MORE than 50 Black Cats fans will not be allowed to go to Saturday’s crunch derby game against Newcastle United at St James’s Park.
A total of 52 Sunderland supporters are currently subject to football banning orders and will not be allowed to attend the Tyne-Wear game.
Officers will be hoping to avoid a repeat of last season’s game on Tyneside, when scores of people rioted following Sunderland’s 3-0 win over their arch rivals.
This Saturday, Sunderland fans are being encouraged to use free coaches provided by the club. They will leave the Stadium of Light at 10.30am. Turnstiles at St James’s Park will open at 11am for the arrival of the first set of coaches from the Stadium of Light, and then 11.15am generally, with kick-off at 12.45pm.
Two Metro trains travelling direct from Sunderland railway station to Central Station in Newcastle will leave at 10.43am and 10.55am.
Supporters will have access to full catering facilities at the ground, and after full time, they will be able to wait in the bar areas, where they will have access to refreshments and toilets. They will then be asked to wait until the immediate area outside the ground is clear of Newcastle fans before making their way to the transport.
Operations commander chief superintendent Steve Neill said: “The Tyne-Wear derby is a fantastic event that football fans across the region and country look forward to, and we’re working with clubs, local authorities and fans to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable day.
“We’re asking Sunderland supporters to work with us, as they did last season, and stay back for a short period of time after the game. “This allows us time to clear the immediate area outside for us to escort them from the stadium and to their transport.
“We’ve carried out hold-backs of supporters in the past at matches both at St James’s Park and the Stadium of Light, and they’ve worked well. Fans fully understand why we do it and are co-operative with officers and stewards.
“The facilities will be open, so it’s as comfortable as possible for the waiting Sunderland fans, and we’ll bring supporters down as swiftly as possible.”
Sunderland will be looking to record their third straight win over the Magpies after they beat them 2-1 earlier this campaign.