Supporters from both sides of the Tyne-Wear divide will meet on Tuesday 9th December to call for “passion not poison” ahead of this month’s derby.
“A Derby To Be Proud Of” will see individual fans, supporters’ groups, and fanzines come together seeking to maintain the “white hot” derby atmosphere, without the violence.
Last season fans from both sides stood side-by-side to oppose “bubble match” travel restrictions. That campaign was a success as the restrictions were overturned and the match took place with no major incidents.
That fan solidarity continued, albeit in tragic circumstances, following the deaths of Newcastle United fans John Alder and Liam Sweeney on Flight MH17. A fundraising page started by Sunderland fan Gary Ferguson raised an amazing £33,618.
Kevin Miles, chief executive of the Football Supporters’ Federation, said:
“This isn’t about a happy-clappy, mutual love-in. Fans want to keep the derby day atmosphere as intense and passionate, even hostile, as ever. But it’s entirely possible to do that while rejecting violence, and it’s clear that’s the view of the overwhelming majority of supporters.
“Fans from both sides asked the FSF to help bring together the unique coalition which successfully overturned last year’s ‘bubble match’ restrictions, and this is a continuation of that work.
“Let’s keep the passion, but lose the poison.”
“A Derby To Be Proud Of” is supported by A Love Supreme, Newcastle United Supporters’ Trust, NUFC Fans United, nufc.com, Ready To Go, Roker Report, Seventy3, The Mag, True Faith, and Wise Men Say.
While the campaign was instigated by fans of both clubs, it also has the support of Newcastle United FC, Sunderland AFC and Northumbria Police.
Supporters will be entertained at the 9th December launch event by local comedian Gavin Webster, while ex-players Kevin Ball and Steve Howey will talk about their derby day experiences.
“A Derby To Be Proud Of” takes place at The Bridge Hotel, Newcastle, on Tuesday 9th December (7pm start). Entry is free but spaces are extremely limited, if you’d like to attend email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0330 44 000 44.