London, September 17 : A Russian billionaire who is due to arrive in Nottingham with his 40-strong entourage later this month tried to hire out a castle built by William the Conqueror because the nearby four-star hotel did not meet his high standards.
Sergei Matvienko, 35, will be in Nottingham to oversee a martial arts tournament his company is running.
When he turned his nose up at the presidential suite at the four-star Park Plaza hotel in the city, and set his sights on Nottingham Castle instead, he was disappointed to be told that nobody had stayed at the castle since the Duke of Newcastle in the 17th Century.
Seized by Prince John while King Richard the Lionheart was away fighting the Crusades, the is home to the legend of Robin Hood.
It has been an art gallery and museum since 1878.
Tony McDonagh, president of Warrior promotions who is helping organise the clash between the St Petersburg Red Devils and a US team, has been asked to find out a suitable resting place for the Russian and his staff.
"The Russians knocked back the President's Suite saying they were looking for something bigger and better. That is when the comment: 'Is there not a castle in Nottingham?' came up. I told him all about Robin Hood and he got quite excited," the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
Despite making enquiries about rooms at the castle, he was knocked back.
"I'm trying to find something suitable and am just getting farther and farther away from Nottingham. I'm looking at putting them up in London or Birmingham and flying them in, but the problem is landing a helicopter at the sports complex," he said.
David Green, the manager of the castle, said that though he had received many requests to stay in the grounds, he had never been approached for a stay in the castle itself.
"It's the equivalent of him asking to stay in the National Portrait Gallery in London. This is certainly one of the stranger requests that I have had in the six years I have been running the site," he said.