Sadly, Newcastle United’s trip to New Zealand will live long in the memory of all those connected with the club for all the wrong reasons following the tragic loss of two of the Toon Army’s most loyal members, John Alder (63) and Liam Sweeney (28), both of whom were on board the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 which was gunned down last week.
Nevertheless, Newcastle’s manager, Alan Pardew, provided a moment of light relief upon his team’s arrival at Dunedin Airport on Sunday. Never one to shy away from the media spotlight, Pardew happily locked horns with a local in the arrivals lounge as he took part in a traditional Maori ‘hongi’ greeting.
Touching down ahead of a two-game stint Down Under, the 53 year old cut an altogether more relaxed figure than the one who ‘greeted’ Hull City’s David Meyler in similar fashion on 1st March. While he paid a heavy price for that particular misdemeanour with a lengthy touchline and stadium ban, at least Pardew can rest easy knowing that he has a ready-made explanation if he ever decides to lob the gob on someone ‘Glasgow-style’ again.