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John and Liam, Rest in Peace

We all now know that two well-known Newcastle fans, John Alder and Liam Sweeney, tragically perished in the Malaysian flight MH17 disaster.

As a regular home and away match-goer for many years I was shocked to hear that John 'The Undertaker' Alder was killed. I can't remember an away game when I haven't seen him and only recently spotted him at the Conference playoff final at Wembley in June.

Both lads will be a big miss but their untimely deaths have led to some wonderful, unprecedented bonding between the supporters of Newcastle and Sunderland.

The reaction of the Sunderland supporters has been incredible. A fundraising appeal, initially launched to raise money for a floral tribute from Wearside, had passed the 11,000 pound mark by Saturday afternoon and when I took my two children to lay scarves the memorial at St James' on Saturday afternoon, we were all moved by their obvious, genuine heartfelt condolences.

Rest in Peace, lads.