Fan’s parting gift

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Fan’s parting gift

Fan’s parting gift

Posted: 23 Feb 2015

Pictured: John's nephew Peter Robbins

Newcastle United fan John Alder’s collection of football memorabilia raised £26,000 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation following an auction at St James’ Park.

Bidders from across the UK and as far afield as Singapore, Dubai and Vancouver vied for the lots. A Newcastle resident secured the top two.

John from Low Fell was one of 298 people who lost their lives when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine in July last year.

Along with fellow fan, Liam Sweeney, he was travelling to New Zealand to watch Newcastle United play in a pre-season tournament.

Their deaths sparked a new tradition at St James’ Park when fans stand and applaud the pair on the 17th minute of each home game. 

John missed just one Newcastle United game, home and away, in 40 years. He was also an avid collector of football memorabilia and his home was full of boxes of carefully stored match programmes.

His family donated the collection to help the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and, with the support of Anderson and Garland Auctioneers and Newcastle United, it was auctioned at St James’ Park.

Thousands of match programmes, tickets and books went under the hammer, dating from 1920s to the present day.

Joyce Robbins, John’s sister, said: “We’ve got mixed emotions. This collection was so precious to John, and 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 Robson added: “It was a hugely generous and thoughtful gesture and the money raised will go on to help other people through the charity. We’re very grateful to John’s family and to everyone who has contributed to making this auction such a success.”

 Anderson and Garland and Newcastle United offered their services free of charge to help John’s family and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. The PR team at Sarah Hall Consulting Ltd, Anderson and Garland’s carrier Gary Cook and also volunteered their services at no cost, which meant the collection was available for anyone via the internet.

John’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. 

These 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:


·      1924 Newcastle United v Aston Villa FA Cup Final £3,200

·      John Alder’s match scarf £200 – purchased by his family

·      1970 Pecsi Dozsa v Newcastle United Fairs Cup tie £1,800

·      Oldham v Newcastle United match programme £240 – purchased by his family – from Newcastle United’s pre-season friendly at Oldham Athletic on 15 July 2014 which was the final game John attended


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