POLICE have appealed to fans from both sides to make sure this weekend’s Wear/Tyne derby passes off without trouble.
The match kicks off at 4pm on Easter Sunday, with the Black Cats looking to make it five straight wins in a row.
“Our message is that trouble will not be tolerated and anyone who puts the safety of supporters at risk will be dealt with swiftly and firmly.”Chief Superintendent Steve Neill
Manager Dick Advocaat will be hoping to emulate Paolo di Canio and Gus Poyet, who both recorded their first wins in the SAFC hotseat against the Magpies.
Operations Commander Chief Superintendent Steve Neill said:”The majority of supporters on derby day 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 is a minority intent on causing problems and our message is that trouble will not be tolerated and anyone who puts the safety of supporters at risk will be dealt with swiftly and firmly.
“Our role is to help supporters enjoy their day and ensure that the match passes safely for everyone attending”
The derby has been marred by a flashpoint for violence on occasion, but this season has seen a thawing in relations between fans after Sunderland supporters raised thousands in memory of Liam Sweeney and John Alder, killed in the crash of Malaysian airlines flight MH17 on their way to Newcastle’s pre-season tour.
Roads in Sunderland city centre are expected to be busy on Sunday and Sheepfolds North and Sheepfolds Road will be closed.
Security barriers used to guide away supporters will be in place but left open and only used if required. One barrier will be closed at the North Stand for health and safety reasons.
“Supporters have shown the day can be a passionate yet peaceful one and although the 4pm kick-off on Easter Sunday brings some additional challenges our priority remains the same – the safety of the public,” said Chf Supt Neill.
“We are prepared for every eventuality and I’d ask all supporters to 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 all supporters get home safely.”