Keep the passion but lose the poison – Sunderland and Newcastle fans unite against violence

Mal Robinson
Mal Robinson
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FANS from both sides of the Tyne-Wear football divide are joining forces to keep this Saturday’s derby match free of trouble.

The aftermath of last season’s Newcastle v Sunderland game at St James’s Park was marred by rioting following the Black Cats’ 3-0 win.

Scores of arrests were made, with many now serving jail terms after being found guilty of disorder.

But now, supporters say they want to promote the passion of the historic encounter, while ditching the hatred and violence of last year.

Sunderland fanzines A Love Supreme and Seventy3, as well as website Roker Report and others, have released a joint statement alongside Newcastle publications True Faith and The Mag.

The statement comes after SAFC and NUFC scrapped plans to force Sunderland fans to travel on official coaches to the match, after supporters spoke out against the measure.

The statement, released by the Football Supporters’ Federation, reads: “Two weeks ago, fans’ groups and fanzines from Newcastle United and Sunderland launched a successful joint campaign to say “no” to bubble matches.

“Now both sets of fans are linking up to restore pride in the Tyne-Wear derby, championing a white-hot atmosphere and sporting rivalry while rejecting violence.

“Recent seasons have seen an unwelcome level of hatred and disorder around derby games.

“Genuine fans don’t want the authorities to have any excuse to cut ticket allocations or restrict travel in future seasons, we just want a game to remember.

“We can keep the passion, but lose the poison. Let’s make this a derby to be proud of.”