Four men have been arrested following a pub brawl linked to yesterday’s Wear-Tees derby match.
They were among seven men arrested during the course of the police operation surrounding the Stadium of Light clash between Sunderland and Middlesbrough, which saw the Black Cats beaten 2-1 by the Teessiders.
Northumbria Police said four men were arrested in connection with an incident at the William Jameson Wetherspoons pub, in Fawcett Street in the city centre.
At around 12.15pm, police attended a fight involving a large group of supporters at the bar.
A spokesman for the force said: “Officers acted quickly to separate fans and clear the area.
“Inquiries are ongoing to identify those involved but four people were arrested in connection with the incident following the game.”
This was the first match of the season and there was a lot of excitement surrounding this fixture.Superintendent Sarah Pitt
One woman who saw the incident was in the pub with her partner and 14-year-old son at the time.
The woman, who did not want to be named, said: “The atmosphere was brilliant - there were Middlesbrough and Sunderland supporters together and they were getting on really well.
“About 10 or 15 minutes later, a load of lads came in who did not have football tops on. “They barged through the doors and went to the middle of the pub.
“There were drinks thrown, there was swearing, there was fighting.
“The police arrived in big vans and they were escorted out.
“There were kids there in Boro tops crying their eyes out - they were absolutely swilling in beer.
“It was horrendous.
“I have been in town when there have been Newcastle supporters out and there has never been anything like that.
“I have never experienced anything like it in my life.
“It was absolutely disgraceful behaviour.”
It is understood the bar was full at the time of the incident, which saw away fans enter the pub and clash with Sunderland supporters.
There was already a police presence outside the venue when trouble broke out, with officers inside the premises within seconds.
No one was injured or property damaged in the fracas.
A spokesman for Wetherspoons said: “We are disappointed that this incident upset customers inside the pub.
“It was dealt with extremely quickly but we suspended operations for 10 minutes to let staff and customers collect themselves. “We always co-operate fully with police advice on match days and are vigilant in protecting our customers from any kind of violence.”
Two of the other arrests were made on suspicion of disorderly conduct and the other for a breach of the peace.
All have been released on bail pending further inquiries.
Superintendent Sarah Pitt said: “This was the first match of the season and there was a lot of excitement surrounding this fixture.
“We enjoyed being part of that and there was a positive atmosphere among both sets of supporters both before and after the game.
“There were a handful of arrests but that is not unusual with football matches and the vast majority of supporters behaved impeccably.
“We want to praise both sets of fans for celebrating the passion of North East football and setting the mark for the season ahead.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.