Belfast Telegraph

Fan 'tried to apologise' to Harper

A teenager alleged to have shoved Newcastle 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 was held by Northumbria Police following Sunday's sell-out 1-1 draw between the rivals, was said to have turned up at Newcastle's training ground on Monday morning. Harper was not at training, but a club official was there to hear the teenager, accompanied by his father, make a heart-felt apology.

His father was said not to have slept a wink and was "mortified", according to a source, who added: "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 declined to comment on the apology, as the club tried to draw a line under the events at the Stadium of Light, although Harper has spoken of his shock at being confronted on the pitch.

The 35-year-old was allegedly pushed to the ground in the aftermath of Asamoah Gyan's late equaliser for the Black Cats.

Harper told the Evening Chronicle: "I didn't see him until he was right on me. The supporter was detained by Sunderland fans after the incident, which was nice, and I heard he had been arrested.

"[Sunderland chairman] Niall Quinn apologised to me after the game. I would like to thank the supporters of both teams for their concerns afterwards."

The Football Association are awaiting reports into the trouble.

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