Buy, buy, buy !!!
The first day of September, the first day of Ramadan, the last day of the 2008 transfer window, will go down in history as one of the days that Manchester City Football Club changed forever.
Firstly, I may need to eat a large slice of humble pie if Garry Cook was integral to today’s deal as I suspect he was. In the last blog post I jokingly suggested that Alistair Darling might be a better bet at the helm than Garry Cook. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that, on the same day, Sterling would plunge (Telegraph article) after Darling’s weekend interview and City would be purchased by very deep pockets indeed.
Manchester City has been purchased by The Abu Dhabi United Group [ADUG]. The news was broken by arabianBusiness.com (see article). It has been suggested that the vehicle was setup to purchase City. One suspects that BBC5 Live is more accurate in saying that both Newcastle and Arsenal were also considered. Otherwise why put “United” in the name! The picture of Dr. Sulaiman Al Fahim, the investment vehicle’s spokesman, with “Abu Dhabi United” imprinted on the back of a sky blue shirt was fairly amusing (see picture from same article).
Al Fahim claims that the vehicle is merely a collection of businessmen. However, it seems inevitable there will be links to the ruling family of Abu Dhabi. The Guardian is almost certainly on the right path by suggesting that the Abu Dhabi rulers have stolen a march on their Dubai neighbours, the Dubai Investment Corporation (DIC), which is trying to buy Liverpool. Al Fahim is CEO of Hydra Properties, which is a subsidiary of Royal Group, which belongs to a member of the ruling family.
City fans, players and directors past, have been calling in to what is essentially “City Night” on BBC 5 Live. The few lone voices expressing concern about foreign ownership seem so out-of-date, even though it's hard not to share some of their sentiments. How the world changes so fast. The western developed world is rapidly losing influence as a combination of huge global economic imbalances and sky high oil prices create huge sovereign wealth funds. These funds are mopping up banks, supermarkets, telecommunications companies, and now football clubs. They’ve got much more money than us, period.
A thank you must go to Frank for doing the decent thing and stepping aside. I’m not sure if it’s possible to tell whether or not he has made a profit yet. I saw a figure of £210m as being the purchase figure. How true that figure is, and how it might break down, may or may not transpire over the next few days. David Bernstein, commenting on BBC 5 Live tonight, suggested that at 40p a share City shareholders got a rough deal in selling to Thaksin. Valuing the club at £20m? They sure did. How they’ll wish they had waited.
A great question to Bernstein was whether he thought that the Abu Dhabi deal would have happened without Thaksin. He didn’t feel qualified to answer but made his thoughts about the relative quality of our new owners pretty clear. But we know now that ADUG were going to buy a club in any event. It could be argued that City became more attractive with Mark Hughes and some better players.
It doesn’t really matter now. The club has progressed significantly during the Thaksin era and is now looking as if it will move seamlessly to a much more credible investor. Bye-bye Thai politics, welcome fit-and-proper Abu Dhabi. The Premier League will be relieved.
This is an investor that makes every other Premiership owner look like small fry. Manchester City is now the powerhouse in English football. Just read that again. Manchester City is now the powerhouse in English football. No other club and no other owner can boast the finances of an oil-producing Emirate. At least not until the next club is purchased.
Berbatov seems set to join United. Mark Hughes, interviewed on BBC5 Live this evening still hadn’t spoken to him. Dennis Tueart said that Mark has got to sell the dream. He probably won’t get the chance. But positive vibes are emerging about Robinho as I write. Probably a better buy do we think? 3 years younger for the same price and not someone who was moaning on about United for months on end.
The new owners have backed Mark Hughes. There is consensus among fans that they must give Hughes time. A top 4 finish might be achievable now. But if we don’t quite make it, please don’t sack the manager! But the flurry of bids for players today suggests that Al Fahim doesn't want to hang about.
A pang inside me wishes we had won a cup last year to prove to the world that the current team was getting up there before the real cash arrived. Oh well that’s modern day Premiership football. Lets hope that the new owners keep the Academy as one of the best, and remember that the fans make the club what it is.
We’re in for a new and exciting era. Our time has come. CTID!MCFCfans
written on 02-Sep-2008
What a blessing.I am really proud and happy to be a blue.I know by God grace we are likely to win the premiership and the champions league very soon.
written on 29-Jun-2010
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