As reported by Newcastle fan site TheMag.com, the Premier League affair between the Magpies and local rivals Sunderland on Sunday afternoon will witness the largest ever police presence for a Tyne-Wear derby.
In a bid to alleviate concerns following news that police would not be escorting Sunderland-fan-only Metro buses into Newcastle, Chief Superintendent Steve Neill has informed reporters; “Our message to Sunderland fans is that it is going to be a safe event. Supporters should think about travel arrangements and leave plenty of time for their journey, because it will be busy, and we are expecting more than 200,000 people to visit the city.
“We will have more officers on duty for the derby than we ever have before. Officers will line key routes, and will also be present on Metro stations from Sunderland to Newcastle and on the Metros themselves to reassure people.
“There will be a sizeable number of officers throughout Sunderland from early in the day, and there is an agreement with licensees that no alcohol will be served before 10am.
“We have tried not to dictate to Sunderland supporters and, rather, to give them options.”
“It is entirely a matter for individuals if they want to get to the game in a private vehicle or by the Metro.”
The often-feisty derby has thrown up security problems before, with the same fixture in April 2013 leading to clashes between Newcastle supporters and the police in the City Centre.
Resultantly however, the police presence looks set to be massive, whilst Magpies boss Alan Pardew has also called for calm between both sets of fans – hoping the Black Cats’ warming response to the death of two Newcastle supporters earlier this year has brought the North East clubs closer together.