Tributes pour in for Newcastle United fans killed in Malaysia Airlines plane crash

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12:01am

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Almost £1,300 had been raised by midnight by Sunderland fans wanting to pay floral tribute to the two Newcastle fans killed in the tragedy. If you want more information visit http://www.gofundme.com/brx6wk

11:23pm

The British Government has joined the United States in blaming pro-Russian separatists for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Ukraine.

Downing Street said it appeared "increasingly likely" that the catastrophe, which claimed the lives of ten Britons, was the result of a surface-to-air missile fired from near Torez, in territory controlled by rebels seeking closer ties to Moscow.

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6:52pm

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Newcastle players arrive at the airport tonight ready to fly to New Zealand for two friendly matches.

 

6:07pm

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Mourners visit the tribute to Liam Sweeney and John Alder at St James' Park
 

6:04pm

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Liam Sweeney's father Barry Sweeney visits the memorial to his son at the Sir Bobbby Robson statue at St James' Park, Newcastle.

4:33pm

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Liam Sweeney's father Barry Sweeney, holding a photo of his son when aged 11.

4:23pm

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Tributes left at the Sir Bobby Robson statue outside St James' Park this morning.

4:23pm

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A friend of Newcastle United fans John Alder and Liam Sweeney, who both lost their lives on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 yesterday takes a moment to look at the tributes left at the Sir Bobby Robson statue outside St James' Park this morning.

4:22pm

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A friend of Newcastle United fans John Alder and Liam Sweeney, who both lost their lives on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 yesterday takes a moment to look at the tributes left at the Sir Bobby Robson statue outside St James' Park this morning.

4:15pm

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Liam Sweeney, pictured aged 28. His family said today: "We all can't believe it, he was so happy when he managed to afford to go to New Zealand to follow his team- we've had some lovely messages from everyone that knew him."

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Liam Sweeney, pictured aged 25.

4:09pm

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Liam Sweeney, pictured aged 17. His brother Marc said today: "Our Liam was such a lovely lad and a loyal Newcastle United fan, he loved that club, they were his everything."

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Devoted Newcastle fan, Liam Sweeney, pictured aged 11.

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Liam Sweeney, who died in the Malaysia Airlines crash, pictured aged 5.

2:54pm

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A new picture of Newcastle fan John Alder who was killed on the Malaysia Airlines flight has been released

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A worker at the Newcastle United memorabilia shop close to St James' Park said:

"We are all completely in shock. I knew John really well from all of the matches.

"John must hold the record for the most games ever attended by a fan. I remember him boasting that he hasn't missed a Newcastle match since 1973.

That's pretty good for a man in his 50s!

"It shows how passionate he was that he was on a flight to New Zealand to see his beloved team play.

"John was nicknamed The Undertaker because he had a tight group of friends and he would attend all the matches in a black suit and white shirt. This news is just unbelievable we are completely shocked."

2:31pm

Liam Sweeney's 28-year-old's brother Marc paid tribute to him from the family home in the Westerhope area of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

He said: "Our Liam was such a lovely lad and a loyal Newcastle United fan, he loved that club, they were his everything.

"We all can't believe it, he was so happy when he managed to afford to go to New Zealand to follow his team- we've had some lovely messages from everyone that knew him.

1:08pm

Mr Alder's neighbour in Gateshead, Margaret Bambra, 66, has paid tribute to him.

She said: ''I have known him for about 40 years. We all knew him as 'the Undertaker' because he always wore a black suit and white shirt to every match.

''He was a lovely guy, never bothering anyone. He went to every game, he never missed a match. He was Newcastle-mad.

''I really cannot believe it - it's totally devastating. He did not deserve this.''

1:05pm

The Advertiser Series: Liam Sweeney

First picture of Newcastle fan Liam Sweeney who was on board the Malaysia Airlines flight when it was shot down over Ukraine

12:44pm

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Newcastle United have set up an area around the Sir Bobby Robson memorial statue for fans to pay their respects.

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One message reads: "Truly devastated. Rest in peace. Love Diane X"

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Tributes left at the Sir Bobby Robson statue outside St James' Park this morning.

12:39pm

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A shirt with John Alder's name on the back is among the tributes left at St James' Park

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The Advertiser Series: John Alder

First picture of Newcastle fan John Alder who was on board the Malaysia Airlines flight which was shot down in Ukraine

11:58am

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Statement on Newcastle fans' site NUFC.com: "We're desperately sad to report that they were John Alder and Liam Sweeney. Both were well known to away followers, particularly John, whose usual matchday attire led to the affectionate nickname of "The Undertaker".  
"Both were in attendance at Oldham on Tuesday, doing what they loved. Our thoughts are with their friends, families and the many fans who knew them by sight.
"Watching Newcastle will never be the same again."

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Newcastle United 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.”

11:39am

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Manager Alan Pardew said: "Myself and all the players are deeply shocked and saddened by this terrible news.

"We all knew how passionately John and Liam supported the team and the Club.

"They were with us just earlier this week for our first pre-season friendly against Oldham and their dedication to travel all the way around the world to support us in New Zealand tells you all you need to know about the passion they had for Newcastle United.

"Our hearts go out to their families and friends."

11:37am

This morning broke the tragic news that on board the Malaysia Airlines flight which killed 290 people when it crashed in Ukraine yesterday were two Newcastle United fans - John "The Undertaker" Alder and Liam Sweeney.

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