Newcastle United confirm two fans died in Malaysian Airlines crash

A general view shows the pitch and stands inside of St James' Park the home of English Premier League football team Newcastle United taken on December 3, 2011
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Newcastle United confirm that supporters John Alder and Liam Sweeney lost their lives in the Malaysian Airlines crash in Ukraine.

Newcastle United have confirmed that two of their supporters passed away in the Malaysian Airlines crash in Ukraine while travelling to New Zealand to watch the Magpies.

Flight MH17 crashed on Thursday afternoon with 298 people on board, two of whom have been named as John Alder and Liam Sweeney.

The Premier League club have confirmed that the two "loyal supporters" were flying out to New Zealand to watch their team perform in their upcoming pre-season tour in Dunedin and Wellington.

A statement on Newcastle's official website said: "John was a lifelong supporter and a familiar sight in the stands for almost half a century, having barely missed a single game in that time.

"Liam will be known to many fans during his time volunteering as a steward on supporters' buses to away games."

Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley said: "The loss of John and Liam is truly devastating news. Both men were dedicated supporters of our club and were known to thousands of fans and staff alike.

"On behalf of everyone at Newcastle United we send our deepest condolences to John and Liam's families and friends. The club will be dedicating an area surrounding the Sir Bobby Robson statue for fans to pay their respects to John and Liam."

Manager Alan Pardew and the players will wear black armbands during their games against Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix.

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