Sunderland fans call for visitors to be moved at Stadium of Light after Portsmouth supporter arrested for throwing flare

Sunderland fans have called again for away supporters to be relocated in the Stadium of Light after yesterday's game against promotion rivals Portsmouth was marred by a flare-throwing incident.

By Gary Welford
Sunday, 28 April, 2019, 17:23
Police officers in the seats where the flare landed during the Sunderland v Portsmouth game at the Stadium of Light.

Play was stopped for several minutes in the first half while police and stewards dealt with the incident, after the flare was thrown from the upper tier of the North Stand into home supporters below.

Northumbria Police said the suspected offender was quickly arrested and detained. It is not yet known whether he faces any charges.

The game was held up for four minutes while police and stewards dealt with the flare-throwing incident at Sunderland v Portsmouth.

Related: One man arrested after flare is thrown towards fans at Sunderland v Portsmouth gameThe incident follows similar trouble at the previous home game v Coventry City on Saturday, April 13.

On that occasion, home supporters complained that they had coins, bottles and flares thrown at them by visiting supporters in the section above their seats in the same area.

Sunderland AFC owner Stewart Donald said he was 'distraught' at the reports, and said the behaviour was 'completely unacceptable'.He asked club safety chiefs for a full report into the incident, and yesterday's incident is also likely to be investigated.

Sunderland fans who saw the Portsmouth incident and read out it on social media were quick to tell the owner what they think tghe solution is.

The Portsmouth supporters were housed in the upper tier of the North Stand, above a section of home fans.

Bob Jackson: "Sack the stewards responsible for the searches, they're obviously not doing their job, as it's the second time this has happened. Could be far worse than a flare next time."

Natalie Johnston: "Had to pick my 11-year-old daughter up before half-time. She rang me crying, she was really scared. Disgrace!"

Alyson Drummond: "Sunderland are to blame for locating away fans above the Sunderland fans. It’s disgraceful. Away fans should be in a corner, and kept in until at least half an hour after end of the game. I think Pompey copied Coventry - it’s unacceptable."

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Christine Larkin: "It's time to move away fans back down and put them in a corner."

Sunderland fans say moving visiting supporters from the upper tier would solve the problems which have occurred in the last two home games v Coventry and Portsmouth.

Julie Nicklin: "Disgrace SAFC. Away fans all over the ground, idiots above us. Move them now back to where they were. The kids were once again scared and put in danger."

Chris Dall: "Not condoning the flare, it's hideous. But putting away fans above home fans, all because they were creating too much atmosphere where they were before, is your own fault."

Tricia Stewart: "We saw the away fans being searched, and sniffer dogs were about, but they had substance dog coats on, maybe they didn't pick up the flare. To be fair to the stewards, I can't imagine the flare being the biggest thing and will be quite easy to hide. I understand the Pompey fans gave him up, the majority are obviously right-minded supporters wanting a good day out with their team."

Julie Henderson: "It was my niece that was hit with the flare, bloody idiots. How did they get into game with the flare? Obviously he wasn't searched. Security need to step up their game and away supporters need to be moved or banned!"

A police officer appeals for calm after a flare thrown from the Portsmouth section landed among Sunderland supporters at the Stadium of Light.

Steve Duffy: "To be fair the Portsmouth fan was probably trying to reach the pitch with the flare. I'm not condoning that type of behaviour, but I didn't hear anyone condemning us for doing exactly the same at Peterborough on Monday. We managed to reach the pitch with ours, is all I'm saying."

Steve Bonallie: "How can the stewards search every one of the 41, 000+ fans? This flare being thrown is everything what is wrong with our country and society: lousy politicians (of all parties), police cuts, a soft justice system. So don't blame the stewards, the problem is higher up the chain of command."

Donna Woods: "Why are away fans above the Sunderland fans? Why did they move them from behind the goal, with excellent police presence? There was never any or little trouble then!"

Luke Curtis: "Stupid how the away fans are in the gods anyway so they can do stupid stuff like this and put lives at risk! When they were in the South Stand nothing like this happened. Now there's been trouble at the last two home games."