POLICE are working with council bosses to ensure next weekend’s Tyne/Wear derby passes off without a hitch.
Gus Poyet’s men face off with the Magpies at St James’ Park at 1.30pm on Sunday, December 21, hoping for a repeat of the last two season’s 3-0 victories.
And with the high-profile match falling on the last weekend before Christmas, the city centre is set to be packed with revellers, shoppers and fans watching the game in pubs and clubs.
Chief Superintendent Steve Neill, who is overseeing the police operation, said: “This will be an exciting day for many and we hope to make it an enjoyable one for all. We do advise that, although it will be business as usual, the cities may be busier than normal.
“We have worked closely with our city centre teams and transport partners to ensure everyone who wants to come to Newcastle or Sunderland on December 21 can do so with as little disruption as possible.
“We have managed many large events and this is something as a force we are very well experienced in. We don’t anticipate huge disruptions but we do know it will be busier than usual.
“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, in the city and with each other.
“Anyone with any concerns should speak with their local officers before coming into either of our cities on this day.”
City council deputy leader Coun Harry Trueman is chairman of the Safer Sunderland Partnership: “I hope everyone in both our communities enjoys the day, and joins in with the spirit of the derby match with supporters from each side celebrating both our rivalry and our mutual respect,” he said.
“It will certainly be a busy day in both our city centres, and I hope shoppers and supporters alike will make their travel plans accordingly.”