SAFC and NUFC unite against police

Sunderland AFC and Newcastle United have joined forces in a campaign to stop Northumbria Police dictating match times.

Derby day preparations underway

Police say planning for the upcoming derby football match is well underway. The game between Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC is on February 1 at 12.45pm. Extra police officers will be on duty in both Newcastle and Sunderland.

Roads in Newcastle city centre are expected to be extremely busy on derby day and Sunderland fans are being advised to make the most of free coach travel being provided by Sunderland AFC.

The coaches leave the Stadium of Light at 10.30am from the Green Car Park. There will be direct Metro services for Sunderland supporters on match day. Northern Rail will be providing a train service specifically for supporters, direct from Sunderland station to Newcastle Central Station and back.

Free travel for Tyne-Wear derby

A complimentary bus service to and from the Stadium of Light to St James’ Park is available for all Sunderland supporters with a valid match ticket for the forthcoming Tyne-Wear derby on Saturday 1st February.

The game kicks off at 12:45pm and buses will depart from 10:30am.

The bus convoy will be escorted by Northumbria Police for the duration of the journey.

The move follows a much-publicised row between the two football and clubs and Northumbria Polcie over travel arrangements for fans and kick-off times.

We would urge as many supporters as possible to take advantage of the free bus service. Safety is always our priority and the complimentary buses afford the safest and quickest way for fans to make the journey to and from St James’ Park.

– Paul Weir, Sunderland AFC head of safety

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Northumbria's PCC urges police and club's to "work through" issues

Vera Baird QC, Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria, has urged the police to "work through" any issues with Newcastle United and Sunderland ahead of next month's Tyne-Wear derby.

The commissioner said:

“The safety of fans, residents and visitors to the city is paramount and Northumbria Police have a duty to ensure public safety at all times, that is why the police welcomed the proposal by Sunderland AFC to provide a safe way of travelling to Newcastle by using coaches provided by the club. I am pleased that this offer remains by the club, however, fans can travel how they wish to St James Park.

It is well known that the police have argued for an earlier kick off and I am pleased that all parties have agreed to this to protect public safety.

I am now urging all parties to sit down and work through any outstanding issues”

The Premier League clash is scheduled to kick off at 12:45pm on Saturday 1 February.

Fanzine Editor says 'it's common sense'

Steve Wraith, Editor of Toon Talk Fanzine has tweeted following the police request to make the match an 'organised transport only' game, saying both sets of fans should use buses, not because police say, but because it makes sense.

Zly9yda6_normal

I would bus both sets of supporters in. It's not a police state its common sense. We are talking about 2500 people in reality. #nufc #safc

NUFC and SAFC joint statement

Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC have said they are 'surprised and disappointed' with the statement from Northumbria Police stating that police cannot direct changes to kick off times.

Both clubs have said they have previously tried to reach an agreement with Northumbria Police over kick off times being 3pm or later, but that the police have refused to police games after 1.30pm.

"Police forces up and down the country have been able to police high-profile derby matches for years, including most recently the first Welsh derby in the Premier League, Cardiff v Swansea, on Sunday 3rdNovember at 4:00pm, Arsenal v Tottenham at 5:15pm on Saturday 4th January, and Manchester City v Manchester United on Sunday 22nd September at 4:00pm.

In recent years Northumbria Police have rejected every request made by the clubs for later kick-off slots including Saturday 5:30pm, Sunday 4:00pm and Monday 8:00pm."

– Joint statement from Sunderland AFC and Newcastle United

The two clubs have said they have evidence of correspondence with Northumbria Police. The correspondence is said to say that the police would not be prepared to police evening fixtures.

"For Northumbria Police therefore to issue a statement stating that they do not direct changes to kick-off times is quite frankly false and absurd - and conflicts with the respectful and responsible manner in which both Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC have engaged with the police over many years with regard to the derby fixture."

– Joint statement from Sunderland AFC and Newcastle United

In light of Northumbria Police's latest statement, Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC will now inform the Premier League that all future fixtures between the two clubs will be available for kick-off times to suit the clubs, the League and their broadcast partners, if applicable, and will expect Northumbria Police to police these games, especially given the considerable costs both clubs incur for such special police services.

– Joint statement from Sunderland AFC and Newcastle United

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Police clarify they have no control over kick off times

Northumbria Police have released clarification about the up-coming derby match between Sunderland AFC and Newcastle United. the had originally requested that the game becomes a 'bubble' match where fans must use organised transport.

"As we have said previously Northumbria Police cannot direct changes to kick off times or control the issue of tickets and how supporters travel to matches.

"The condition of ticketing and transportation to St James' Park is a contractual issue between the club and supporters and is not something Northumbria Police is involved in."

– Assistant Chief Constable Jo Farrell

Now, they have clarified that police cannot and will not direct supporters, adding that the police cannot change kick off times.

"We cannot and will not direct supporters on how they travel to the game.

"That said, the transportation issue has been discussed between both clubs and the police. Based on those discussions Sunderland Football Club took this decision which is aimed at ensuring the safety of their supporters, and it is a decision which we welcome."

– Assistant Chief Constable Jo Farrell

Sunderland and Newcastle unite in campaign against cops

Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC have launched a joint campaign against Northumbria Police after their refusal to allow late afternoon or early evening kick off times for the derby.

The two clubs have released a joint statement refusing to let police decide on match times.

Northumbria police had requested the match becomes a 'bubble' game where only organised transport is allowed. Sunderland has scrapped this.