Sunderland fans’ ball for Newcastle fans killed in flight MH17 tragedy raises £4,000

KITTED OUT: From left, Steve Bell, assistant to the organisers, Liam Sweeney's dad Barry, and ball host Ian Sutherland, with football strips auctioned off at the ball.
KITTED OUT: From left, Steve Bell, assistant to the organisers, Liam Sweeney's dad Barry, and ball host Ian Sutherland, with football strips auctioned off at the ball.

A FUND-RAISING ball held by Sunderland supporters in honour of two tragic Newcastle United fans has raised more than £4,200.

Black Cats devotees arranged the event in tribute to Liam Sweeney and John Alder, who died when the Malaysian Airways flight MH17 crashed last July, as the pair headed to watch Newcastle United play in New Zealand.

If both teams were half as good as their supporters Sunderland and Newcastle would be in the champions league every year.

Ian Sutherland, ball organiser

The sell-out ball at the Roker Hotel pledged funds to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, the charity Liam’s family has chosen to back in his memory.

It was organised by Ian Sutherland, 49, from Hetton, who works for Morrisons in Jarrow.

Liam, 28, had worked for the supermarket at its Killingworth store.

Ian said: “If both teams were half as good as their supporters, Sunderland and Newcastle would be in the Champions League every year.

“We had a brilliant night and raised a remarkable amount, with a great deal of respect gained between both sets of fans with lasting friendships formed.

“It was a fitting tribute to Liam and John.

“May I add a big thank you to all my friends, guests and local businesses in Hetton that supported me on the evening.”