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8:00am Saturday 10th November 2012 in Sport
THE Brugge police have praised Newcastle United supporters for their behaviour in the Belgian city this week.
More than 8,000 fans made the trip across the North Sea, and it was feared there could be the potential for trouble given that more than half did not have a ticket for Thursday night's Europa League game between Newcastle and Club Brugge.
The authorities took steps to address the situation by erecting a fan park in Brugge's main central square complete with two giant television screens and a number of open-air bars.
And the move appears to have worked as Thursday's game passed off without any major incidents inside or outside the ground.
A North-East male is understood to have been stabbed in Brussels, although it is not yet clear whether the incident was directly related to Thursday's match.
In Brugge, security around the Jan Breydel Stadion was tightened up more than three hours before kick-off, and ticketless supporters were being turned away at a checkpoint at least half-a-mile from the stadium.
The shame is that the game itself was poorly attended, with around 10,000 empty seats in the home end.
Newcastle officials made attempts to secure extra tickets for the visiting supporters, but their repeated pleas fell on deaf ears despite Brugge representatives acknowledging that the game was extremely unlikely to sell out in the home end a number of weeks ago.
NEWCASTLE'S players almost missed their flight home on Thursday evening – because Shola Ameobi couldn't go to the toilet.
Belgian aviation regulations meant that Newcastle's chartered flight had an extremely small window to enable it to take off before flights were not permitted until the following morning.
As a result, their coach from the stadium to the airport had to leave little more than an hour after Thursday's game had been completed.
Ordinarily, that would not be a problem, but Ameobi was asked by UEFA officials to provide a sample for a random drugs test.
Forty-five minutes after the final whistle, and he was still unable to relieve himself sufficiently to satisfy the testers.
Cue a panicked attempt to reschedule transport arrangements and bottle after bottle of water and energy drinks.
Thankfully, Ameobi produced his sample just in time and the team coach made it to the check-in desk with around five minutes to spare.
SHE is used to plotting her away around a cross-country course or show-jumping ring, but North Yorkshire Olympian Nicola Wilson will be seen by millions strutting her stuff on the dance-floor later this week.
Along with Zara Phillips and Tina Cook, two of her team-mates from the Great Britain three-day event team that claimed a silver medal at this summer's Olympic Games, Wilson has filmed a special routine to be screened as part of Friday's Children In Need celebrations on the BBC.
The former Hurworth Pony Club member, who now lives in Morton-on-Swale, near Northallerton, will be seen mimicking the 'Gangnam Style' dance that has proved so popular since the dance tune it inspired made it to number one earlier this year.
Wilson said: “We did feel a bit ridiculous filming it, but it was a real giggle and well worth feeling a fool for such a good cause. We were taught a couple of moves and then just tried to keep in time. Hopefully, we'll only be on television for a split second and no one will notice.”
YORKSHIRE'S Olympians will be in the spotlight again later this month when three medallists from the 2012 Games mark the return of York's ice rink at the city's designer outlet.
Gold-medal winning boxing champion Luke Campbell, double Olympic cycling champion Ed Clancy and cyclist Lizzie Armitstead, who was Britain's first medallist at this summer's Games, will launch the third Yorkshire's Winter Wonderland celebration at McArthur Glen's York designer outlet on Friday, November 23.
The evening begins at 6.30pm, with the trio helping to turn on the Christmas lights and officially open the north of England's largest ice rink.