Refusing to Drink the Thaksin Kool-Aid: Why We’re Here

The purpose of this blog is to provide a space for Manchester City fans who are concerned about the recent takeover of the club by former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

This is not an anti-Thaksin site in the usual sense. While we did not believe the club should be sold to Thaksin because of the legal uncertainties he faces and because of the serious human rights criticisms of his regime, our position is not that Thaksin is a horrible monster or that his entire regime should be judged solely by its worst moments.

Rather, the aim of the site is more modest: to insist that Manchester City Football Club not be used as a tool in Thaksin’s ongoing political battles, and to insist that the truth be told about Thaksin’s regime in Thailand, both its positive and its negative features.

We find it troubling, for instance, when representatives of City (and many fans) quickly label human rights charges against Thaksin “unsubstantiated,” with no further explanation–a comment that is a plain slap in the face of the worldwide human rights community, an insult to the intelligence of Blues who support the mission of organizations such as Amnesty International , and an inappropriate use of the resources and reputation of Manchester City.

Many City fans have argued in recent weeks that football is football, and politics is politics. We agree. City fans who welcome Thaksin’s arrival believe that his investment and his hiring of a world class manager will signal in a new era of success. Perhaps this will in fact turn out to be the case.

But even if it is, the sporting success of Manchester City should not and must not be used as a weapon in Thaksin’s ongoing political controversies. Manchester City’s directors and administration can ask us to give Thaksin a chance as owner, a chance to show that he has the club’s success at heart. Fair enough.

But don’t ask us also to set aside our critical consciences and pretend that to be a City fan, you have to endorse every aspect of Thaksin’s political career, and pretend that all the criticisms of Thaksin are just poppycock created by the military junta. Thaksin may be (at the moment anyway) a knight in shining armor for Manchester City as a sporting operation, but that doesn’t mean he’s an infallible saint who has never done wrong and doesn’t have legitimate criticisms of his regime to answer.

In short, this blog will show that Manchester City supporters are capable of supporting the players, the manager, and the staff as they strive to bring success to the club, without endorsing the political persona of the club’s new owner. That is, it is indeed possible to separate out support for a football team from support for the politics and record of the club’s owner.

Thaksin claims he has bought the team because he loves football and wants to bring success for City’s fans, not because he has any political designs. While we are skeptical of this claim–hence the name of the blog–if we take it at face value, it means that Thaksin is saying you can support City without supporting his political record.

We agree, but will take it a step further: You can support City and also be a deep critic of Thaksin and his actions, and deeply skeptical of whether his motivations are as pure as he claims.

This blog thus aims to take a principled stand on behalf of the separation of football and politics. At the same time, we will take a “skeptical” look at Thaksin’s ongoing governance of MCFC. And, we will provide information and context about the legal and moral charges against Thaksin, as well as information about his regime as prime minister and the ongoing legal battles he faces, and how they might impact his ownership of Manchester City.

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6 Comments on “Refusing to Drink the Thaksin Kool-Aid: Why We’re Here”

  1. Vichai N Says:

    To Manchester City people,

    I just read a BBC News article “A slaughterman’s story”.
    And it is about the ‘foot and mouth disease’ and the nightmares endured by Mr. Gordon Nixon, the slaughterman (who culled the diseased livestock), aftermath of the slaughter.

    The slaughterman was haunted because he was/is a compassionate man. I pain with him . . .

    So it is with deep outrage that I compare the compassionate Mr. Gordon Nixon, depressed still by the animal slaughter he carried out long long ago, with my ex-Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, an unrepentant aloof slaughterman not of cows or sheep, but, of fellow Thais. Thaksin Shinawatra was a slaughterman of an entirely different unfathomable kind, quick to extra-judicially kill without compassion nor hesitation . . . and was in lots of hurry to demand ‘thousands’ of kills (from his extra-judicial police) to impress, to be popular, and to be glorified as the man who can get things done!

    And that Manchester City is the truth why Thaksin is dangerous and had lost his legitimacy to lead anyone . . . even a lamb.

  2. If Franks reason for buying a Premier League football club, was purely to enable him to return to Thailand, why did he try and buy Liverpool before the coup?

    Just whilst we’re on Liverpool, should their supporters be protesting about their American owners? As the owners of Liverpool have backed George W Bush to the tune of millions of dollars in political party donations and Bush entered into an illegal war that has resulted in hundreds and thousands of deaths.

  3. Bangkokblue Says:

    Thank you so much for your excellent blog, it really is a sight for sore eyes.

    As a previous regular reader/posting contributor to a Man City forum I found my self becoming increasing appalled, and even angry at certain City fans who sought to excuse/deny the human rights criminality of the Thaksin regime solely because he planned to invest in football club. As a consequence,and with very heavy heart, I have resolved myself to take as little interest in football as I possibly can until Thaksin is gone. I am however very happy to become involved with any concerted campaign to expose the truth about Thaksin to as many City fans as possible in the hope that this may hasten his demise.

    I have to confess that I would quite like to see an agressive “Thaksin get out” type of campaign but I understand and applaud your approach here, and I am very happy to contibute in any way I can.

    Best of luck for the future, hopefully it won’t be too long until City return to being a football club rather than a despot’s political football.

  4. steve Says:

    I find all the hype about Frank rather frustrating. Frankly, if he had not bought MCFC, he wouldn’t have even been mentioned in the press about his past (certainly not in this country).

    Frank tried to buy Liverpool and it is even reported he had an interest in Fulham at some point but not a lot was wrote about him then, so why now.

    Can someone tell me if Tony Blair, Goerge Bush or even Putin would be suitable to run a football Club. The first 2 at the very least are responsible for the loss of life on a far greater scale than this guy.

  5. mike williams Says:

    well done Mr williamson but i doubt if they will listen.I live in Thailand and have done for the last 3 years the minute i first saw this guy talk all his body langage suggested his insinserity in what he was saying. I have tried via the MCEN to bring attention to all of the things that you have said here but my comments just fall on deaf ears,and i had some quite abusive remarks back from some of the fans. It is my belief that Thaksin is mearly using the club to draw attention away from his critics and once they have served their purpose he will dump the club with massive overheads and no income to support those overheads.I wish the fans would wake up from their euphoria and face facts that this guy is a very nasty manipulator of people and a human rights abuser. Good luck with you efforts to inform.

  6. mike williams Says:

    I also meant to say that i have seen and read your comments on the forums. my login name is thaimike.

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