Sunderland and Newcastle supporters react to fan violence

Sunderland and Newcastle supporters react to fan violence

Sunderland and Newcastle fans have had their say on recent crowd trouble which involved the injury of a young child.

West Ham United and Chelsea supporters clashed in a game between the two sides at the Olympic Stadium, resulting in bottles, coins and seats being thrown. A consequence of this was the injury of an innocent nine-year-old girl.

Simon Newell, a committee member of the Newcastle United supporters club, thinks this will affect supporters going to matches in the future.

He said: “There are some serious problems right now, and unless resolved, will make fans and families think twice about going to games.”

At St. James’ Park, home of Newcastle United, children’s tickets can be bought for seats all around the ground, including near to the seats allocated for the away fans.

“I don’t think it is wise to perhaps situate family sections near the away fans as it can get rowdy,” Simon added.

Newcastle United supporters club is an independent organisation that has been running for over 50 years. Within the supporters’ club, it helps to provide a safe environment for those wanting to engage with the club by attending games.

Despite the violence at the Olympic Stadium, Simon does not agree that football is becoming a dangerous activity to attend.

He said: “To give the idea that attending football is a dangerous activity is ludicrous.”

The incident will stop a minority going to matches, and as a committee member, Simon wants to help encourage them to change their mind.

“Clubs have to make sure that they enforce bans on persons who display unacceptable behaviour. There are enough laws already for the police & club to act,” he said.

However, Black Cats supporter John, who takes his eldest son to watch Sunderland on weekends, admits he has “never felt unsafe taking his son to football in the past.”

The 31-year-old father does now recognise however, the potential danger on particular match days following the incident, especially the Tyne-Wear derby between Newcastle and Sunderland.

He said: “I would never take him to a Tyne-Wear derby, just for caution. You never know what can happen at those games.”

Statistics show that violence on match days is not a rarity in the North-East. Sunderland had 72 arrests last season, while Newcastle had 57 and Middlesbrough with 49.

John admitted that the recent violence has made him become slightly more protective over his son at matches.

“It makes me think a little more than I normally would. I’ll have to be careful and keep watching him at all times.”

 

James Crisp

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