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Newcastle United players arrive at the airport to fly to New Zealand

Yoan Gouffran and Massadio Haidara
Yoan Gouffran and Massadio Haidara Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Players arrive at Newcastle Airport to fly out to New Zealand for a pre-season friendly.

Superfans John Alder and Liam Sweeney were flying out ahead of the team but tragically lost their lives in the Malaysian Airlines crash.

Mike Williamson
Mike Williamson
Jack Colback
Jack Colback
Mehdi Abid & Vurnon Anita
Mehdi Abid & Vurnon Anita
Steven Taylor
Steven Taylor
Steve Stone
Coach Steve Stone
Emmanuel Rivière
New signing Emmanuel Rivière
 Fabricio Coloccini, Ayoze Perez & Siem De Jong
Fabricio Coloccini, Ayoze Perez & Siem De Jong

Liam Sweeney's father - Barry - visits the St James' Park memorial for him and John Alder

Barry Sweenery
Barry Sweeney Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Liam Sweeney's father - Barry - visits the memorial for him and John Alder at St James Park.

Liam and John were great friends and even bigger NUFC fans who were tragically killed in the Malaysian Airlines crash as they were travelling to New Zealand to watch their team.

Barry said: "He was a kind, generous, hard working lad who was on his way to watch football and he ends up being killed by an act of war.

"Someone has to be held responsible for what happened to my lad.

"If someone hurts your family there are things you can do about but when it's a government or a country there's nothing we can do, we can't go to war.

"It was a terrible act of terrorism and it's cost the life of my son and so many others, people from all over the world.

"The governments need to get together and find a solution to this before more innocent lives are lost.

"My boy was excited to be travelling to watch a game of football he had no part or interest in any of this conflict. How could this happen to him?"

barry sweeney
Barry Sweeney Credit: ITV Tyne Tees
barry sweeney
Barry Sweeney and family at St James' Park memorial Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

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John Alder - killed travelling to support his beloved NUFC in New Zealand

John Alder
John Alder Credit: @paul_blacklock

John Alder was killed in the Malaysian Airlines crash which came down over eastern Ukraine.

His friend Liam Sweeney's father said: "He and John Alder were great friends and both committed to Newcastle to the same extent."

His friend tweeted:

Barry Sweeney - Liam's father - pays tribute to his son

liam sweeney
Liam - second from right - with family Credit: Barry Sweeney

Liam Sweeney's father Barry, 52, a full time carer for his wife Lesley, 53, said: "It is very difficult to accept what has happened, it's surreal.

"He was a kind, generous, hard working lad who was on his way to watch football and he ends up being killed by an act of war.

"Someone has to be held responsible for what happened to my lad.

"If someone hurts your family there are things you can do about but when it's a government or a country there's nothing we can do, we can't go to war.

"It was a terrible act of terrorism and it's cost the life of my son and so many others, people from all over the world.

"The governments need to get together and find a solution to this before more innocent lives are lost.

"My boy was excited to be travelling to watch a game of football he had no part or interest in any of this conflict. How could this happen to him?"

Liam left St Cuthbert's Catholic School in Newcastle at 16 and went to work for Morrisons supermarket where he has worked ever since.

Mr Sweeney said: "His job was just a means of earning enough money to follow Newcastle United, he lived for the club.

"We've just heard that there will be a tribute to him and john before the opening game of the season against Manchester City.

"He'll be looking down from above with a smile on his face at that.

"The last time I saw him was on Monday when he came here to collect some football tickets.

"He was really excited to be flying out and planned to stay eight days.

"He and John Alder were great friends and both committed to Newcastle to the same extent.

"Liam would get called the Big Friendly Giant, he was a gentle lad and never hurt a soul. For him to die through an act of such violence is cruel.

"He went to work, paid his dues and never got into trouble. He'd done nothing to deserve this and neither had anyone else on board that flight.

"I can't even begin to say how much I'll miss my son he was a smashing lad. I'd meet him for a pint before the matches and catch up on what he'd been doing.

"He lived with a mate in Newcastle and enjoyed his life, the whole family is distraught.

"My wife Lesley, his step mum, is suffering terminal lung disease, which we've coped with the best we could.

"She's in a terrible state right now and is finding it hard to accept that we're arranging Liam's funeral, that he's gone.

"I had a terrible feeling when I heard the news of the plane being shot down. Somehow I just knew and then the police arrived to confirm it.

"It never occurred to me his plane would be flying over Ukraine and Russia, that seems so far removed from us here in Newcastle but now it's made a huge hole on our lives and I'm not sure how to start coping with it."

NUFC footballers past and present tweet their condolences to John Alder and Liam Sweeney

Ghspqyg-_normal

Gutted to hear about John Adler and Liam Sweeney..2 of the loyalist nufc fans going..RIP http://t.co/5sQAPdYcvs

Bs0qfuyimaar1b-
F53037ea98eb6e9d5457eeb6f90a467d_normal

Awful news about the two Newcastle fans on the Malaysian flight that came down. Thoughts go out to their families & friends.

Hryexdb-_normal

All my prayers are going to the two Newcastle fans died in the flight yesterday.

Trsrldt0_normal

R.I.P to all involved in flight MH17 crash. Especially the 2 NUFC fans. Thoughts with families of John Alder and Liam Sweeney

Jhgb9ozl_normal

Very sad to hear about the 2 NUFC fans who were involved in the plane crash yesterday. My thoughts and prayers are with there families ?

B88b118ac4509cef239735e976ec421a_normal

Devastated to hear that two Newcastle United fans died on the Malaysian flight. Thoughts are with all the families at this tragic time RIP x

Fay-8wqq_normal

2 Geordies on plane MH17 travelling to watch Nufc in New Zealand. RIP John Adler and Liam Sweeney.. Our thoughts are with all the families!

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