Date: 4th October 2006 at 1:07pm
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Jersey-based Belgravia Group have confirmed they tried to buy the shares owned by Freddy Shepherd, former chairman Sir John Hall and his son Douglas. But Newcastle still refuse to comment.

Belgravia Group: ‘We are interested in bidding and we are in talks which may or may not lead to a bid. If and when a firm offer is made, we will announce it through the appropriate channels.’

Belgravia, revealed their interest to the Stock Exchange in August, but the Magpies refuse to add anything of substance.

However, it is understood Sir John had talks with Shepherd some weeks ago (after the Aston Villa match) and was interested in the deal, but Freddy still has little intention of selling up at the price offered.

Stock Exchange rules dictate that, should any shareholder acquire a 30% holding, a formal takeover bid would be triggered.

Sir John Hall revealed in June that he had been in talks with a potential buyer when US hedge fund Polygon was linked with a bid.

City analyst Stan Lock, of Brewin Dolphin Securities: ‘They are one of the best-supported clubs – they get a full house for every game. There are people looking at West Ham, people looking at Arsenal, Chelsea have been taken over, Manchester United have been taken over – we are in the throes of a takeover period.

‘I just think people are seeing things in football that they were not a few years ago. When you think about it, there are not many left that are going to be worth taking over.

‘Spurs’ share price has been rising and there are rumours that they could be taken over, Arsenal are all over the papers and then there is the West Ham situation, Chelsea and Manchester United have already gone – it does not leave many.

‘There is Liverpool and Newcastle and that is just about your lot. Nobody wants to try the in-betweens.’