21 July 2014 13:15
Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew is eager to mastermind a successful season in memory of fans killed in the Malaysian Airlines tragedy.
John Alder and Liam Sweeney were en route to New Zealand for the Premier League club’s pre-season tour when their plane came down last Thursday.
The Newcastle supporters were among 298 people who died, and Pardew is determined to honour their memories on the field during the current tour and when the new campaign commences next month.
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 (against Sydney FC) I will be playing a very strong side. That is only right and fair in light of what’s happened.”
Pardew also expressed his gratitude to fans of rivals Sunderland, who have raised over £20,000 in tribute to Alder and Sweeney.
“A lot is made of the rivalry between the two cities, and of course that is there,” he added.
“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.”