In the wake of the 29 arrests made after Newcastle supporters clashed with police following the 3-0 derby defeat by Sunderland, Mike Ashley’s club released a statement Monday promising lifetime bans for anyone involved in the violence. The statement said that Newcastle was “embarrassed and appalled” by the behavior of its fans following the defeat at St. James’ Park.
“We were embarrassed and appalled by the behaviour of a minority of so-called fans who last night were involved in disturbances and disorder in Newcastle city centre after the match,” the statement said.
“Newcastle United have been working with Northumbria Police, and will continue to do so, in order to identify all of the individuals concerned.
“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.
“These deplorable individuals have no place at Newcastle United and bring shame on the club and the vast majority of its proper, law-abiding, fans.”
Photos reveal hundreds of people were involved in the violence and police have called for anyone who can help identify those involved to come forward. The alleged acts range from supporters throwing bottles at police, to setting off flares (one of which hit and burned a disabled Newcastle fan), to one man punching a police horse (that was not injured in the fracas).
Three police officers were injured in the encounter and Northumbria Police chief superintendent Steve Neill has vowed to embarrass anyone found guilty of violent behavior, saying: “We’ll run a name-and-shame campaign up here. If people have mobile video footage or pictures of what happened or know anyone involved we want them to contact Northumbria Police. It’s important these people are brought before the courts.”
The disruption followed Sunderland’s sound 3-0 defeat of Newcastle before a packed house of 52,355 at St James’ Park. Paolo Di Canio celebrated every goal with the vigor and emotion of a World Cup victory, complete with chest pounds and knee slides. The win was a huge boost for the Black Cats keeping them level with Stoke City and Aston Villa on 34 points, just three clear of relegation-threatened Wigan.
It was Sunderland’s first derby victory on Tyneside in 13 years.