SUNDERLAND fans are being warned to be on their best behaviour at this weekend’s derby or risk being dealt a red card.
Police plans for the Wear-Tyne clash at the Stadium of Light on Saturday are well under way, with the force using the cordon system that proved a success at January’s home derby.
The giant 8ft metal wall was used to separate rival fans.
Patrols in the city will be stepped up on Saturday to deal with any potential trouble.
Officers are warning any troublemakers that they will be arrested.
Chief Superintendent Steve Neill, of the operations command, said: “All supporters will receive a warm welcome in Sunderland but anyone intent on causing problems should stay away and let the real fans enjoy their day out.
“We would remind fans they need to behave responsibly both inside and outside the stadium, or they risk being arrested and banned from future matches.”
Temporary barriers will be put in place at various points along the route up to and around the stadium, to make sure no violent clashes break out between rivals.
Chief Supt Neill added: “The purpose of the cordon system is to minimise any potential conflict between the opposing sets of fans.
“Newcastle fans will also be asked to remain in the South Stand for a short while at the end of the match, to allow all supporters to leave the ground safely.”
The force has worked closely with both clubs and their supporters’ associations, and Sunderland Council to ensure families can enjoy the match in safe surroundings.
Coun Tom Foster, Safer Sunderland Partnership chairman, said: “We are working hard to make sure our city continues to be a safe place for us all to enjoy, and that means preventing antisocial behaviour wherever we can.
“The traditional derby match is a huge occasion, and we hope that people remember the friendly rivalry which makes it so special and keep everything good natured.”
l There will not be tickets available on the day as the match is a sell-out.
l Internet question – Page 8