NEWCASTLE United and Sunderland football clubs could be set for talks over the controversial scheduling of next season’s first Tyne-Wear derby.
The first meeting between the two clubs in the next campaign will be at St James’s Park on Saturday, December 20 - the last shopping Saturday before Christmas.
It is also the day after “Black Eye Friday”, known as one of the biggest drinking days of the year, as it is the last Friday before Christmas Day.
The likelihood is that the game will be moved to an early kick-off time on either the 20th or 21st.
Both clubs have a frosty relationship with Northumbria Police after chiefs argued they had “no say” in deciding when matches take place.
SAFC and NUFC responded to the comments by saying that was not the case, and that in future they would dictate their own date and kick-off times.
Assistant chief constable Jo Farrell said: “Our priority is public safety, and we work closely with both football clubs, the local authorities and the Football Association to ensure the safety of those attending football matches and members of the public.
“We have policed many derby games in the past and are well equipped to deal with such events. We know derbies are passionate occasions for both sets of supporters, and we work with partners to make them enjoyable days for all.
“Northumbria Police is well experienced in policing numerous large-scale events across the force, while also ensuring minimum disruption to people making use of shops, bars and attractions in the cities and towns throughout the area.”