GUS POYET has echoed calls for this weekend’s Tyne-Wear derby to be free from the violence which has marred the fixture over the last two seasons.
Both of Sunderland’s 3-0 wins at St James’s Park have been followed by clashes between supporters and police on the streets of Newcastle after the final whistle.
The Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) launched a campaign earlier this month called “passion not poison” in a bid to maintain the derby atmosphere, while removing the violence.
And while Sunderland boss Poyet has reservations over the consumption of alcohol in the run-up to Sunday’s game, he has urged Black Cats fans to enjoy themselves whatever the outcome on Tyneside.
Poyet said: “I want to make sure our fans go with the right mentality to enjoy the day.
“Accept whatever it brings and be funny without being disrespectful.
“A derby is a derby. People are passionate but these days we are more worried about Twitter and Facebook than alcohol.
“If you want a friendly derby don’t sell alcohol for the whole day in Newcastle.
“If you are going to let everyone go to the pub and expect them to behave you are a bit naïve. But I am a head coach not the head of security!”
This is the second successive derby where the FSF have been attempting to take the bile out of the game, with a group of Sunderland and Newcastle supporters working in tandem over recent weeks.
Kevin Miles, chief executive of the FSF, said: “This isn’t about a happy-clappy, mutual love-in.
“Fans want to keep the derby day atmosphere as intense and passionate, even hostile, as ever. But it’s entirely possible to do that while rejecting violence and it’s clear that’s the view of the overwhelming majority of supporters.
“Let’s keep the passion, but lose the poison.”