PRIOR to a woeful 90 minutes of football from Newcastle, the atmosphere in the city had been a little tense, but was largely good-natured. It even had something of a carnival feel.
People wore the club’s colours of black and white proudly and were hopeful of revenge on the Wearside visitors following last year’s 3-0 drubbing that caused a riot.
One particular incident stuck in people’s minds and as a gang of supporters spotted mounted police, one of the group said: “Hold on lads, I’m just ganna knock that horse oot.”
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“Gan on son,” his mate joked.
They were queuing to get in Nine, the bar outside the ground formerly known as Shearer’s, and inside it felt like New Year’s Eve; rammed with music blasting out and people not wearing Magpies’ kits were dressed ready for a night out, despite the early start.
But within minutes of the game beginning the optimism drained out of the bar, like so many beer glasses were drained of their contents, as Sunderland scored from the penalty spot, then again with a well-made goal in open play.
By the time the third and final nail was sunk into Newcastle’s coffin, the Geordie Nation knew it had no chance.
Tellingly, before kick off the DJ had played I Predict a Riot by the Kaiser Chiefs and when the final whistle went, with the score line a repeat of last year, so too did most of the crowd.
The bar and ground emptied and as many thousands made their way from the ground there appeared to be an influx of hundreds of younger fans, many not thought to have been at the game, with scarves across their face who ran up to the lines of waiting police.
The chants of Get Out Of Our Club were for sportswear billionaire owner Mike Ashley, but menacing gestures were also made towards the army of luminous uniformed officers, poised and ready to act.
Smoke grenades and exploding fireworks were set off, spooking the horses, and as one smoking canister was thrown at police they pulled on riot helmets and prepared to disperse the crowd by slowly moving them away with a walking wall of officers.
One car held up in traffic by the police road block was surrounded by fans and rocked for a short time, but officers kept their position and those responsible quickly left the scene without further incident.
As the red and white colours of Sunderland was spotted, their supporters more upbeat, Newcastle fans turned their anger on them and made their way past the City Walls with a view to confronting the opposition, only to be denied by more lines of officers, who stood batons drawn.
After all Sunderland supporters had left the city there was what police describe as an ‘isolated incident’ in the Bigg Market involving a group of youths throwing bottles, which was ‘swiftly dealt with by officers’.
It is not believed those involved had been at the match.
Northumbria Police has made 11 arrests in total; three as part of a planned operation before the match, seven during the afternoon and one on Sunday morning.
Out of the ten arrested on Saturday two men have been released on police bail, one man has received a caution for a public order offence, one man received a cannabis warning, two men have received penalty notices and four men have been charged.
Two of those charged are accused of a pitch invasion when the final whistle was blown.
Connor Grieves, 22, of Lees Street, Stanley, County Durham, and Daniel Orrick, 21, Hertford, Gateshead, have been charged with going into a playing area designated for football matches and will appear at Newcastle Magistrates Court on February 27.
Scott Hunter, 33, of Hurstwood Road, Sunderland, has been charged with drunk while entering a sports ground and will appear before Newcastle magistrates on March 6.
Mark Yearnshire, 37, of Powys Place, Newcastle, has been charged with disorderley conduct and will appear at Newcastle Magistrates Court on February 27.
Operations Commander Chief Superintendent Steve Neill said: "The vast majority of fans were well behaved today and the Tyne-Wear derby was celebrated for the fantastic sporting event that it is.
"Public safety is always our number one priority during any football match.
“The few people who chose to pose a threat to public safety were dealt with swiftly by police."