Archive for April 2008

Citeh Citeh Weighs In

April 30, 2008

The blog Citeh Citeh has weighed in with a very good and informative account of the breakdown of the Thaksin-Sven relationship, including some telling details about Thaksin’s apparent need for ego aggrandizement. Check it out.

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This Blog’s Argument (Circa August and September 2007…)

April 30, 2008

This blog is getting some renewed attention in recent days, for understandable reasons. For the benefit of new visitors, I’m re-posting a couple of items from last August and September that layout this blog’s overall stance towards Thaksin’s takeover at City, at least as I saw it at that time.

First, the document below is a lengthy collation of some twenty substantive blog posts from late July and early August weighing in detail the pros and cons of Thaksin’s takeover, considering the moral, political, and (yes) footballing issues involved.

thaksin-blog-in-book-form-1

Second, this is an interview I did for another blog in September, back when things seemed to be going well and Thaksin and Sven appeared attached at the hip.

Third is the essay “Selling City Out” written in July 2007, providing a detailed initial reaction to Thaksin’s takeover.

At some point in the next few days (not just yet) I’ll follow up with my take on what the stunning events this week imply for Thaksin’s future, and that of Manchester City Football Club.

What’s That Hitting the Fan?

April 30, 2008

The sacking of Sven Goran Eriksson isn’t even official yet and already the fallout seems to have started. Wednesday’s edition of The Guardian says Thaksin and his advisers are trying to line up Big Phil, Luis Felipe Scolari, to take over from Sven; The Times has a similar report. Thaksin apparently is unconcerned about the opposition of City fans to his decision to oust the Swede.

Meanwhile, on the player front The Sun suggests that Richard Dunne, Elano, Martin Petrov, Michael Johnson, and perhaps Micah Richards all will be reconsidering their City futures, if not actively trying to move, as a result of Sven’s departure. Those are five of the best players (arguably, the five best) at City at the moment. The next “boss” (that traditional term perhaps should now be used advisedly where City are concerned) may have quite a task rebuilding the squad, let alone strengthening it. This report again refers to Thaksin’s apparent desire to control transfers at the club.

The Times also has a piece comparing the guillotining of Sven to the ongoing chaos at Liverpool this season. The common denominator in both situations: owners completely out of touch with the game of football and how it operates, as well as with the perspective of ordinary supporters.

Also, the League Managers Association issued a statement not only expressing concern with the rise of “short-termism” in English football resulting from the influx of foreign owners, but also specifically defending Sven and his record at City.

Finally, an enterprising City fan on Youtube has turned the tables on Thaksin’s nickname by using a couple of Sinatra tunes to mock City’s owner and make the case for Sven’s accomplishments this season.

Noel Gallagher’s Take

April 29, 2008

Oasis’s Noel Gallagher has weighed in on Sven’s apparent departure, speaking to BBC.

From what I’ve been reading on various message boards, his indignant comments represent¬† the overwhelming view of City supporters at the moment.

Thaksin is said to be in “cloudcuckooland,” and Gallagher further advises Sven to take his (soon to be former?) employer to the cleaners.

Incredibly, Sven on the Brink at City; How Will Fans Respond?

April 29, 2008

The talk that Sven Goran-Eriksson, a revered figure among the majority of City fans, is on the way out the door has moved rapidly from rumor to ambiguity to apparent certainty in the wake of City’s frustrating 3-2 defeat to Fulham. The Guardian today reports that Sven is resigned to losing his job and has discussed the situation with his team.

This would be a terrible outcome for Manchester City Football Club, and just about everyone knows it except the man who was allowed to buy the club last summer, Thaksin Shinawatra. Fans will be upset, but whether they will be moved to actually do something remains to be seen. Of equal interest is whether other insiders at the club take action or offer resignations as well, and of course how the players (reported to be 100% behind Sven) respond.

Thaksin’s move to bring Sven in last summer, along with the sanctioning of over half a dozen new players in quick succession, gave Thaksin substantial credibility with City fans, most of whom have thoroughly enjoyed the improvement this season. That even goes for those of us never fully (or at all) sold on Thaksin or his record of leadership. For many City fans, the success on the pitch and the step up in professionalism that Sven brought to the club signaled that Thaksin really was the shrewed businessman/politician who knew what he was doing, whose manifold talents also extended to governing a football club.

It now appears that that initial impression was misleading, indeed false. Instead, Thaksin is coming off as impetuous, ill-informed, out-of-touch with what is happening on the ground, and greedy for success. Those are all very bad qualities for a football owner, especially in a league as competitive as the Premiership. Ambition is a good thing, but patience is indispensable in building a truly elite-level club. Thaksin talks about his plan for City to move into the Champions League by year three, as if it were no different than a plan to gain a certain percentage of market share for a product within a given time period. Football and sport are not like that–there are far too many uncertainties involved.

That is to say, it’s highly unlikely that Thaksin is going to find another manager more likely than Sven to continue to push the club up the table any faster. Indeed, the more likely result as that City will become known as an impossible job, a place where you can improve results substantially, acquire interesting new talent, nurture young players, win everybody over in the team, the club, and community, do the double over your archrival, and still get the sack. What self-respecting top manager will want to work in those circumstances?

One report in The Sun makes the situation out to be even worse: according to this report, Thaksin wants to have complete control over transfers and even team selection.¬† That’s a recipe for disaster. The Sun also says that Sven ripped into Thaksin for publicly criticizing him and the team’s performances in recent comments.

Is the long honeymoon over? Thaksin v. Sven

April 18, 2008

It’s been, in many ways, a remarkable ride for Thaksin Shinawatra since his takeover at Manchester City last summer. His decision to hire Sven Goran Eriksson as well as the outlay on players paid unexpectedly immediately dividends on the pitch during the season’s opening months, winning both Sven and Thaksin the enthusiastic support of a large majority of City fans. Things were going well in Thailand too, with the victory of Thaksin’s former political associates in the December election, followed in late February by Thaksin’s own return to Thailand (with two City players in tow, to boot).

Apparently all that is not enough for Thaksin: reports this week describe Thaksin’s growing displeasure with City’s rather mediocre form since New Year’s, and apparent loss of faith in Sven as manager. In comments this week Thaksin refused to give Sven a vote of confidence for the future, and it is being reported Friday that Sven and Thaksin soon will have ‘”clear-the-air” meetings that could result in a buy-out.

For most City fans, these are appalling developments. Even though few City fans are particularly happy about the club’s more recent performances, they recognize and appreciation the impact Sven has made on the pitch: with four matches to play, City have 52 points, equalling their best ever total in the Premiership, and still have a decent chance of finishing as high as sixth. Equally important, the recent futile efforts of Thaksin to lure Ronaldinho to Manchester confirm the sense of City fans that Sven knows a lot more about how to build a strong club than Thaksin.

For quite a while this blog has been something of a lonely voice in maintaining a sceptical stance towards Thaksin and his long-term intentions for City. If the reported rift with Sven leads to the Swede leaving the club prematurely, Thaksin will immediately acquire a lot more scpetics (if he hasn’t already).