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Newcastle and Sunderland fans call for passion, not poison

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Earlier this month a unique coalition from both sides of the Tyne-Wear divide successfully campaigned against “bubble match” restrictions. The FSF was very pleased to work alongside them and we’re equally pleased it’s been followed up with another, positive, pre-derby message from various groups/fanzines.

This joint statement is backed by A Love Supreme, Fans United, Newcastle United Supporters’ Trust,, Ready To Go, Roker Report, Seventy3, #time4change, The Mag, True Faith and Wise Men Say:

“Two weeks ago fans’ groups and fanzines from Newcastle United and Sunderland launched a successful joint campaign to say “no” to bubble matches.

“Now both sets of fans are linking up to restore pride in the Tyne-Wear derby, championing a white-hot atmosphere and sporting rivalry while rejecting violence.

“Recent seasons have seen an unwelcome level of hatred and disorder around derby games.

“Genuine fans don’t want the authorities to have any excuse to cut ticket allocations or restrict travel in future seasons, we just want a game to remember.

“We can keep the passion, but lose the poison. Let’s make this a derby to be proud of.”

Both Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC have also given their backing to “A Derby To Be Proud Of”.

Lee Marshall, PR and supporter liaison manager at Newcastle United, said:

“Tyne-Wear derby fixtures are magnificent occasions for the North East.

“They continue to showcase not only the incredible passion that the region has for our national game, but the vibrancy and positive spirit within our communities too.

“We support all attempts to uphold the proud traditions of this special fixture and applaud the FSF’s initiative to encourage fans to demonstrate their pride in their respective teams and cities in the right manner.

“We join the FSF, Sunderland AFC and supporters of both clubs in condemning any form of violence, disorder or antisocial behaviour and wish everyone a derby to be truly proud of.”

Margaret Byrne, chief executive at Sunderland, said:

“We all know the importance of the derby, it ignites passion and emotion like no other game and is a fantastic advertisement for football and the north east region.

“We would urge supporters to ensure that Saturday’s game is remembered for the right reasons and we join the FSF, fans groups and Newcastle United in lending our support to the campaign to make this a derby to be proud of.”

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Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund


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  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • Pledgeball
  • SD Europe