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Sunday, 4 November, 2001, 16:14 GMT
Williams denies Newcastle move
Williams BMW Formula One chief Frank Williams
Frank Williams is a keen Newcastle United fan
Frank Williams is not about to make a 23m takeover bid for Newcastle United, according to officials from the Williams BMW Formula One team.

Reports suggested that Williams had flown to Tyneside last Thursday to hold talks with Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd.

Williams was said to be looking to buy out a 47.8% majority shareholding held by Douglas Hall and his family.

The reports followed speculation that the club could be returned to private ownership.

Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd
Shepherd is apparently keen to go private

But officials from the Formula One team insisted on Sunday that Williams' meeting with Shepherd was nothing more than a social event.

"It was a personal visit, nothing else", said a spokesman for Newcastle United.

Williams was born in Newcastle and already has a small stake of 500 shares in the club.

Newcastle shares were worth 140p when the club was floated in 1997 but they have plunged to little more than 30p in four years.

Shepherd is reported to think that Newcastle must revert to private status if they are to return to their glory days.

See also:

03 Nov 01 |  Eng Prem
Wise Robson keeps calm
03 Nov 01 |  Eng Prem
Bellamy double sinks Villa
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