Premier League - Police arrest 24 at derby

Sun, 16 Jan 20:31:00 2011

Police have confirmed that 24 people were arrested after crowd trouble marred the Tyne-Wear derby between Sunderland and Newcastle.

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The match finished in dramatic circumstances as Sunderland got a last minute goal to draw the match 1-1.

At the final whistle rival fans then hurled seats at each other and one supporter ran onto to the pitch and appeared to push Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper.

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce said of the incident:  "All I saw was Steve Harper on the floor. I didn't know what had happened at the time. I would like say a 'well done' to the Sunderland fans who gave the kid up - and he is a kid, that's what I can't understand either, the age of the lad."

The match was a 48,000 sell-out and the match commander - Temporary Chief Superintendent Steve Neil – said that most were well behaved.

"The crowd was mainly good natured and the overwhelming majority wanted nothing more than to enjoy the action on the pitch in an atmosphere free from violence and disorder," he said.

"However, there were still some troublemakers who were determined to spoil things for the genuine fans. 

"We had anticipated the potential for disorder and had the resources in place to deal with it swiftly and firmly. The policing operation went well and I would like to commend the actions and professionalism of all the officers involved who managed to diffuse a number of difficult situations. I would also like to thank the stewards for their assistance."

Sunderland are currently sixth in the Premier League table with Newcastle ninth.

When the teams first met this season in October, Newcastle beat their fierce rivals by a surprisingly large 5-1 scoreline.

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