There were red faces all round at St James Park today when, after initial reports late last night announced that Newcastle United hero Alan Shearer was to take over the manager's position at the club, it emerged this morning that the whole thing was just an April Fool's Day joke.
The prank was the idea of well-meaning owner Mike Ashley, who, after a good drinking session, had decided that, as the Magpies are loitering rather too near the Premier League relegation zone, he would try to cheer up the hearty good people of Tyneside by 'giving back their man', goalscoring legend Shearer.
Having half-sobered up this morning, however, it appears the joke has rebounded on Ashley.
Newcastle fans have blocked the switchboard at St James, angry at the prank.
One fan who was initially taken in by the stunt, said:
"Am cryen' inda me beer, an' it's only 7am."
Others were of a similar opinion, although many were already onto the spirits by the time they realised the truth.
Ted Watkins, 89, of Gateshead, said:
"Ahl kill the bastad! When the boat comes in!"
The player's Match of the Day pundit friend, Alan Hansen, said he wasn't sure about whether an inexperienced Shearer would be the answer to Newcastle's current woes, and said:
"It's a big job. Whether or not they've given him the manager's position - he'll be back on this sofa again by the start of next season."