I’m going to start today with a record straightener following my undercover visit to the Sunderland v Newcastle match.
When my article for this fine website went up, the credence to my story was doubted by faceless keyboard warriors from down the road!
Some doubted I was there, some saying I exaggerated the happenings and if any of them happen to read , I can assure them I only wrote what I saw. I also reiterate that I only write using my real name and I’m not one of the many keyboard warriors that exist in cyber space (I also failed O Level English language at school so if my grammar lets me down, I apologise).
So a message to FTM this, SAFC that or Mackem the other, I have no doubt some of you will be reading this because your fixation on us is both real and peculiar. If you are going to have a go at me, please be brave enough to use your real names and not hide behind pseudonyms.
The other interesting factor of last week’s article was the fact that I was highly critical of Northumbria Police, I actually named Chief Superintendent Steve Neill (the man in charge on the day) and if I am honest, was not very complimentary given what I had seen!
This had an interesting development because Northumbria Police got in touch with me (via The Mag) and following a couple of telephone conversations between myself and Neil Pacey of Northumbria Police, a meeting was set up between myself and Chief Superintendent Steve Neill.
This took place at my house in Forest Hall over a most disgusting cup of coffee prepared by my other half, then in between Steve having to put up with my two most irritating of dogs, a productive hour was spent!
I gave Steve my background as a fan going back to 1970 and also explained why I purchased a ticket in with the Sunderland fans and have done many times before. I think it is fundamentally wrong that SAFC would willingly sell me a corporate ticket in the black cats lounge knowing I was a Newcastle fan but won’t for the normal areas, and while I agree it is a health risk to me, it was my choice.
I then explained to Steve what I saw and where I saw it and asked why nothing was done at the time, I also asked the question as to whether this the reason why the arrest count was so low – was it due to lack of police action?
Steve in fairness, after giving me his background, and canny interesting it is too, gave me a personal insight into police tactics, which it would not be correct to go into detail here. He also pointed out that the Police in between the two sets of fans were in standard police attire and not riot gear, the idea seems to be to keep up the visual of the softy softly approach.
As for the main incident I saw, Steve did say that it was actually dealt with, but a few moments later away from any potential flash points, which to me now actually makes sense.
Steve asked if I had any thoughts or ideas on policing the games and I suggested a couple which he was happy to take away and possibly suggest to both clubs as a potential idea to take forward.
At 51 years old it was nice to actually learn something, and if I am honest I have a better understanding of the problems they are up against when policing these games, I also believe Steve has an understanding of where I am coming from!
So we moved on and horrible Stoke City came here on Saturday for a wonderful old fashioned 3pm Saturday afternoon kick off, except Stoke City this time were not quite so horrible.
Sure they were irritating but they played some really good stuff at times, as did we, and it made for a quite entertaining, if frustrating, goalless draw.
They also had a larger than normal travelling support, normally a mini bus and 2 taxis is enough but this time there was possibly 2500 ish, which brings me on to the attendance 47000+……really? I think not!
Back to the match and their goalkeeper rightly took many plaudits as he made at least three outstanding save and while we really did need the points, we had to settle for one, and another must win game this weekend at Bournemouth.
Who scheduled this for an early kick-off and 740 mile round journey needs their head examined, but lo and behold we sell out quicker than Everton can knock in six goals at Goodison Park!
We are playing really well in patches now and a steady improvement should see us come back with three points and a place outside the relegation zone, fingers crossed.
If we can turn shots on goal into actual goals, we may well give another team a hiding in the coming weeks, here is hoping.
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