 5:28 AM

    R.I.P. John & Liam.

    Act your age, not your shoe size !

  • 41 scout // Jul 17, 2015 at 5:38 AM

    RIP lads along with the others on the plane. So sad.

  • 42 nut meg // Jul 17, 2015 at 5:53 AM

    I enjoyed reading this,it put a smile on my face & also gave me a sense of pride

  • 43 Sack Llambias // Jul 17, 2015 at 6:36 AM


  • 44 Tsunki // Jul 17, 2015 at 6:47 AM

    Cut nightfa11 some slack I know what he’s trying to say in a naive way. They’re remembered in a talismanic way, representing what’s really wrong in this world when innocent people become the victims of mindless violence.

  • 45 will die for the toon army // Jul 17, 2015 at 6:50 AM


  • 46 firebug666 // Jul 17, 2015 at 6:55 AM

    RIP John and Liam

  • 47 expatmag // Jul 17, 2015 at 6:58 AM


    Mate. Nothing has changed since Cain nobbled Abel.

    What people are saying is that most decent people abhor murder but when it strikes close to home, human nature reactions are more apparent.

  • 48 welshgeordie9 // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:02 AM

    RIP John and Liam

  • 49 Lilongwe Geordie // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:03 AM

    RIP John and Liam.

  • 50 Tsunki // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:03 AM

    I think nightfa11s sentiment is ok, just his manner of stating it isn’t very diplomatic.

  • 51 jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:04 AM

    Anything new on the horizon?

  • 52 Average_Contents // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:05 AM

    RIP John and Liam.

  • 53 jazzyp // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:06 AM

    One year ago today, we lost two members of the Newcastle United family. Rest in peace, John and Liam

    I cannot believe the blog cannot get through this sensitive topic without it turning into yet another Argument.Shame on you !

  • 54 Ron Knee // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:09 AM

    Morning, Jesper
    According to The Chronic, Abeid and Satka have “jetted out” to the States. Apart from that, not a lot.

  • 55 jazzyp // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:09 AM


    It wasn’t very diplomatic as it should never have been bought up mate. Was uncalled for and unneeded.

  • 56 Mr Magpie // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:09 AM

    Rip John & Liam, gone to soon but never forgotten lads.

  • 57 stan anderson // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:11 AM

    R.I.P. LADS.

    Is this window not similar to the one where we signed Anita and no others.

    Ashley OOT.

  • 58 jesperfuglsang - capt'n awesome of the lemon crew // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:19 AM

    Ron…that’s good news I suppose

  • 59 jazzyp // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:21 AM

    Get French Football ?@GFN_France ·
    FC Porto in advanced negotiations with AS Monaco for the transfer of João Moutinho, according to France Football

    hopefully will take a big chunk of the cash they will receive from the sale of Martinez, And will leave mr Mitrovic alone

  • 60 will die for the toon army // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:24 AM

    NUFC is a mystery u never know wats going on until it happens. The board tries to control our expectations.

  • 61 lesh // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:38 AM

    Could it be that Nightfa11 was suggesting that John and Liam, bless them, be seen as representative of, symbols of all of the NUFC family who’ve passed on, no matter what the circumstances.

  • 62 Lilongwe Geordie // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:38 AM

    According to the Gazzette we still haven’t agreed a fee for Austin with QPR, Austin is interested but is also keen to wait and see if Chelsea firm up their initial interest in him.

    While the bookies were suspending betting yesterday, Austin was having a post training session nap according to his twitter account.

  • 63 Lilongwe Geordie // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:40 AM

    I think something similar to that, but without fouling on John and Liam, just remembering all those who have passed.

    He went about it in completely the wrong way though, and there was no need for it at all.

  • 64 Lilongwe Geordie // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:43 AM

    Pleased that Abeid and Satka have joined the squad, although I’d be interested to know why they are joining late, and didn’t go out with the initial group.

    Have we picked up injuries? Or has McClaren decided that 1 or 2 of his initial group aren’t up to scratch and will be shipped off on return, opening up spots for these 2 to stake a claim?

  • 65 Bambams // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:44 AM

    My god I have just caught up on the comments on this thread.

    What is it with people !

  • 66 Lilongwe Geordie // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:44 AM

    fouling? focussing, Not even sure I can play autocorrect for that one…

  • 67 jazzyp // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:52 AM

    Well i guess we will see if there was any remote truth in the Austin link today.
    I have no problem with patience, As they say it is a virtue. But the season will be upon us before we know it. Surely it makes sense to get the new signings bedded in

  • 68 mickalfas // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:52 AM

    RIP lads

  • 69 lesh // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:55 AM


    Maybe Charnley’s forgotten that he needs to submit a bid on players before we fail to get them over that ever-distant line?

    He’s been under a lot of pressure having had to complete the signing of Wiljnadum – our one and only signing in six or so weeks!

