POLICE are warning football fans to be on their best behaviour at next weekend’s Tyne-Wear derby match.
The match, at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light on Sunday, will be watched by a capacity crowd, and police say they will deploy extra officers around Sunderland and Newcastle before, during and after the game.
Operations commander Chief Superintendent Steve Neill said: “The majority of supporters are there to enjoy the game and soak up the occasion.
“We know they are passionate occasions, and the majority of fans enjoy the day safely and peacefully.
“There are a minority who are intent on causing problems, and our message to those people is that trouble will not be tolerated. Anyone who puts the safety of supporters at risk on the day will be dealt with swiftly and firmly.”
Roads in Sunderland city centre are expected to be extremely busy on derby day, and Newcastle United fans are being advised to make their travel arrangements for the game in advance. Fans are being encouraged to use the club’s supporters’ buses, and those travelling by train or Metro are also urged to plan in advance.
Away fans, like last year, will be seated in the upper tier of the Wearsiders’ north stand and are being asked to wait in the stadium for a short while after the final whistle to allow police to ensure they can exit safely.
Police say the delay will be kept to a minimum and Magpies fans will have access to bars, refreshments and toilets while they are waiting.
Sunderland supporters will be asked to leave the stadium briskly after full time.
Roads closed on the day will Sheepfolds North and Sheepfolds Road, near St Peter’s Metro station.
Chf Supt Neill added: “Our role is to help supporters enjoy their day and ensure that the match passes offsafely for everyone attending.
“We are prepared for every eventuality, and I’d ask that all supporters respect the occasion, their clubs, other supporters, police and club staff.
“We are all working together to make sure the day is a success and that all supporters get home safely on Sunday evening.”
See our sports pages for coverage of the build-up to the derby, starting on today’s Back Page.