'Hurt' Newcastle determined to honour fans

Alan Pardew.
Alan Pardew.
Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew says his team will aim to put on a show in memory of two fans killed in last week's Malaysia Airlines crash.

The English club will wear black armbands in tonight's game against Sydney FC in Dunedin in memory of John Alder and Liam Sweeney, and there will be a minute's silence.

The pair were heading to New Zealand for the Football United tour, which starts at Forsyth Barr Stadium, when MH17 went down in Eastern Ukraine.

''I think it's important we represent ourselves in the right manner, especially in light of losing John and Liam,'' Pardew said yesterday.

''We need to conduct ourselves well on the pitch and off the pitch, and get some strong results. That's what they would have wanted, and that's what we want.

''In memory of those guys, in particular, we want this tour to be as successful as we can possibly make it.

''It's hurt the group. It's a tragic loss, an unbelievable event. We feel for the families. Therefore, we want to try to do our part.''

Pardew said he would also field a strong starting XI and encourage his players to express themselves under the roof.

Pardew said Mr Alder, in particular, was a regular sight at Newcastle United events and games.

He was such a devoted fan he had not missed a top game since 1973, and was included in a hall of fame for supporters.

''None of us would be sitting here without our fans. Owners, managers and players come and go, but the fans are always here,'' Pardew said.

''It puts what we do into context when lives are lost in this manner.''

Fans of Sunderland, Newcastle's fierce local rival, have raised thousands of pounds for the families of the victims.

That was a fantastic gesture, Pardew said.

''There's a lot made of the rivalry between the two cities, and of course that is there. But I'd like to thank all the Sunderland fans who have paid tribute.

"They've already raised a staggering amount. I'm very proud of Sunderland Football Club.''