Thaksin Considers Stepping Down from City Board, But Not Selling Out; Garry Cook Announces He Knows How To Run Football

Never a dull moment at Manchester City. This week the club announced the surprise signing of highly-rated defender and defensive midfielder Vincent Kompany from Hamburg. Kompany, who played for Belgium in the Olympics, could well supplant Gelson Fernandes as City’s holding midfielder.

More extraordinary news comes in the form of a wide-ranging interview City executive Garry Cook provided to the British media. Read the links for yourself, but the biggest item is Cook’s revelation that Thaksin is “embarrassed” by the negative attention he has brought to the club and is considering resigning from the board in order to avoid getting caught up in the fit-and-proper-person test. Thaksin intends to remain the primary shareholder, though Cook believes new investment will soon be on the way from some of Thaksin’s rich friends, including supposedly the second richest man in China. Cook also reports that Thaksin has acknowledge perhaps making some mistakes last year.

All that is remarkable enough, but there is more. Cook spoke extensively about his desire to turn City into a world power and eventually win the Champions League, but along the way made a number of comments City fans and others will find disturbing. Cook believes the Premier League should eventually shrink itself and avoid relegation and promotion, in the process making a disparaging comment about Stoke City. He said City needs to bring in a superstar, because Richard Dunne doesn’t sell shirts in Asia. He said Mark Hughes would have to accept the need to get a superstar. He defended the recent discussions about selling Ireland and Corluka, going so far as to say “everyone is for sale.” He confirmed the club had recently taken out 30 million pounds in loans. And he criticized Sven Goran Eriksson’s signings.

All in all, it’s hard to believe that this remarkable interview will go down well, and may trouble the likes of Hughes as well, insofar as the comments imply Cook controls the transfer policy and that he regards the manager as a bit quaint and old-fashioned. It’s also unprofessional to criticize even obliquely the team captain, or to disparage a club like Stoke. Cook’s comments are also embarrassing to City supporters who don’t think the club need to be in the vanguard of turning the Premier League into something modeled on American professional franchised sports. The promotion and relegation structure of English football has worked successfully for over 100 years; Cook has not been in the Premier League two weeks and already he thinks he knows how to fix it.


Guardian, I

Guardian, II


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