SUNDERLAND AFC have issued advice to supporters ahead of the Wear-Tyne derby on Easter Sunday - with officials warning there will be “enhanced safety measures”.
Supporters are being advised to arrive early for the match at the Stadium of Light on Sunday, April 5 (KO 4pm) with fans asked to allow extra time for their journey to and from the stadium.
There will be enhanced safety measures in place for the derby, which mean some changes to our normal matchday operation.Paul Weir, Sunderland AFC’s head of safety and security
There are a number of changes to the usual match day arrangements, including to the traffic management, and supporters have been warned it may take longer to enter and exit the stadium.
Paul Weir, Sunderland AFC’s head of safety and security, said: “There will be enhanced safety measures in place for the derby, which mean some changes to our normal matchday operation.
“We want Easter Sunday to be an enjoyable day for everyone and have worked in conjunction with the police to ensure the safe arrival and departure of all supporters.
“We strongly advise supporters to plan their journey in advance, arrive at the stadium in good time and to listen to the advice of stewards and police on the day.
“Naturally there may be some delays, particularly in exiting the stadium and we thank supporters in advance for their patience and understanding.”
Turnstiles for home supporters will be open from 2.30pm and supporters are reminded that they can use any turnstile in the East, West or South Stand, to enter the stadium.
Access to the Strongbow North Stand for home supporters will be limited due safety segregation measures in place as police divert visiting fans from buses to their turnstiles in the Strongbow Upper North Stand.
Sunderland supporters seated in the lower Strongbow North Stand can gain entry to the stadium via the East or West Stand turnstiles, as well as their usual turnstiles, which should avoid any delays.
Sunderland supporters who use the emergency access road parallel to the Aquatic Centre as a short cut to access the stadium area on foot are also advised that this area will be closed off during the movement of visiting supporters in and out of the stadium.
Police segregation will be in place both before and after kick-off, resulting in no vehicle access via Vaux Brewery Way, which runs parallel to the Aquatic Centre.
Anyone using the West Stand car parks must enter and exit via Millennium Way (past the Bob Stokoe statue).
This may lead to some additional congestion and supporters are asked to “show patience with police and stewards during this time”.
Fans travelling to the game can utilise the usual scheduled Metros and trains. Sunderland AFC supporters can make their way to the stadium from the Stadium of Light Metro station, whilst visiting fans will use St Peters Metro Station.
At full-time Sunderland AFC supporters in the Strongbow North Stand can leave the stadium via their usual exit points for a five-minute period. After this time a “sterile area” will be created outside the Strongbow North Stand and a diversion put in place to exits in both the East and West Stands to allow the movement of visiting supporters.
Home fans must turn left upon exiting the West Stand and right when exiting the East Stand in order to avoid mixing with the visiting supporters, who will be held back inside the stadium for a period of time.
Guests in hospitality areas of the stadium may face restrictions in exiting via the main West Stand stadium entrance after the game as visiting fans are escorted from the Strongbow North Stand to their buses.