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Pitch invader apologises

The teenaged Sunderland fan who pushed Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper over during Sunday's north-east derby has publicly apologised for his actions.

Ross Miller (17) , was arrested after barging into 35-year-old Harper on the pitch in the aftermath of Asamoah Gyan's injury-time equaliser at the Stadium of Light.

His actions were later condemned by Black Cats boss Steve Bruce, who made his feelings known to the youngster as he was led away. Sunderland also confirmed that they would take action against anyone found guilty of offences in relation to the game.

However, Miller, who was released on bail by police pending further inquiries, and his father Gary visited both Newcastle's Darsley Park training headquarters and Sunderland today to apologise.

The 17-year-old said: "I was just overwhelmed by the fact that we had scored in the last minute against Newcastle, so I ran on to the pitch with no intention at all to push Steve Harper.

"I got a bit carried away, did what I did, which I was very sorry about."

Asked what Bruce had said to him, he said: "He called me 'a stupid idiot' and he was right because it was my fault for pushing him."

Gary Miller revealed that his son had wanted to apologise to Harper in person, although the goalkeeper was not training. He instead spoke to club secretary Lee Charnley.

He said: "It was Ross' idea. I spoke to him at 11.0 last night and it was Ross' idea. He wanted to do it, so this morning, off we went and we got to Newcastle's training ground and we apologised to the club secretary.

"I can't say enough about Newcastle United. As much as I am a Sunderland fan, they were absolutely great. Really, we wanted to speak to Steve Harper, but we have said as much as we can. We then went to Sunderland and apologised to Sunderland."

"This isn't what we are like, this family. We have never been in trouble in our lives. It was just a one-off and we wanted to apologise, quite simply."

Irish Independent