Tyne-Wear Derby

On Saturday, I returned once again to my current home-from-home, Old Trafford, to see if Manchester United could finally rediscover the sort of form that led them to their 20th League title last season. Pressure’s beginning to mount of the new manager David Moyes…perhaps, most importantly, not from the club and it’s Directors and supporters, but certainly from various arms of the written media keen to make comparisons with his predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson, a man who knew little but success.

After their recent home slip-ups to West Bromwich Albion and Southampton, I had to make a tough decision as to whether or not they could, and would, finally come away with a victory in this match against Stoke City, traditionally a tough side to play against.

The game didn’t start well for United (nor me, at the other end), as they went behind just minutes in, through a goal from the ever-ridiculed former Liverpool striker, Peter Crouch. The game swayed in one direction and then the other, going into half time with Stoke ahead 1-2. However, things changed in the 2nd half, and my decision to follow the home attack for the full 90 minutes paid off eventually…

 

A fan wears a Man Utd tracksuit top signed by current manager David Moyes (L) and former boss Sir Alex Ferguson
A fan wears a Man Utd tracksuit top signed by current manager David Moyes (L) and former boss Sir Alex Ferguson

 

Man Utd manager David Moyes arrives at the dugout before the match
Man Utd manager David Moyes arrives at the dugout before the match

 

Wayne Rooney of Man Utd is surrounded by Stoke defenders
Wayne Rooney of Man Utd is surrounded by Stoke defenders

 

Wayne Rooney fires a looping header over the Stoke defence for Man Utd's 2nd goal
Wayne Rooney fires a looping header over the Stoke defence for Man Utd’s 2nd goal

 

Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez scores the winner for Man Utd with a header past Robert Huth of Stoke
Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez scores the winner for Man Utd with a header past Robert Huth of Stoke

 

The statue of Sir Alex Ferguson continues to loom over everyone at Old Trafford
The statue of Sir Alex Ferguson continues to loom over everyone at Old Trafford

 

The next day I travelled to the north east for my first ever Tyne-Wear derby, between Sunderland and Newcastle United at the Stadium of Light. There was an air of anticipation ahead of the match…Sunderland fans were feeling extremely positive despite lying at the bottom of the table with just one point all season, knowing derby day could produce results against form.

Arriving early for the lunchtime kick-off, I made my way shortly afterwards to St. Peters’ train station, located halfway between the stadium and the centre of town. I took with me a pair of cameras, one with a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens and the other with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. I wanted to see if there was any tension building between rival supporters, and to gauge the mood of various groups of home fans, many of whom were enjoying early pints before the big game. As luck would have it, I arrived at the entrance to the station just as a train packed with vising fans pulled in. Hoards of Geordies were met by police officers as they flowed off the train and made their way down the steps from the platform, making their feelings known to the spectating locals as they did so…

 

Police stand by as Newcastle fans arrive at St. Peter's train station
Police stand by as Newcastle fans arrive at St. Peter’s train station

 

The police were extremely co-operative, considering the scale of the operation they had on their hands. After speaking to a nearby officer, I was allowed through the cordon to join up with them on the other side of the station, and from there I followed them all the way to the ground…

 

A line of Newcastle fans relieve themselves against a brick wall.
A line of Newcastle fans relieve themselves against a brick wall.

 

Dozens of police officers escort the Newcastle fans to the ground
Dozens of police officers escort the Newcastle fans to the ground

 

There were few, if any noticeable problems between fans as kick-off drew near, and once Sunderland’s new manager, Gus Poyet stepped out to acknowledge the crowd before his first home game in charge, it was game on…

 

New Sunderland manager Gus Poyet takes his seat
New Sunderland manager Gus Poyet takes his seat

 

Steven Fletcher scores the 1st goal for Sunderland with a near-post header
Steven Fletcher scores the 1st goal for Sunderland with a near-post header

 

Steven Fletcher celebrates with Sunderland teammate Phil Bardsley after scoring the opener
Steven Fletcher celebrates with Sunderland teammate Phil Bardsley after scoring the opener

 

Steven Fletcher of Sunderland celebrates after scoring their opening goal
Steven Fletcher of Sunderland celebrates after scoring their opening goal

 

Andrea Dossena (L) and Sunderland teammate Adam Johnson vie for the ball with Newcastle's Cheik Ismael Tiote
Andrea Dossena (L) and Sunderland teammate Adam Johnson vie for the ball with Newcastle’s Cheik Ismael Tiote

 

Davide Santon of Newcastle battles with Sebastian Larsson of Sunderland
Davide Santon of Newcastle battles with Sebastian Larsson of Sunderland

 

Sunderland fans celebrate their derby day victory
Sunderland fans celebrate their derby day victory

 

Sunderland fans celebrate their 2-1 victory
Sunderland fans celebrate their 2-1 victory

 

A Sunderland fan joins in the celebrations after their 2-1 victory
A Sunderland fan joins in the celebrations after their 2-1 victory

 

A Sunderland fan reveals a tattoo of the club crest on his back as he celebrates victory
A Sunderland fan reveals a tattoo of the club crest on his back as he celebrates victory

 

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