Newcastle United are adamant the ripping down of the iconic "Shearer's" sign at the entrance to the St James' Park bar named after the club's former striker is not connected to Alan Shearer's criticism of Joe Kinnear's appointment as director of football, reports The Guardian. Club officials said work began on Wednesday, hours before Shearer's caustic comments were published.
"It's purely coincidence," the official said, explaining that the decision to revamp the popular venue situated beneath the Gallowgate End was taken some time ago.
Newcastle say Shearer has been kept abreast of developments and did not object to the switch to "Nine".
John Irving, Newcastle's finance director, said: "Shearer's Bar was immensely popular when it was first launched in 2004 but its popularity has dwindled over the years as this part of Newcastle has developed and new bars have opened around it.
"In transforming the site and opening the bar up to a wider range of visitors, it was important that a new name remained in-keeping with the club's history and heritage and Nine is certainly faithful to that. We have liaised directly with Alan to keep him abreast of the plans, which he has been appreciative of, and we're looking forward to launching Nine next month."