Joey Barton praises Sunderland fans for 'touch of class' in Newcastle clash

Joey Barton Marseille

The Sunderland fans respected the 17th minute applause for two Newcastle fans who lost their life in the MH17 air disaster.

Sunderland welcomed Newcastle United to the Stadium of Light yesterday for a predictably feisty Tyne-Wear derby. Added spice was present due to both team’s recent struggles and of course the presence of Jack Colback.

The midfielder left Sunderland for Newcastle in the summer and it was clear to see that Sunderland fans were not in a forgiving mood.

But there was a great moment in the game when fans forgot their rivalry and combined as one. In the 17th minute, both sets of fans put their hands together to remember the lives of Liam Sweeney and John Alder. Both lost their lives when their plane, MH17, was shot down over Ukraine in July last year.

They were on their way to watch Newcastle in New Zealand and both sets of fans rightly acknowledged the tragedy in sombre fashion.

It even got one outspoken former Newcastle player Tweeting. Joey Barton, who spent four years at St James Park, rarely has kind words to say about Sunderland fans – but he was happy to acknowledge their class act yesterday.

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