Sir Richard Branson and Mike Williamson

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

After meeting Sir Richard Branson at the Northumberland Street branch of Virgin Money, Newcastle defender Mike Williamson admitted to being "star-struck" by the billionaire magnate.

Williamson, along with Davide Santon and Sammy Ameobi, went along to the city centre store to meet Sir Richard, whose company have recently taken over Northern Rock and last week agreed a two-year deal as the club's new shirt sponsors.

And the centre-half told nufc.co.uk that he was honoured to spend time with the fourth richest man in the UK, who built up his business empire after leaving school with barely any qualifications.

"I think it's hard not to admire him, the achievements he's set, the things he's done and the businesses that he's ran," said Williamson.

"It's incredible and I'm quite star-struck at the minute!

"I've just been watching him going around and communicating with people and doing interviews. He's got a real aura about him and he's a chatty, nice, welcoming guy as well.

"For somebody with the assets that he's got, he's very down-to-earth."

Since Virgin Money began their sponsorship of the Magpies last week, United have won both of their games,

They beat Manchester United 3-0 before progressing to the third round of the FA Cup with victory over Blackburn on Saturday, and Williamson is pleased that it has proven to be such a good partnership.

"It has been, and long may it continue," he said.

"We're in confident form and the results are coming in, so we'll hopefully be able to carry that on."