Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Bursting the bubble

My enemy's enemy is my friend. So goes the old adage - which explains the curious entente cordiale between Newcastle and 5under1and over the timing of, policing of and away fans' transportation to and from the forthcoming derby on 1st February.

The encounter was initially designated as a "bubble" match, meaning that all of the away supporters would have had to travel to St James' Park on official transport - a move allegedly determined by Northumbria Police. Fans of both clubs united to oppose this curb on individual freedom, with the Football Supporters' Federation throwing their considerable weight behind the challenge too. This led to a statement from the police force saying that they "cannot direct changes" to transport arrangements or kick-off times - which resulted in the Mackems bowing to supporter pressure and scrapping the bubble.

That wasn't the end of the story, though, with both clubs then following their fans' lead and joining together to condemn the police statement as "false and absurd". They went further, vowing to set derby kick-offs to suit themselves, the league and TV companies from now on and to expect the police just to turn up as required. Somewhere, there appear to have been some crossed wires...

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