Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Fans Appeal for Derby Day Passion

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Fans Appeal for Derby Day Passion

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Warburton Chief Reporter dan.warburton@ncjmedia.co.uk

TOON fans have united with their derby day rivals to issue a plea for "passion not poison" ahead of this weekend's powder-keg clash.

Fans' groups from across the North East have released a statement in which they call on supporters to "restore pride" in the region's derby fixture.

It follows years of violent clashes in which police have been pelted with missiles and largescale disorder has broken out following the games.

Now Kevin Miles, chief executive of the Tynesidebased Football Supporters' Federation, has urged supporters from all corners of the region to behave themselves.

Kevin said: "Over the past few weeks we've had a coming together of fans with the idea of opposing the so-called 'Bubble Matches'. That was very successful and we're pleased with that.

"But as well as having rights people also have a responsibility and the genuine fans respect that. The last thing we want is a loss of passion and we've had all the fans' groups, clubs and supporters all coming together with this idea of creating a great atmosphere with no disorder."

Newcastle city centre was brought to a standstill last year on Sunday April 14 as supporters clashed with police. Following Newcastle's 3-0 defeat to Sunderland bricks and bottles were hurled at officers.

This Saturday fans will return to St James' Park for the first time since violent clashes erupted that shamed Tyneside.

Lee Marshall, supporter liaison manager at Newcastle United, said: "Tyne-Wear derby fixtures are magnificent occasions for the North East. They continue to showcase not only the incredible passion that the region has for our national game, but the vibrancy and positive spirit within our communities too.

"We support all attempts to uphold the proud traditions of this special fixture and applaud the FSF's initiative to encourage fans to demonstrate their pride in their respective teams and cities in the right manner."

Police have also issued a warning ahead of the fixture and urged fans to take advantage of free official club coaches. Buses will leave the Stadium of Light at 10.30am and will also return Sunderland supporters back to Wearside after the match.

Turnstiles at St James' Park will open at 11am for the arrival of the first coaches from Sunderland, and generally at 11.15am.

A direct Metro service for Sunderland supporters is also available on match day.

There will be two Metros travelling direct from Sunderland station to Central Station in Newcastle.

They will leave at 10.43am and 10.55am.

There will also be one direct Northern Rail service, leaving Sunderland station for Newcastle Central Station at 11.19am and arriving in Newcastle at 11. …

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