Sports Direct signage removal from St James' Park begins

The blue and red sign has hung in prominent place throughout Mike Ashley's reign Credit: PA

Newcastle United Football Club has confirmed work has begun to remove Sports Direct signage from St James' Park.

On 11 November, club director Amanda Staveley said she intended to take the branding down once the Premier League lifted a temporary ban on owner-related sponsorships.

In October, 18 Premier League clubs backed a move to temporarily block Newcastle doing any new deals linked to their Saudi Arabian ownership, something Staveley admitted had come as a "shock" and which had given the club "a big battering".

Ms Staveley is part of an eight-club Premier League working group looking at permanent regulations around related-party sponsorship deals, with the aim of ensuring any contracts agreed are at fair market value.

Whether they have been successful is currently unclear.

Ms Staveley had said she was "looking forward" to removing the signage - a move many fans will embrace as the symbolic end to the Mike Ashley era.

More to follow.