Newcastle 'embarrassed' by violence after Sunderland loss

 

Newcastle say they are "embarrassed and appalled" by supporters who clashed with police after Sunday's 3-0 defeat by Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby.

And they have pledged to ban any fans involved for life.

Four officers suffered injuries and 29 people were arrested, while one man was pictured punching a horse.

"We were embarrassed and appalled by the behaviour of a minority of so-called fans who were involved in disturbances," read a club statement.

"These deplorable individuals have no place at Newcastle United."

The trouble occurred in Newcastle city centre, where bottles were thrown and bins set on fire as mounted officers tried to move crowds back.

"Newcastle United have been working with Northumbria Police, and will continue to do so, in order to identify all of the individuals concerned," the statement continued.

Football violence in England and Wales 2011-12

  • Arrests at international and domestic games - 2,363 (down 24%)
  • Average arrests per match - 0.72
  • Arrests inside stadiums - 1,215
  • Arrests outside stadiums - 1,148
  • Banning orders - 2,750 (down from 3,173)

Source: Home Office figures gathered by the Office for National Statistics (ONS)

"The club will take the strongest possible action against those involved in the disturbances and will impose immediate lifetime bans on all those found guilty.

"They bring shame on the club and the vast majority of its proper, law-abiding, fans."

The disorder in Newcastle came a day after fighting among Millwall fans marred their FA Cup semi-final with Wigan at Wembley.

There were 14 arrests for offences including affray, possession of an offensive weapon, Class A drug possession, ticket touting and assault on police.

Some fans were left bloodied and a young girl was pictured in tears.

"I was very shocked and disappointed," said Sports Minister Hugh Robertson . "This never goes away and we tend to go through phases when we've cracked it, but you need to keep on it the whole time.

"That said, any suggestion that this is a return to the bad old days of the 1970s and 1980s is wide of the mark.

"The early indications are this was caused by a combination of too much drink, warm weather and an enormous amount of stupidity from the fans involved.

"It is absolutely inexcusable and I will be looking for the authorities to take tough action."

Home Office figures show the number of arrests from matches in England and Wales fell to a record low in 2012, but the latest incidents have brought the issue of football violence back into sharp focus.

Andy Holt, Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) lead on football policing

"It should be a sporting occasion, a family occasion. It shouldn't necessarily be one where you have to have police officers in there to control unruly behaviour.

"It underlines that while we are better at managing football violence these days, it hasn't gone away. It's very difficult to plan for and legislate for incidents where one set of fans fight among themselves."

Bob Asprey, Millwall Supporters' Club chairman

"There were a lot of people who were drunk and there was drug element. There were bits of tension. It wasn't dealt with - it certainly wouldn't happen at our ground and I don't think it would happen at any other ground.

"It beggared belief that this was occurring and there was no action being taken by the authorities."

"Paul", Wembley steward (on Radio 5 live)

"There was violence all the way through the game - I've never seen anything like it. The scale of the violence was just ridiculous.

"It was way too violent to go in so we notified the police and let them deal with it. We ran the second semi-final on Sunday in exactly the same way and the Manchester City fans and Chelsea fans were fantastic."

Frank Maloney, boxing promoter and Millwall fan

"There was no violence throughout the first half and it was an incident that could have been dealt with straight away.

"The stewards were looking and laughing at it. If the stewards were doing their jobs properly, why didn't they pull out the people who were smoking joints? Wembley is a no-smoking area."

Steve Neill, Northumbria Police chief superintendent

"Of 52,000 people who attended St James' Park, there were only eight arrests inside the stadium - the true football fans behaved impeccably.

"In terms of what went wrong, it's what went right. We have plans for such eventualities and we have the experience to deal with these situations.

"We try to keep as low-key as possible but when officers come under attack, as they did yesterday, then we responded with the tactics we have trained in and we restored order very quickly indeed."

Steve Wraith, Newcastle supporter

"The police do a very good job on derby day - home and way it's like a military operation. There's always going to be a minority that spoil it for people and that's what happened on Sunday.

"They get caught up in this testosterone-built atmosphere for violence."

Mark Jensen, The Mag fanzine editor

"You've got people intent on causing trouble waiting for the Sunderland fans to be escorted out of the ground. It happens year after year but I think the police were surprised by the sheer number of people involved.

"Probably less than 10% of the people causing the trouble had been at the game. It's anti-social behaviour and a society problem rather than football. It's just a chance for people to join in a bit of trouble."