As embattled owner Mike Ashley seeks to sell up, crisis club Newcastle have moved to insist Alan Shearer has not been sacked as a club ambassador but have confirmed that their former striker's contract for the role ended last season.
Rumours on Tyneside suggested that Shearer has been told he is no longer allowed to use the title 'club ambassador' following his criticism of Kevin Keegan's departure from Newcastle.
But the club have said in a statement: "Alan Shearer had a contract for ambassadorial duties which ran out at the end of last season.
"As a gesture of goodwill from the club, Alan was given a complimentary corporate box back in June for use at St James' Park and the club continues to have an excellent relationship with its all-time greatest goalscorer.
"Any suggestion that Alan was stripped of this role because of recent events is completely inaccurate."
The statement comes after Ashley announced he was putting the club up for sale following protests against him and director Dennis Wise at the weekend where thousands staged demonstrations outside St James' Park before and after their embarrassing 2-1 Premier League defeat by Hull City.