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Fan 'tries to make Harper apology'

A teenager alleged to have shoved Newcastle United goalkeeper Steve Harper during the Wear-Tyne derby has reportedly tried to apologise to the player face to face.

The 17-year-old Sunderland fan, who has been bailed after Northumbria Police arrested him following Sunday's 1-1 draw between the bitter Premier League rivals, was said to have turned up at Newcastle's training ground on Monday.

Harper was not at training but a club official was there to hear the teenager, accompanied by his father, make an apology.

His father was said not to have slept a wink and was "mortified", a source said. The insider said: "His intention was to apologise to the manager, the club and to Harper. He sat down with a club official and he could not have been more humble and full of remorse."

The teenager was arrested after he ran on the pitch and was later released on police bail until March. Northumbria Police said inquiries were ongoing.

Newcastle United declined to comment on the apology as the club tried to draw a line under the events at the Stadium of Light.

There were ugly scenes after the final whistle when opposing fans hurled seats at each other and, during the game, referee Howard Webb spotted a miniature glass bottle which had been thrown on to the pitch.

Northumbria Police said 33 arrests were made before, during and after the match. Officers held 24 Sunderland fans and nine Newcastle supporters.

It was a repeat of the trouble which happened last time the two sides met at the Stadium of Light in 2008 and incidents will be reported to the Football Association by match officials.

Sunderland bosses vowed to take "appropriate action" against fans who caused trouble at the derby.

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