Rise and shine! 6,000 Newcastle fans queue outside St James’ Park ahead of being bussed into Sunderland for FA Cup Tyne-Wear derby… with club handing out free scarf, water and breakfast to every fan

6 January 2024 0 By Total Football News
  • Newcastle United take on bitter rivals Sunderland in the FA Cup third round
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  • Sunderland could be the catalyst for real pressure to engulf Eddie Howe – It’s All Kicking Off 

Thousands of Newcastle United fans gathered outside St James’ Park early this morning ahead of their eagerly anticipated trip to face Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby. 

In one of the fiercest derby matches in English football, Northumbria Police have taken a series of precautions to reduce the potential for conflict between the two sets of supporters.  

As a result, Newcastle fans are being required to take official club travel to the match, and they won’t be able to get their match ticket without doing so.

That meant that the 6,000 travelling fans headed to St James’ Park bright and early to queue for one of the 120 arranged buses to take them to the Stadium of Light. 

Videos on social media showed weary supporters being handed a free scarf for the occasion, as well as a bottle of water and a cereal bar. 

Thousands of Newcastle fans arrived early at St James' Park

Fans were given a free cereal bar

Newcastle’s 6,000 travelling fans queued up bright and early ahead of a trip to Sunderland, with the club providing free cereal bars (right) to fans before they boarded official coaches

Fans were bussed in to the match and there were corralled to the stadium by police officers

Fans were bussed in to the match and there were corralled to the stadium by police officers

It was a requirement to get the match ticket that fans needed to take official coaches to ground

It was a requirement to get the match ticket that fans needed to take official coaches to ground

Newcastle's travelling 6,000 fans had to queue early on Saturday prior to Sunderland match

Newcastle’s travelling 6,000 fans had to queue early on Saturday prior to Sunderland match

As it is a 'Bubble' match, fans are required to take official bus travel in order to get their ticket

As it is a ‘Bubble’ match, fans are required to take official bus travel in order to get their ticket

The 13-mile journey to the Stadium of Light is being tracked as part of major police operation

The 13-mile journey to the Stadium of Light is being tracked as part of major police operation

Due to the ‘Bubble Match’ restrictions for this match – which limits how away fans can travel to the match – Newcastle have spent to the tune of £150,000 for official coaches. 

Fans will only receive their match ticket on the bus but, because they are not obliged to travel back via the same route, there is a potential for clashes post-match if they decide to leave the ‘bubble’ of away supporters. 

Tensions between the clubs escalated this week after it emerged that Sunderland had asked the Magpies to decorate the Black Cats Bar – where some away fans will be housed for today’s FA Cup third-round tie – to safeguard against damage to the red-and-white interior.

Sunderland fans were furious when images of the temporary redesign surfaced online, while Sunderland chairman Kyril Louis-Dreyfus was left ‘hurt and disgusted’.

But Mail Sport revealed that Sunderland had actually approved the wording of Newcastle’s controversial black-and-white signage before Christmas – and it would have been used inside the Stadium of Light on Saturday if not for a supporter backlash.

Saturday's Tyne-Wear derby is requiring a major police operation from Northumbria Police

Saturday’s Tyne-Wear derby is requiring a major police operation from Northumbria Police

Officers can be seen carrying crates outside Stadium of Light before the away fans arrive

Officers can be seen carrying crates outside Stadium of Light before the away fans arrive

There will be 6,000 Newcastle fans in attendance for this high stakes third round match

There will be 6,000 Newcastle fans in attendance for this high stakes third round match

There is lots of excitement in the away fans arriving as this game has been years in the making

There is lots of excitement in the away fans arriving as this game has been years in the making

Black and white Newcastle displays decorated an away fan hospitality area at the Stadium of Light before mass uproar from Sunderland fans saw a u-turn from the Championship side

Black and white Newcastle displays decorated an away fan hospitality area at the Stadium of Light before mass uproar from Sunderland fans saw a u-turn from the Championship side

Owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus was forced into an embarrassing climb down with apology to fans

Owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus was forced into an embarrassing climb down with apology to fans

IT’S ALL KICKING OFF! 

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Senior figures at the Championship club were sent the suggested slogans by Newcastle on December 21, and confirmed their approval in writing the same day.

But following an embarrassing climbdown, Sunderland owner Louis-Dreyfus wrote on Instagram: ‘I would like to apologise to everyone associated with Sunderland AFC for the events that have unfolded today.

‘Like our supporters, I was disgusted and hurt by the pictures circulating online of the inappropriate signs that have been ripped down.

‘I take full responsibility for every decision that is taken by the employees of our club and you have my word that I will personally make sure that we make the necessary changes required to improve because it is clear that there are many areas where we need to be better.’