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Police appeal to fans ahead of Wear-Tyne derby
POLICE have appealed to fans help ensure Sunday’s Wear-Tyne derby is remembered for on-the-field action, not off-the-field violence.
Trouble broke out on the streets around Newcastle United’s St James’ Park following Sunderland’s shock 3-0 win in the last derby, on Sunday, April 14.
More than 100 people were arrested, of which 92 have been charged. Yesterday (Thursday, October 24), a Newcastle fan was jailed for punching a police horse, Bud – who will be back on duty this weekend.
But Northumbria Police Chief Superintendent Steve Neill, who is in charge of ensuring Sunday’s match passes off safely, insisted the force’s contingency plans had worked effectively at St James’ Park.
Looking ahead to this weekend, he said: “My plea to fans is to come to enjoy the occasion, make it a spectacular one for the North-East, support your team with passion and, whatever the result, let’s make sure it reflects positive on the North-East and is remembered for the football, and nothing off the pitch.”
He urged fans to arrive early and listen to stewards’ directions. Turnstiles will be open from noon and Sunderland fans can use any one to enter the stadium.
Access to the North Stand will be limited for home fans. Those with seats in the lower North Stand can use the East or West Stand turnstiles.
Planning for the derby began as soon as this season’s fixtures were announced, with the police, fire brigade, ambulance service, both clubs, both councils, British Transport Police and transport providers all involved.
Kick-off has been brought forward to 1.30pm and Newcastle fans are invited to travel on coaches laid on by the Magpies. Tickets are £4, with proceeds going to charity.
The so-called “ring of steel” barriers will again be deployed, with Chief Supt saying they had worked well in creating a “sterile area”.
Extra officers will be on patrol and on trains and the Metro.
Chief Supt Neill said: “We are very thoroughly prepared. We’re positive and confident and looking forward to it. We really enjoy policing it.”
Asked what result he was hoping for, he said a 0-0 draw with lots of rain.
Sunderland are looking for their first win of the season in new manager Gus Poyet’s first home game, while Newcastle will want to build on last weekend’s draw with Liverpool.
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