sport

Newcastle plan fans tribute

Newcastle will honour two of their supporters who died on board flight MH17 by holding a minute’s silence ahead of their first Premier League match of the season against Manchester City.

John Alder, 63, and Liam Sweeney, 28, were on the fateful Malaysia Airlines flight as they made their way to New Zealand to watch Newcastle play in two friendly matches.

Newcastle captain Fabricio Coloccini and Manchester City skipper Vincent Kompany - accompanied by members of the two fans' families - will lay wreaths in the centre circle before kick-off.

Sunderland, whose supporters put their bitter rivalry aside to raise 33,000 for local good causes in honour of the men, will be represented by former goalkeeper Jimmy Montgomery.

Manchester City supporters will also unfurl a banner paying tribute to the two men.

Newcastle's managing director Lee Charnley said: "Our thoughts and our primary concern since the tragic events of 17th July have been focused on supporting the families of John and Liam in any way we can, and paying tribute to the two men in an appropriate and respectful way to reflect the sorrow felt not just from our supporters, staff, management and players but from the football community as a whole.

"We have received so many messages of condolence from across the football family and the compassion expressed by supporters of all allegiances has been very touching.

"We all understand that our supporters travel significant distances and make many sacrifices to support their respective teams, and the fact John and Liam lost their lives in the course of travelling across the world to support their team is something felt by everyone.

"What has been particularly heartening has been the tremendous support shown by the staff and supporters of Sunderland. I would like to pay particular thanks and respect to Gary Ferguson whose incredible fundraising efforts have to date raised 33,000 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and the Marie Curie Hospice in Newcastle, at the request of both families.

"The North East is an amazing place and the sentiments and actions since this tragedy have shown that in times of difficulty the region comes together as one - black and white or red and white."