Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew has pleaded for calm among rival supporters ahead of Sunday's derby clash with Sunderland.
The sides meet at St James' Park this weekend in what is always an eagerly anticipated Premier League fixture and amid a growing belief in the area that the hostility between the fans is easing.
Pardew welcomes this development and wants the game to pass without incident, on and off the pitch.
"I am hearing the right stuff on the radio and in the street about the levels of antagonism between the two clubs dying down a little bit to what it's really about – a football match," Pardew is quoted as saying by the Newcastle Evening Chronicle.
"I am really pleased about that and hope it carries through to Sunday.
"The last thing the North East should be doing is fighting each other. But, at the same time, knowing it's a massive rivalry and the passion of the game shouldn’t be lost.
"We know that will be there and it's what it should be about. I am sure [Sunderland head coach] Gus [Poyet] is of the same opinion as me.
"I said two years ago that this nasty hate - those kinds of words - needed to go out.
"It's a rivalry, a game of football, may the best team win and then we shake hands and go home."
Sunderland make the short trip to Newcastle buoyed by the fact they have won the corresponding game 3-0 in each of the past two seasons.comments