A DECISION not to run special Metro trains for Sunderland fans to the Tyne-Wear derby has been branded “potentially dangerous” by a fanzine editor.
Martyn McFadden, editor-in-chief of A Love Supreme, has urged police and transport bosses to reverse the decision ahead of the eagerly-awaited game.
More than 2,500 SAFC fans awill travel to St James’s Park on Sunday, December 21, for the feisty encounter.
However, with the match taking place only four days before Christmas, public transport across the area is expected to be busy and there will be no special services operating for fans.
To avoid any delays or issues in getting to the game, supporters are now being strongly advised to take advantage of a free bus service provided by Sunderland AFC.
Police chiefs hope that kindhearted actions of Sunderland fans in the wake of the death of Newcastle fans John Alder and Liam Sweeney in this summer’s MH17 air tragedy has fostered a sense of mutual respect between the two sides.
But Martyn McFadden, editor in chief of A Love Supreme, said today that without specialist Metros being put on, supporters could arrive in Newcastle city centre without a police escort, causing problems.
“I think it’s a potentially dangerous situation and a risk,” said Martyn. “It’s not impossible to run extra Metro trains and if they did then I’d imagine it will be a lot safer.
“A lot of the people who are going through from Sunderland on the train may not know the way to St James’s, because there’s more than one, so I think the police should publish a suggested route for them.
“I just hope the police have done their homework on this.”
Supporters with a valid match ticket, who have not yet requested a ticket for the bus service, should call the Stadium of Light ticket office on 551 5004 between 10am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, to request their bus ticket, which will then be posted out to them.
Buses are scheduled to depart from the Stadium of Light at 11.15am on matchday.
Passengers will board from 10.30am in the Green Car Park, next to the ticket office at Black Cat House. The bus convoy will follow the most direct route on the day and will be escorted by Northumbria Police for the duration of its journey to and from the stadium.
Northumbria Police chief superintendent Steve Neil said: “Our advice is to make plans in advance on how to travel into the city centres and allow a little extra time to get around - whether by foot, by car or by public transport.
“However, we do ask people remain patient on the roads and public transport, in the city and with each other.
“We are encouraging Sunderland fans to make use of the free coach service being provided by Sunderland AFC, which will leave the club at 11.15am on the day.
“Anyone with any concerns should speak with their local officers before coming into either of our cities on this day.”