Steel City derby: Police chief "relatively happy" after restricting trouble to minor scuffles

Police prepare for fans leaving Bramall Lane after the game.
Police prepare for fans leaving Bramall Lane after the game.

Pockets of trouble and a goalless draw failed to ruin the night for thousands of football supporters who enjoyed the 142nd Steel City derby.

Fireworks, flares and bottles were thrown as fans clashed on Bramall Lane before the game but riot police were quick to separate Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United fans.

Chief Supt Shaun Morley, who oversaw the policing operation at the match, said four people were arrested for public disorder and assault offences but added the force was "happy".

"From our perspective, we are relatively happy with how it went," he said.

"The game itself passed without any incidents and post-game there have been very few incidents.

"We had a few scuffles on Bramall Lane before the game but it's gone reasonably well. We are as happy as we can be with how it went.

"We have seen some minor issues but with a game of this magnitude that's what is expected."

Around 500 police officers were on duty for the match, including armed officers on Clough Road.

Chief Supt Morley said there were "two or three flares or fireworks" set off before the game as fans clashed near John Street.

"Fireworks and flares are always a concern and we will certainly do our best to identify those individuals responsible."

More than 31,000 packed into Bramall Lane to see the Owls hold United to a 0-0 draw despite having skipper Glenn Loovens sent off.

Neil Bennett, who has been following the Blades for more than 50 years, said: "I'm happy. We've got four out of six points from them and they thought they were going to hammer us because we only came up from the lower league last year.

"The atmosphere was amazing. Everybody was singing the songs and that's what football is all about.

"I think we are very close to being a very successful team under Chris Wilder."

Fellow Blade John Cave said he was disappointed his team didn't take another three points of their cross-city rivals.

"Both teams had their chances - it wasn't that bad a game to be honest. We had more possession and we should have done more with it," he said.

"They played very defensive and they seemed happy with a point, which if we were playing away I wouldn't have been happy about because it's a derby."

John said he hoped the Blades would continue to fight for a playoff spot but was happy with how his team had done already this season.

Abbie Cave, 18, said: "I thought we were the better team. We had a lot of chances.

"But the city is ours. We beat them 4-2 and drew 0-0 tonight so the city is still ours."

Meanwhile Wednesdayites were happy to settle for a point, quoting the number of injuries their team has.

Joshua Scott, 23, said: "I think we've done what we came here to do. We've got to take it one game at a time at the minute and we've got a point away from home with ten men."

Fellow Owl Darren Davies, 27, said he would wait and see before judging new Owls manager Jos Luhukay.

"We don't know much about Jos but he hasn't got his own team," he said.

"We need to see the season out, steady the ship and give him a chance to sort it out."

Meanwhile, former England star Rio Ferdinand was spotted in Sheffield - and had time to pose for pictures with football fans ahead of the game.

The ex-Manchester United defender stopped to chat to a group of Sheffield United fans near the Sainsbury's supermarket in Arundel Gate.

Charity collectors and traders also enjoyed a successful night.

Manning his burger van at the end of John Street, Jordan Holden, from Westfield said: "It's been really busy tonight. We set up here for every game and I think it's been one of the busiest of the season."

Dedicated volunteers also braved the cold to collect cash on behalf of the Lord Mayor's Charities.

Julie Jephson and husband Dennis were outside the Copthorne Hotel.

Julie said: "We are really lucky that United have allowed us to hold a collection because they wouldn't normally allow it on a night match.

"We collected at the derby at Hillsborough too."

Money collected will be split between Sheffield Hospital Charity, Young Carers, Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind, Dementia Action Alliance and ArtWorks.