MH17: Tragedy unites Tyneside rivals

English Premier League arch-rivals Newcastle United and Sunderland show solidarity in the midst of MH17 tragedy

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Newcastle manager, Alan Pardew, wants to dedicate the new season to the two Newcastle fans that were killed when the flight MH17 was shot down in Ukraine borders last week. Newcastle played Sydney FC on Tuesday and the two fans were travelling on board the ill-fated flight en-route to New Zealand to support their team in a pre-season match leading up to the new Premier League 2014/15 season.

 “None of us would be sitting here without the fans. Owners and managers come and go, as do players, but the fans are always there, and these two guys in particular, to go to the lengths that they did to get out here, has brought home just how important supporters are to us,” Pardew said.

He went on to say, “Sometimes when you lose lives in that manner, it puts into context what we do. This season we want to give their families something to remember them by, by having a successful season.”

Tributes to John Alder and Liam Sweeney have poured in since the incident was made known. The club has paid its tribute at the Sir Bobby Robson statue at St James’ Park while fellow Newcastle fans have also put in their words of support to the families and friends of the duo.

Even cross-town rival fans of Sunderland have also done their part to help by raising money to buy flowers to lay at St James’ Park. An excess of £22,000 was reached within days and it shows that rivalry only extends up to a certain point.