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Police Praise Fans Behaviour Following Derby

It truly was a derby to be proud of, state Northumbria's finest.

Chris Brunskill

Northumbria Police have stated their delight with the behaviour of Sunderland and Newcastle fans following the Tyne and Wear derby.

Last season, grim scenes dominated the press when drunken idiots arrived from the pubs surrounding the ground looking for trouble, with a pretty memorable horse-punching image becoming the public face of our derby. Those scenes looked to have had a lasting effect when this season's fixture was originally announced to be a 'bubble' trip for visiting Sunderland fans.

However, following a united appeal from fans of both clubs, those plans were scrapped and the decision seems to have been justified.

Northumbria Police's Operations Commander Chief Superintendent, Steve Neill, said:

The vast majority of fans were well behaved and the Tyne-Wear derby was celebrated for the fantastic sporting event that it is.

I'd like to praise supporters from both clubs - they worked well with officers on the ground, were extremely patient and good-natured and treated the day in the best spirit. The hold-back went very smoothly and supporters worked really well with police and stewards.

At the current time [Saturday evening], there have been just ten arrests, with three of those pre-planned and taking place early on Saturday morning. Out of a capacity crowd of more than 50,000 people this is extremely low.

Public safety is always our number one priority during any football match and we worked closely with all of our partners throughout this event. The few people who chose to pose a threat to public safety were dealt with swiftly by police.

It is something that every fan should take heart from. The message in the build-up to the game was 'a derby to be proud of', and that is precisely what it was.

It's a brilliant first step and one from which we can all take tremendous pride, but the challenge now is to make it the norm if we truly are going to reclaim the perception of north east football.

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