Rupert denies Toon talks
South African has no interest in troubled Magpies
Last Updated: October 3, 2008 8:25pm
Rupert: Prefers cricket and rugby
One of the South African businessmen linked with a takeover of Newcastle has ruled himself out of the running.
Billionaire Johann Rupert, the man behind Swiss-owned luxury goods company Richemont, has rubbished reports suggesting he is interested in purchasing the Premier League club off current owner Mike Ashley.
His countryman Jonathan Cleland claims to have already held talks with former Magpies boss Kevin Keegan should the consortium he is heading take control at St James' Park.
However, Rupert has denied that he is one of the men involved in that bid.
"I have never met Mr Cleland, never spoken to him on the phone and my secretary does not have a record of him calling," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
"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."
Rupert added: "I think it is a bit naughty. They use your name, you deny it - it is a total joke.
"If you Google me you find out I was supposed to be involved in Blackburn, which is untrue, and I'm now linked to Newcastle.
"I feel sorry for the fans because of the things that are going on there.
"I wouldn't be surprised if the whole thing was a fake."