    He’s probably taken a well-earned break, sunning his feet on Whitley Bay sands.

  • 70 MrMojoRisin76 // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:55 AM

    RIP John&Liam.

  • 71 Lilongwe Geordie // Jul 17, 2015 at 7:59 AM

    Of course it does. In an ideal world most managers will tell you they want all their new signings by the start of pre season. I don’t see the bedding in process being as difficult if we buy players already located in the UK, but for some of the players coming in from abroad it can take time to settle off the field, which can affect how you settle on it.

    The club are leaving it late, with just 3 weeks till the season starts. Any new signings now will be unlikely to train with the rest of the squad until the back end of next week, when we return from the US. Leaving around 10 days before the match with Southampton.

    1 player in so far, and we probably need another 4 or 5 very good players if we are to be competitive in the top half of the table. Not promising.

  • 72 Lindisfarne // Jul 17, 2015 at 8:00 AM




  • 73 mickalfas // Jul 17, 2015 at 8:01 AM

    Thanks to our fat leader,the line atm must be 10ft high with razor wire and electrified
    Thanks Mike

  • 74 Lilongwe Geordie // Jul 17, 2015 at 8:03 AM

    It is a very difficult job. You say 1 signing, but you forget he also got 4 kids to sign pro deals as well. Not to mention having to call Carver and Stone when he knew they would be in the same room so he only had to pay for one phone call. That sort of thing takes planning.

    Then he had to deal with the fans forum. And on top of that McClaren had the cheek to demand new coaching staff!!

    If anyone deserve a good long holiday with his feet up it is Charnley.

  • 75 will die for the toon army // Jul 17, 2015 at 8:04 AM

    I wld go for a diamond formation of;
    ……………………….De Jong

  • 76 JamesToon // Jul 17, 2015 at 8:04 AM



  • 77 Lindisfarne // Jul 17, 2015 at 8:06 AM

    “”United had been holding out for a £10m fee for Evans, but with Everton only prepared to pay £6m for a player entering the final year of his contract, a compromise is expected.””

    £6.5m bid from Toon?

  • 78 will die for the toon army // Jul 17, 2015 at 8:09 AM

    He will have holiday after he brings Rudiger, Austin and Mitrovic. Then sell Colo, Willo, Mauvuex, Vickic, Cisse, Tiote, Obertan.

  • 79 Lindisfarne // Jul 17, 2015 at 8:11 AM

    “”Should Benteke join Liverpool, it would free up striker Rickie Lambert, 33, to leave Anfield for West Brom.””

    And Berhinho(?) to the Toon?

  • 80 Lindisfarne // Jul 17, 2015 at 8:13 AM

    How about Valencia from MU at right back and Janmaat in the middle, with Dummett/Collo/Taylor?

  • 81 Lilongwe Geordie // Jul 17, 2015 at 8:16 AM

    Will Die for,
    I hope that isn’t what he does. We would be losing far too many players without suitable replacements. I’d keep one out of Colo and Willo, Cisse, and Tiote from your list.

  • 82 will die for the toon army // Jul 17, 2015 at 8:18 AM

    When is Pardew coming for Woodman?

  • 83 Lilongwe Geordie // Jul 17, 2015 at 8:19 AM

    No to Valencia, and no to Janmaat playing in the centre. He can do a job there, but we should be signing players to play in their best position. Valencia is a winger turned full back because Ferguson’s teams dominated opposition most of the time. Much prefer to keep Janmaat right back and sign a dominant and talkative centre half.

  • 84 mickalfas // Jul 17, 2015 at 8:19 AM

    Have we give up on Mitrovic now?
    Pointless giving a deadline and not sticking to it ,move on ffs
    Have we actually made any offer for Austin,speculation is that he’s waiting for Chelsea ,wtf ,are they even interested?
    Time is short ,Penfold ,put the hobnobs down and do something
    If noone else comes ,how are we going to make our own luck?
    Absolute bollocks ,that speech

  • 85 YouCouldn'tMakeItUp // Jul 17, 2015 at 8:22 AM

    RIP Liam and John. Can’t believe it’s a year already.

  • 86 Lindisfarne // Jul 17, 2015 at 8:22 AM

    Younger right back options:
    Jon Flanagan
    Sam Byram

    All with contracts that expire by 2016

  • 87 mickalfas // Jul 17, 2015 at 8:28 AM

    Benteke to Liverpool
    Austin to Villa?

  • 88 Jib // Jul 17, 2015 at 8:37 AM


    John and Liam

    Howay the Lads

  • 89 ashleysmate // Jul 17, 2015 at 11:16 AM

    There’s only 1 JOHN and LIAM
    God bless

previous post: Chelsea Reported After Mitrovic In Last Minute Deal

next post: Newcastle Launch £15M Bid For Austin