Is the long honeymoon over? Thaksin v. Sven

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).

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4 Comments on “Is the long honeymoon over? Thaksin v. Sven”

  1. The media rumour mill strikes again?
    In spite of the minority press hack’s and arm chair “experts” Sven bashing and smear campaigns, most informed (and fair?) fan and public opinion appears to recognise Sven-Goran Eriksson’s history of amazing success pre-England.
    (Has anyone re-visited the Sven + Lazio statistics lately?)
    Regardless of the media hype, Sven dragged England out of the football “wilderness” and achieved FIFA No4 world ranking during W-Cup ’06. England cruised easily to top place in every qualifying group and our national team lost only FIVE competitive matches during his tenure.
    The fact that Svennis gave us the real prospect of winning an international trophy (or two?) made the disappointment of dropping out in each quarterfinal even more bitter perhaps? But the subsequent performance of the same “golden generation” without his influence would appear only to highlight his merits? Maybe TheFA appointed Steve MacClaren to emphasise that point after the (xenophobes?) created the environment that caused Sven to quite with 2 years remaining on a recently extended England coach/manager contract?
    Does anyone doubt that England would be playing this summer if Sven had still been in charged?
    Even though blocked from acquiring some of the players he needs, Sven has turned Manchester City round after years of “mediocrity” and the results this season have been the best for a very long time.
    Reports of Sven’s constant globe trotting during his “gap year” paid for by TheFA will no doubt have provided a unique talent spotting opportunity as he turned down numerous offers to take charge of other nation’s national squads and league clubs and this will make for a potentially “interesting” recruitment drive in the next transfer window and should make Man City an even greater force next season.
    England’s loss (and the other clubs he turned down) is very much Man City’s gain and anyone would be crazy to throw away what many in the international football world consider to be “one of history’s greatest coach managers”? The Sven bashers (and FA?) may consider this while watching a Euro2008 tournament in which England is now “on the bench” and any talk of cutting short Sven’s “three year plan” for Manchester City is surely nonsense?
    Proud to “be” Sven.

  2. thadw Says:

    Presumably City’s enjoyable 3-1 victory over Portstmouth and the rousing show of fan support for Sven helps his position, but reportedly Thaksin wasn’t there to see it.

    I agree with Svenalike that there is no logical football reason to sack Sven or even raise the question, the problem is Thaksin’s lack of knowledge of football and over-confidence in his own judgment. I’m not a Thaksin fan and some might say that if he ditched Sven that would be what rouses the fans to oppose him, but I wouldn’t want that to happen. Sven leaving would be a disaster not just for Thaksin but for all concerned, and I wouldn’t want to put the club through that.

  3. egalitarian Says:

    Sven’s sacking may see the house of cards collapse around Thaksin, as the fans would surely turn against him and the allegations against him that are dismissed so easily may start to resonate a little deeper.

    Interesting times over here at the moment. PPP possibly getting devolved, or alternatively writing a new constitution that will clear Thaksin and the other TRT executives. This country is in a total mess and if PPP survive then this country is in for years on years on misery until a party truly representing the majority is established. Alas, that will never happen due to any left wing movement being considered anti-monarchy……

  4. Jimmy Sachs Says:

    What possible chance has Man City of ever again employing a first-class manager, with Toxsin breathing down his neck, interfering in team selection and overemphasising his huge ego and presence? Big Phil will not change clubs to be assailed by Toxin, whose only real skill is in bullying and playing the corruption game – not football. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the club struggles for survival next season and may even go down. It will depend on how dispirited the players become. And no, the Thai constitution will not be amended in time for the start of the new season, meaning no new money, a team that wishes him ill and the sale, not purchase, of new players.

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