A group of South African businessman, who had been touted as making an official bid for Newcastle United, have denied having any interest in the club.
The three men, billionaire Johann Rupert, reportedly the richest man in South Africa, Brian Joffe and Vivian Imerman have all stated that they are not part of any consortium and haven’t in any way, made an offer for the North East club.
This is despite a statement from Jonathan Cleland, spokesman' for the ‘anonymous consortium’ saying that he was confident that a £300 million deal was about to be done and that Kevin Keegan was being lined up to take over as manager for a third time.
Speaking to the BBC, Rupert said:
I have never met Mr Cleland, never spoken to him on the phone and my secretary does not have a record of him calling.
I haven’t spoken to any of the other parties either. I don’t know Mr Cleland, I have a preference for cricket and rugby. I don’t know anything about football and I’m not a football man.
I think it is a bit naughty. They use your name, you deny it – it is a total joke.
Earlier this week Newcastle’s caretaker manager Joe Kinnear told the press that as many as eight consortia were currently in talks with the club. Many believed that the South African’s were the favourites to do a deal on the basis of Cleland’s comments.