St James' Park falls silent in honour of two Newcastle fans killed in Malaysia Airlines tragedy

A badge on a replica club shirt as a tribute to Newcastle United supporter Liam Sweeney who lost his life in the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 disaster, outside the ground before the Barclays Premier League match at St James' Park

A badge on a replica club shirt as a tribute to Newcastle United supporter Liam Sweeney who lost his life in the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 disaster, outside the ground before the Barclays Premier League match at St James' Park

First published in News
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

A MINUTE'S silence was observed by fans at St James' Park today (Sunday, August 17) as fans paid tribute to two Newcastle United fans who died on the doomed Flight MH17.

Liam Sweeney, 28, and John Alder, 63, were killed when a Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down over war-torn Ukraine, as they travelled to see their beloved Magpies play in New Zealand.

Family members were greeted with huge applause as they laid flowers in the centre circle of the stadium ahead of the game against Manchester City.

Liam’s father Barrie and mother Angela were accompanied by Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini and City counterpart Vincent Kompany, as well as former Sunderland goalkeeper Jimmy Montgomery, who laid a wreath of red and white flowers on behalf of Black Cats fans.

The referee’s whistle marked the beginning of a minute’s silence - which was impeccably observed.

Liam’s family were invited to watch the match from an executive box , while Liam’s brother Marc, 25, chose to sit in his own seat next to Liam’s, which remained empty.

In the 17th minute, fans broke into spontaneous applause to mark the date and flight number of the fateful aircraft.

In his programme notes, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew paid tribute to the club's "most loyal fans", as well as to Newcastle University students, Aidan Brunger and Neil Dalton, who were stabbed to death in Borneo recently.

He said: "We lost two of our most loyal supporters in John Alder and Liam Sweeney last month, and I know everyone will join myself and all in our dressing room in endorsing the efforts the club have made and are continuing to make to ensure their memories will live on. They will not be forgotten by any of us.

"The same goes for Newcastle University students Aidan Brunger and Neil Dalton, who lost their lives in a horrible incident in Borneo.

"Aidan spent some time at our training ground last season and a number of staff got to know him, so it was especially difficult news to digest. Our condolences go to the families of all four lost souls."

Meanwhile, hundreds of members of staff at Morrisons stores pulled on the Magpies’ black and white, in honour of co-worker Liam yesterday (Saturday).

His parents visited the Killingworth Centre store where Liam worked.

Store manager Adrian Farrage said: “Liam was a quiet man who worked very hard.

"He was very genuine and polite and is missed by all."

Liam’s body was driven back to the region last week and the family are making preparations for a funeral on Thursday.

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