Tragic Newcastle United fan’s collection raises £26,000 for charity

CHARITY ... Peter Robbins, John Alder's nephew, with a copy of the 1924 FA CUp Final programme sold  to raise funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation
CHARITY ... Peter Robbins, John Alder's nephew, with a copy of the 1924 FA CUp Final programme sold to raise funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation

THE football memorabilia belonging to a Newcastle United fan who died when his plane was shot down has raised £26,000 for a North East charity.

Bidders from across the globe vied for the NUFC merchandise belonging to John Alder from Low Fell, Gateshead.

The 63–year–old was with fellow footy fan Liam Sweeny, when their plane – Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 – was shot down over Ukraine in July last year, as they were travelling to New Zealand to watch Newcastle United play in a pre-season tournament.

Mr Alder’s family donated the Magpie fan’s collection to help out the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and, with support of Anderson and Garland Auctioneers and Newcastle United, it was auctioned at St James’ Park, earlier today.

Mr Alder’s extensive collection included match programmes from the 1924 onwards which he sought from other collectors as well a tremendous volume of programmes and tickets from games he attended over 40 years following Newcastle United.

It also include rarities from pre-season friendly fixtures, like Newcastle United’s tour of Southern Africa during 1952, to John’s one and only NUFC scarf.

Key lots included match memorabilia from NUFC fixtures including the 1924 Newcastle United v Aston Villa FA Cup Final which went for £3,200. Mr Alder’s match scarf which his family bought for £200 and a 1970 Pecsi Dozsa v Newcastle United Fairs Cup tie which raised. £1,800

Joyce Robbins, Mr Alder’s sister, said: “We’ve got mixed emotions today really.

“This collection was so precious to John. I don’t think even he would know what we should do with it. It was his passion.

“When we first went to the house after he died we got a shock. We knew he was collecting but it seemed to have spread all over the house. We were a bit overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do with it all. My daughter suggested we donate it to charity and the rest of the family.

“I’m very touched that people have got behind this auction and stunned by all the help we’ve received.”

Lady Elsie, Sir Bobby’s wife, said: “We’re very proud that John’s family donated his marvellous collection to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

“It was a hugely generous and thoughtful gesture and the money raised will go on to help other people through the charity.

“I know today was bitter sweet for John’s family. We’re very grateful to them and to everyone who has contributed to making this auction such a success.”

Lee Charnley, managing director of Newcastle United, added: “We are honoured to have held the auction of John’s incredible Newcastle United collection here at St James’ Park, where he came to support generations of players.

“The generosity of John’s family in donating so many important items is incredibly touching and will give great support to a cause which is close to everyone connected with the club.”