FOOTBALL fans in South Tyneside have been warned not to get shirty on derby day.
Sunderland play host to Newcastle United on Sunday and supporters of both teams are expected to be out in force within pubs and clubs throughout the borough.
Police say they expect fans to behave themselves, and have told watering holes to ban football shirts from being worn after 6pm, in a bid to stop people from staying out for hours after the match.
Kick-off at the Stadium of Light is at 1.30pm to try to curb drinking before the game and police have written to licence-holders asking them to keep an eye out for unruly behaviour.
Chief Inspector Brian Walker, from South Tyneside Area Command, said: “Our engagement with licensees prior to previous derby matches has proved a success, which is why we are repeating it again for Sunday’s match.
“We’re know bars where fans will gather. These premises are well run and we’re not expecting disorder, but it’s only right we give advice so that landlords can be prepared.
“We also understand tensions run high during derby games.
“We’re not out to spoil anyone’s fun, but we will take action if any disorder arises on the day.
“As always, extra officers will be patrolling throughout the day to combat any disorder, and offer reassurance to pub staff and customers.”
All pubs and clubs in the borough were sent a letter asking staff to refuse to serve customers who are drunk, and to display notices warning that abuse or violence will not be tolerated.
Police say they will also close any watering hole if they believe it will prevent disorder.
Officers will have visited every pub and club in the borough by the end of Saturday to discuss any concerns the landlords or landladies might have, and watering holes which will be showing the match live, or where there have been problems in the past, will be subject to extra police patrols on the day.
The match will be new Sunderland manager Gus Poyet’s first home game in charge of the club, which lies bottom of the Premier League table with just one point from eight games.
Newcastle go into the match on the back of a morale-boosting 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Saturday, despite being down to 10 men after the sending off of their defender, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.