Aston Villa have received a "preliminary approach" to buy the club.

Villa were the subject of weekend speculation linking a Russian consortium with a possible takeover.

Reports claimed manager David O'Leary would be given #75million to spend on players if the Russian group succeeded in a buy-out.

A statement from Aston Villa plc to the Stock Exchange claims such claims are "inaccurate and unfounded".

It adds: "However, the board has received a preliminary approach which could lead to an offer for the company. Shareholders will be updated of any further developments."


Birmingham City chairman David Gold has admitted it is "vital" for the club to move into a new stadium if they are to "move to the next level."

Blues are hoping they will become tenants in a new multi-purpose City Council (CC) owned stadium on a site at Saltley only a mile away from St Andrews.

Las Vegas Sands have agreed to fund the complex providing they obtain the licence from the CC for a casino which would form part of the complex.

But the CC are also considering an alternative site at the National Exhibition Centre which would scupper Gold and Birmingham's hopes and leave them with the less attractive alternative of further redeveloping St Andrews.


Birmingham's biggest private landowner is attempting to curtail the activities of an Edgbaston lap-dancing club which operates in one of its own properties.

Calthorpe Estates believes plans by Spearmint Rhino, in Hagley Road, to open and serve alcohol until 6am seven days a week will create conflict between the sex industry and the "high quality" Five Ways business district.

But the company, which owns 1,500 acres of Edgbaston, admits it is powerless to act because a 36-year lease it granted to Spearmint Rhino in 1990 does not allow the landlord to prevent the extension of opening hours.

Calthorpe Estates is appealing instead to Birmingham City Council to refuse Spearmint Rhino's application to open between 10am and 6am Monday to Sunday.


A farming family have issued a plea to the public to help them save their organic farm.

Ben and Charlotte Hollins are tenant farmers at Fordhall Farm in Market Drayton, Shropshire, but with their contract due to come to an end next year, they fear the estate, which has been cared for by their family since the Second World War, will be sold off.

The pair, aged 21 and 23 respectively, are hoping to attract potential shareholders who can help them buy the 16th century farm.

They have until next July to raise #800,000, or the farm will be sold on the open market.

If their venture is successful, the farm will be run by the Community Farm Land Trust, with the Hollins acting as tenants.


Tory leadership contender Sir Malcolm Rifkind has outlined his vision of a Conservative Party capable of winning over the country and sweeping Labour out of office.

During a visit to Birmingham, the former Foreign Secretary said the Tory party needed to be "moderate, practical" and "problem-solving".

Sir Malcolm said it was time his party followed issues that mattered to ordinary people rather than political "agendas" like asylum.

And he underlined the importance of the Midlands to restoring Tory fortunes.

Speaking to The Birmingham Post at the offices of employment firm Pertemps in Newtown, he said: "You can't win a General Election unless you are doing well in the Midlands."

More on these stories in Tuesday's Birmingham Post