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Sunderland AFC supporter who created mock 'Sports Direct' shop to wind up Newcastle fans says 'it's a bit of fun'

The Sunderland fan who created a shop front poking fun at supporters of Newcastle United who protest against club owner Mike Ashley has defended the sign.

Darren 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.

The mocked up shop front in Hylton Road, Sunderland.

The mocked up shop front in Hylton Road, Sunderland.

The sign says '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.

Rafa Benitez's side are currently in the top flight's relegation zone and without a win this season.

It is not the first time SAFC fans have decorated shops in an attempt to poke fun at their rivals, with similar shop fronts put up when the Magpies were relegated from the Premier League in 2009.

Some Newcastle fans working nearby have hit out at the move, claiming that SAFC supporters have little to crow about at present with the Black Cats currently two leagues below in League One.

But Mr Lloyd has defended the sign.

The mocked up shop front in Hylton Road, Sunderland.

The mocked up shop front in Hylton Road, Sunderland.

He 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 however have failed to see the funny side of the prank.

Sports Direct and Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley.

Sports Direct and Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley.

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".