Alan Pardew vows to honour fans
Alan Pardew has vowed to honour the memory of the Newcastle United fans who died in the Malaysian Airlines tragedy last week.
John Alder and Liam Sweeney were travelling to New Zealand to watch Newcastle play when flight MH17 came down in eastern Ukraine and Pardew told a press conference: "None of us would be sitting here without the fans.
"Owners and managers come and go, as do players, but the fans are always there, and these two guys in particular -- to go to the lengths that they did to get out here has brought home just how important supporters are to us.
"Sometimes when you lose lives in that manner, it puts into context what we do. This season, we want to give their families something to remember them by, by having a successful season."
Newcastle face Sydney FC in a friendly on Tuesday and Pardew said he would field a strong side.
He said: "It's important we represent ourselves in the right manner, especially after losing John and Liam -- our supporters who were travelling out here.
"We have to conduct ourselves well on and off the pitch and get some strong results. That is what they would have wanted and that is what we want, so in memory of those guys in particular, we want this to be a successful tour.
"We have to honour these guys in the right manner because it does mean a lot to us. Their tragic loss has hurt the group. On Tuesday, I will be playing a very strong side. That is only right and fair in light of what's happened."
Sunderland fan Gary Ferguson set up a page to raise 100 pounds to buy flowers to lay at St James' Park, writing: "We may be Sunderland fans, who traditionally have deep rivalry with Newcastle, but there are things far more important than any football games."
His target was quickly exceeded as fans of other clubs became involved, with the total approaching 25,000 pounds by Monday lunchtime.
Pardew said: "A lot is made of the rivalry between the two cities, and of course that is there, but I would like to thank all the Sunderland fans who have paid tribute and helped raise a staggering amount already.
"I am very proud of Sunderland Football Club for the way they have conducted themselves and I want to thank them."
Information from the Press Association was used in this report