A mock 'Sports Direct' sign created by Sunderland fans to wind up Newcastle United supporters protesting against Magpies owner Mike Ashley has been removed.
Darren Pearson Lloyd created the sign at a store in Hylton Road in reaction to protests by Magpies fans outside Sports Direct stores owned by Mr Ashley.
Mr Pearson Lloyd says he was asked by fellow Black Cats fans to create the sign.
The sign said 'Pop Up Shout Shop For Sad Newcastle United Fans To Yell And Scream At' while it also hails Sunderland's record-breaking six consecutive Wear-Tyne derby wins and refers to 'horse punchers' after a well-documented incident where one Newcastle fan was jailed for punching a police horse on duty after the Black Cats won at St James' Park in 2013.
However the sign, which appeared at the end of last week, has now been removed.
But Mr Pearson Lloyd defended the sign after it was spotted.
He said today: "I was paid to make the sign and erect it by some Sunderland fans and as far as I’m concerned it was just another job, though a good laugh,
"In hindsight I’ll be a bit more choosy in the jobs I accept in the future!"
When the sign was first seen Mr Pearson Lloyd said: "At the end of the day it’s a bit of fun.
"When we got relegated, twice, they put signs up leading to the Stadium of Light taking the Micky, but at least we didn’t start shouting at shops and restaurants, or even taking our shoes off in protest!
"Saying that, it must be good business for Mike Ashley if they lose a shoe cos we all know where they’ll go for a cut price cheap replacement!"
Some people said they failed to see the funny side of the prank.
A Newcastle United-supporting woman who runs a shop near to the store said: "I think whoever has done it is a bit obsessed to be honest. "If it makes them happy I suppose that's great but I just don't think it's that funny.
"I don't think Sunderland fans are in any position to laugh at Newcastle right now.
"But I don't dislike Sunderland at all.
"There was another shop done near here when Newcastle got relegated before saying they'd be selling all players for £1 which I thought was quite funny.
"This isn't very appropriate when you've got children walking past seeing the word "scum".