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Let freedom ring: Newcastle and Sunderland unite to oppose police travel restrictions

Jan 8, 2014, 9:21 AM EDT

Sunderland v Newcastle United - Premier League Getty Images

Even bitter rivals see eye-to-eye on an issue causing great consternation amongst the supporters on both sides of the Tyne-Wear Derby.

In what’s been described as a mandated “bubble trip,” police in Northeast England have placed restrictions on how Sunderland fans may acquire tickets and travel to St. James Park for the road fixture of the derby, but supporters and now the clubs themselves are stepping into the fray.

Sunderland supporters had independent travel to the game banned and were being forced to travel in specific buses to the match, and police had said that decision was made by Black Cats management.

Yet Sunderland has spoken up on the matter, as both their club and Newcastle United are in a public, heated argument with police on differences of opinion regarding match start times.

Part of the joint statement:

“In light of Northumbria Police’s latest statement, Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC will now inform the Premier League that all future fixtures between the two clubs will be available for kick-off times to suit the clubs, the league and their broadcast partners, if applicable, and will expect Northumbria Police to police these games, especially given the considerable costs both clubs incur for such special police services.

After considering the police position, Sunderland AFC will be withdrawing the terms and conditions of ticket sales, which previously stated that all supporters must attend the game on official transport.”

Police had previously said they have zero control over when a match starts, while the clubs have publicly said the police limit when the heated derbies may kick off.

There were 29 arrests after the last derby, including the now-infamous puncher of a police horse (now in jail for 12 months), so it isn’t like police concerns aren’t understandable. Yet the concept that sports fans would be forced into one targeted group of vehicles runs a little perpendicular to common sense. Marching fans into the away section (above) is one thing; limiting their personal transportation is another.

  1. mdac1012 - Jan 8, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    Sometimes I read these stories about what happens in England, and it’s just scary. Travel restrictions on citizens in their own country, people arrested and charged with crimes because they may have offended someone with what they said. I love England, I have visited multiple times in my life, but the restrictions on what should be basic, fundamental rights of its citizens is becoming very alarming.

    • unclemosesgreen - Jan 8, 2014 at 10:07 AM

      You’re forgetting that there’s no habeus corpus. Not only can you be locked up at random, but you can also get “lost” in the Maze and they might not even admit that they have you.

      • mdac1012 - Jan 8, 2014 at 11:00 AM

        I am not forgetting at all, I am fully aware it’s a different country with different laws. You constantly have politicians in this country trying to restrict freedoms and we have a written constitution and other safeguards built in that are designed to protect certain freedoms (theoretically anyway). You don’t necessarily have that in England which makes it all the more alarming when you are told, the government is not allowing people to travel on their own from one city to another.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 8, 2014 at 12:06 PM

        Quite right sir – I should have said ‘you forgot to mention’ – how could I know what you remember.

    • reformed2012 - Jan 8, 2014 at 7:32 PM

      Korea also have travel restrictions on citizens in their own country, and people arrested and charged with crimes because they may have offended someone (especially the dear leaders) with what they said.

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