ALAN Pardew says Newcastle United will continue to honour the memory of fans John Alder and Liam Sweeney.
The pair lost their lives on the way to watch the Magpies take part in the Football United Tour 2014 in New Zealand.
Alder and Sweeney were on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was shot down over an area of eastern Ukraine occupied by pro-Russian separatists.
Fans have laid floral tributes and shirts outside St James’s Park since their deaths and an online appeal set up by a Sunderland supporter has raised more than £30,000 in their memory for two North East-based charities.
United manager Pardew and captain Fabricio Coloccini laid wreaths on their seats before Newcastle’s game against Sydney FC at the Forsyth Barr Stadium on Tuesday.
Pardew said the news of their passing had a huge impact on his players.
Asked about laying the wreath before the game, Pardew said: “It was emotional.
“Don’t under-estimate the impact that’s had on us, because it brings home the commitment our fans show to see us.
“John’s story (he had only missed one game since 1973) is remarkable.
“For them to have been travelling out there and lost their lives in that tragic event ... we’ve had to do our very best, and do it in the right way.
“Hopefully, we have and we will continue to do that. It’s important that their memory stays alive.”
United are planning to pay tribute to Alder and Sweeney before the season-opener against Manchester City on August 17.