Bath deny overture from Old Trafford

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The Independent Online
Bath's chairman Richard Mawditt last night denied reports that the Courage League club had had an approach from Manchester United, similar to the one which ended with the Premiership leaders Newcastle taking over that city's leading rugby club. But he revealed that the Courage League leaders are looking for a wealthy backer, writes David Llewellyn.

United, second in the Premiership, were said to have responded to an advertisement in the Financial Times three weeks ago, as reported by the Independent on 21 October, in which potential investors were told: "There is the opportunity to gain effective control of one of the best clubs in rugby".

A club as successful as Bath - they have won the Courage Championship five times in the first seven years of its existence as well as the Pilkington Cup on nine occasions since 1984 - would clearly appeal to United. But Mawditt is adamant that there has been no contact from Old Trafford.

"Manchester United in touch with Bath?" Mawditt said. "I'm not aware of any approach. Bath are looking at all the options. I don't think any First Division club is doing otherwise. We would talk seriously to anyone who had a serious overture to make. But we have not had any approaches.

"The captain Phil de Glanville and I have had overwhelming support for the club to find alternative investment," Mawditt said, "and this week we will be holding a management committee meeting and we will then start opening a few doors."

On Saturday it was business as usual on the pitch when Bath tightened their grip at the top of National League One. Tries from Ben Clarke, Jeremy Guscott and Audsley Lumsden and 14 kicked points, which took him past 1,000 for the club, from Jon Callard gave them a 34-22 win against a committed West Hartelpool who remain pointless despite becoming the first side to score three tries against Bath in the League this season.

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