Northumbria Police have claimed that they have changed their strategy for dealing with Newcastle fans at Sunday’s derby.
Earlier this week they released a statement saying that the travelling fans will make their way to the ground ‘without the tradional escort’.
The match at St. James’ Park in December saw no special trains metros laid on to get the Sunderland fans to the game, instead they were directed to use normal services.
The reasoning appearing to be that rather than the one big ‘tradional escort’ they would meet the mackems off the trains /metros and ‘untraditionally’ escort them to St. James’ Park in smaller groups.
The Police statement this week:
“After the reverse fixture in December we met with supporters and received positive feedback on our policing approach to the game.
“We have decided to again adopt this approach, with supporters being able to make their own way to the game without the traditional escort.
The police public announcement above, appears to be at odds with the fact that metros and a train have been laid on specifially for United supporters, taking them direct to close to the stadium.
A special Northern Rail train departs Newcastle Central Station to St Peter’s in Sunderland at 3.02pm.
Whilst there are also special Metro services departing the Central to St Peter’s at 2.39pm and 2.46pm.
So three trains/metros leaving in a 23 minute period suggests strongly to me that the police won’t be taking any chances tomorrow.
I think we can expect a very traditional escort to the Stadium of Light and the usual circus that surrounds it.