Newcastle berate ‘fans’ after weekend of violence

Newcastle have said they are “embarrassed and appalled” by the violent scenes that erupted after Sunday’s derby defeat by Sunderland, as police warned that more needs to be done to tackle disorder in English football.

There were 29 arrests following violence after Sunderland’s 3-0 win at Newcastle, in which four police officers suffered injuries, and 14 arrests after Millwall fans became involved in fighting during their FA Cup semi-final defeat by Wigan at Wembley.

Furthermore, British Transport Police made 33 other football-related arrests, including for violence and racist abuse, during a number of outbreaks of disorder over the weekend, including of Chelsea and Manchester City fans returning from Wembley.

British sports minister Hugh Robertson yesterday branded the weekend’s violence as inexcusable but insisted the game has not returned to the “bad old days” of hooliganism.

But British Transport Police Chief Constable Andrew Trotter warned: “The scenes at Wembley Stadium on Saturday and in Newcastle on Sunday serve as a firm and sobering reminder that there is still much more to be done in tackling football-related disorder.”

Newcastle have vowed to ban for life any fans caught causing trouble in the wake of the Premier League defeat at St James’ Park.

A Magpies statement said: “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.

“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.”

Robertson said the incidents showed that the authorities could not relax their vigilance.

He added: “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.”

Three police officers were injured in the trouble at Newcastle, including a female officer who was taken to hospital after being struck on the shoulder by a brick.

Following the second FA Cup semi-final, four Manchester City supporters were arrested at rail stations for offences including racially-aggravated public order, assaulting a train conductor and possession of drugs.

Four Chelsea fans were arrested for offences racially-aggravated offences and common assault.

On Saturday, BTP officers arrested six Millwall supporters for offences including affray, theft, racially-aggravated and public order offences and being drunk and disorderly.

In other incidents, 11 Watford fans were detained at King’s Cross.

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