Coventry City legend calls on Sunderland to relocate away fans following disorder at Stadium of Light clash

Coventry City legend Dave Bennett believes Sunderland should alter where they house away fans at the Stadium of Light.

By Mark Donnelly
Monday, 15 April, 2019, 17:00
A Coventry City legend has called for a change at the Stadium of Light

Bennett, who is the brother of Black Cats legend Gary, believes that the current arrangement means there is always the 'potential for problems'.

As it stands, travelling supporters are situated in the upper tier of the stadium's North Stand - directly above home supporters.

It is alleged that Coventry supporters threw objects towards the Sunderland fans beneath them during their 5-4 triumph on Saturday.

Police have confirmed that eight arrests were made while both clubs are working with the relevant authorities to assist their enquiries into disorder inside and outside the ground, three men have since been charged.

MORE: Coventry City have this message for fans following Stadium of Light disorderAnd while Bennett, the hero of the Sky Blues' 1987 FA Cup triumph, claims he saw no disturbance while sat among the away fans, he feels that in future travelling clubs should be given an entire stand at the Stadium of Light.

"I didn’t see anything myself but I heard afterwards that some coins were thrown at the fans below,” said Bennett, speaking to the Coventry Telegraph.“We knew there was always potential for a bit of aggravation because of the history between the two clubs, with the relegation from back in the 70s and all that.

“At most grounds the away fans are segregated well away from the home fans and it’s not too bad.

"Away fans are usually given a whole stand to themselves and that’s what they should do at Sunderland so that fans can’t get at each other that easily.

“That way the police can police it accordingly. If you have got fans below rival fans there’s always the potential for problems.

“It only takes one idiot to throw something down and it all kicks off in more ways than one.

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“So I’d have thought it would be easier to segregate them.”

Sunderland AFC have previously expressed their disappointment at the behaviour of a section of the Coventry support - and have praised the Black Cats' support for their 'admirable restraint'.

A spokesperson from Sunderland AFC said: "Sunderland AFC is disappointed by the disrespectful behaviour of many away fans at the home match against Coventry City yesterday.

"SAFC and Northumbria Police had been in contact with both Coventry and its fans group ahead of the game, acknowledging that there would likely be some sort of protest, and trying to ensure that the match could go ahead in a safe and respectful environment for both sets of fans.

READ: Eight arrested following reports of disorder at Stadium of Light clash"That turned out not to be the case, with Sunderland fans in the lower tier of the North Stand being subjected to projectiles thrown from the upper tier, where away fans were housed.

"Several Sunderland fans were either injured by the projectiles or had property damaged by smoke bombs thrown from above.

"There were numerous other offences committed, all of which were especially disappointing given Sunderland AFC 's willingness to speak to Coventry fans ahead of the game.

"In response, Sunderland fans demonstrated admirable restraint in the circumstances, for which the club is grateful."

Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to contact police on 101 quoting reference 382 13/04/19.