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Time For Straight Talking From City

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Manchester City FC now operates in a climate where the slightest indiscretion or issue will be blown out of all proportion. Time for club leadership and one voice...

Post the subterfuge, intrigue and unanswered questions that surrounded Kakagate, the sports hacks today leapt upon the fact that Robinho was no longer at City's FA Cup-less Tenerife training camp.

City Chairman Garry Cook found himself not only discussing Kakagate with the BBC this morning but also fending off questions over where our star player was. He declared 'I do know Robinho is not at the training centre in Tenerife. If he has left the training ground it is a breach of club discipline. I am waiting for a full debrief.'

Fast forward a few hours and Robinho announces that he is still happy at City and has flown to Brazil for family reasons.

'I had made Manchester City aware that I needed to return to Brazil because of a family matter.

'I will return to the club and hope to sort this out as soon as possible. I feel it is important to underline that I did not return to Brazil because of the Kaka deal.

'He is one of my good friends and it would have been great to see him at Manchester City - but it had nothing to do with his decision to stay in Milan.

'I am committed to helping Manchester City become the force the owners assured me they will become.'

So in one fell swoop, Cook revealed that as Executive Chairman he was not in full possession of the facts regarding Robinho and the players statement hints that there appears to be a communication problem surrounding the way the team operates off the park.

This obviously calls for a clear the air club statement so that Mark Hughes can get on with his efforts to pull the squad together.

If Cook and his team weren't fully aware of how European Football is run and it's situations manipulated then they will be now following the embarrassing Thaksin led pursuit of Ronaldhino last year and this month's dalliance with Kaka and AC Milan's manouevering. We could all see the Berlusconi shaped iceberg looming large this past weekend and yet it seems Cook and co didn't.

You got the impression City were never in control of the situation. The more I consider it there is a real element of naivety about City's decision to pursue Kaka this month, so early into the new owner's tenure. But both Cook and Mark Hughes promised surprises in January and with hindsight, they certainly shouldn't have.

This is now a time for regrouping and straight talking with lessons learned. The club need to make clear exactly what the situation is with Robinho and get into the practice of heading off developing mischief stories at the pass instead of playing catch up or allowing an unhealthy vacuum to develop the way it did throughout Sven-Goran Eriksson's agonising departure.

This is the time to start dictating events, City.


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The journalist

Writer: Johnny Baguette Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday January 20 2009

Time: 4:49PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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I agree JB, in your excellent article, that we have some naive people at the head of City in the board and this will be a hard lesson for them that the moral is do un to the others before the do unto you. In Cooks interview, he should have said that he had nothing to report to the Beeb at that time until he had spoken to the manager. Makes us look an amateur outfit and in propoganda we are.
Buzz Lightyear
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20/01/2009 17:22:00

Spot on Johnny Baguette. Cook and Hughes are going to have to take the lessons of the Kaka debacle on board and get Europe savvy quick or they will get led astray again by other clubs.
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20/01/2009 17:50:00

The way Berlusconi has been milking his new found popularity today has been sickening. Cook has been led a merry dance. probably couldn't have picked a worse club, who let's remember have played some garbage this season, to deal with for the second big transfer of the new regime.
Johnny Baguette
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20/01/2009 17:54:00

It was all about politics in the end and you reasoned correctly JB Berlusconi had no intentions of selling Kaka, and made it such that he would look the hero in fending off this attack on their club by foreigners.
Buzz Lightyear
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20/01/2009 18:04:00

I do work for Italians who are based in Rome from time to time and I can tell you, they can't be doing with him.
Johnny Baguette
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20/01/2009 18:09:00

He's a hero, he must be up for election.
Buzz Lightyear
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20/01/2009 18:15:00

I am sure that with time we will become a bit more savvy in the Market and test the water before jumping in. The owners want man city on the map, we are. The AC Milan spectacle has thrust us in the spotlight and if we want to come away with anything, let alone dignity in all of this, we should use this coverage as a leverage for persuading other players to join. "we want you to be our new kaka". We need a top signing if we are to live up to our promises, forget Milan politics.
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20/01/2009 18:55:00

Absolutely, eighth. I think the club should go one further however and underline what Cook said about City not putting money on the table. After all, it was Berlusconi who announced a price and salary, nobody else. I just hope that other clubs don't start demanding £100 million for every player we show interest in!!!
Johnny Baguette
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20/01/2009 19:00:00

Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn't it. Last week I didn't see Berlusconi messing us about, all I saw was my club offering a ridiculous amount of money for a hugely talented player (when it really needed to be spent elsewhere in the team). Whilst my head didn't want Kaka my heart went a bit wobbly with the sheer madness of it all. But ever since the summer (and before that with the dreadful Thaksin) we've been blinded by the money. It's always 'the money', always about who we're going to buy rather than developing what we already have. It's just become Spend Spend Spend, a medium sized club that has become a rich mans plaything/PR indulgence. Now everyone (be they in Britain or abroad) will see and hear us coming and it's they, not us who will decide how our cloth will be cut. Until we learn to say no and mean it then we will continue to dance to others tunes. We walked away from the Kaka deal (apparently) but it's a pity we didn't show that kind of single mindedness with Be££amy. Maybe I imagined it but didn't MH say we weren't going to pay over the odds for players? yeah, right...
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20/01/2009 19:06:00

Good call Kenny. I don't recall Chelski or the rags ever being pilloried in public to the extent City have when they repeatedly broke the transfer records. It's almost as if there is a campaign for City are to be stopped at all costs from daring to even consider becoming successful. Winning a trophy looks like an absolute mountain to climb right now.
Johnny Baguette
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20/01/2009 19:13:00

You are right JB there is a mountain to climb and there are two ways to do it, you can fly over it which gives you the views but no satisfaction or you can fight your way up the hard way which will give you a great deal of satisfaction. I know which I prefer. I want to see the postings from other teams fans when we have a top four position with a good solid bread and butter team with just a couple of superstars sprinkled in to boost the media image. We need more players like Ireland, Kompany, SWP solid and reliable and not fodder for the hacks.
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20/01/2009 19:41:00

I do not care what fans of other teams think as they have their teams as their priority not our success. I say we have been building for twenty years with our youth team so why not add genuine guaranteed quality rather than journeymen and cut the crap and go for it. I would have expected that the italians would try some trickery but not at the stage we got to with contracts on the table. We obviously have a communication problem at the Club and show no control with the media. The info that was communicated last night was more suitable as an internal email in a corporate environment not a clear update to fans and the media. This has been a long standing problem at Manchester City. It was admirable that Cook wanted to keep everything private and professional but from the moment AC Milan went public we should have had our spin doctors putting our view across, banging on constantly about how great our club are, how we are not reliant on whether he signs or not as we have other targets to follow him etc. So no matter how it turned out it was guaranteed positive publicity for us. This is basic media manipulation and control techniques. I do not think we have anyone at City who can do this as it is not Cooks job. It was probably him that put out that poor communication last night. If our PR/Comms dept are not up to anything more than an interview on MCFCTV then we should recruit better. In the end it matters little who was honest or not, it is all about perception and that has nothing to do with the truth. If we want to recruit big then we as a club have to big ourselves up and become a lot more media savvy. A good example, newspapers reported Abramovich was looking to sell off Chelsea, bam, the next day he is issuing writs. The media comes out with all sorts of lies belittling City and putting us in a poor light, no reaction so they carry on putting us down when we are in the worldwide media spotlight. Our owners are phenomenally rich and newspapers need to sell advertisement space. Abroad we are described as a relegation candidate club which is inaccurate and unfair but it is just reprinting what the likes of the Mirror were writing unhindered. There is a media campaign against us with only the like of Martin Samuel writing anything fair and balanced to support us. The fact we put so many noses out of place surely shows we are on the right path. We need a big time manager to convince big time players of our plans so that more than the Bellamys are pressurising for a move and a professional PR operation that crushes any dissention in the press.
City Girl
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20/01/2009 22:52:00

kennyclementstache, what MH said he would pay value for money, I suspect the deal was complicated that we were buying a product we could market, not only as a player but throught the world commercially and that in itself would have repaid the fee involved.
Buzz Lightyear
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21/01/2009 04:53:00

I agree City girl, We should have a PR and all releases should come through that source. I think Cookey was put on the spot and his mouth ran away with him for a second, but it's the lapses that the press jump on.
Buzz Lightyear
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21/01/2009 04:57:00

yes and there are just tooooo many lapses at the moment......which only adds fuel to any of the fires.......mainly because the "City Management team" dont seem to deny or confirm the story then goes on and on, instead of being nipped in the bud...!!!
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21/01/2009 08:21:00

Could this all be as a result of the changes at the top of the club these past two years?
Johnny Baguette
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21/01/2009 08:55:00

I think that right, we used to have a city spokesman, this is where we need to be on the ball, The Robinho affair does not need to be aired in public, but someone told the press and they have their teeth into it and it needs sorting asap.
Buzz Lightyear
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21/01/2009 18:10:00


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