Teenager offers Harper apology

Published Jan. 17, 2011 1:16 p.m. ET

The Sunderland fan, who was held by Northumbria Police following Sunday's sell-out 1-1 draw between the Premier League rivals, was at the training ground with his father, who was said by a source to have not to have slept a wink and be "mortified. Harper was not at training, but a club official was there to hear the teenager make a heart-felt apology. "His intention was to apologise to the manager, the club and to Harper," the insider said. "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." Sunderland issued a club statement on Monday morning promising to take action against anyone found guilty of offences, and praising supporters who helped to identify those responsible. The statement said: "The vast majority of fans in the 48,000 capacity crowd behaved very well and we thank them for their loyal support. "Sunderland AFC operates a zero-tolerance policy towards anti-social behaviour of any kind within the Stadium of Light, and we are proud of our reputation as a family club. "Working closely with Northumbria Police, we will ensure that appropriate action is taken against anyone found to have been involved in any such behaviour at yesterday's game. "The club also recognises the positive role Sunderland supporters played in helping to identify the small minority responsible for anti-social behaviour to stewards and the police."