Let’s Play This Derby Game In The Spirit Of John And Liam

The tragic flight of MH17 on July 17th of 2014 will never be forgotten and the plane was brought down over Ukraine by a Russian-made BUK missile fired from rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine.

On the flight were two Newcastle supporters – 63 year-old John Alder and 28 year-old Liam Sweeney – and they died with the rest of the 298 passengers on board.

They were on their way to watch Newcastle team play in New Zealand on their summer tour.

We will never forget them.

john alder liam sweeney

John Alder and Liam Sweeney

And the Sunderland fans were fantastic in their support and one particular fan Sunderland fan Gary Ferguson, created a fundraising page.

This is what Gary said at the time:

“We may be Sunderland fans who traditionally have deep rivalry with Newcastle, but there are things far more important than any football game.

“The incredibly sad news that has emerged this week about two Newcastle fans who have passed has left us all shocked and deeply saddened.

“Donating here will help pay for a floral tribute to those fans and to unity between the two clubs. Thank you for your time, effort and donations.

RIP to John Alder and Liam Sweeney, who were both far too young.”

The story took off and it was news around the world and Sunderland AFC as well as their fans were also magnanimous  in their condolences and support and thousands of pounds were raised by the fund raising.

The two north-east clubs and the two sets of fans came together at the time to honor John and Liam.

Alan Pardew, Newcastle United manager at the time had this to say:

“Their dedication to travel to support us in New Zealand tells you all you need to know about the passion they had for Newcastle United.”

We will have one minute’s applause for them in the 17th minute of tomorrow’s game.

For every fan at the Stadium of Light tomorrow we hope the support you give for whatever team you support – will be in the spirit of John and Liam.

Let’s ensure there will be no trouble between the fans before, during or after the game tomorrow.

Let’s use this game to honor John Alder and Liam Sweeney and their memory.