5 Questions You'd Love to Ask Manchester City Owner Sheikh Mansour
Since Sheikh Mansour's takeover of Manchester City in 2008, the club have continually developed, thanks to his sustained investment in both the playing staff and club infrastructure.
Some estimates, including this from David Bond on BBC Sport, suggest Mansour has ploughed over £1 billion into City, enriching every aspect of the club, from the commercial and media side of their operation, right through to the playing and management staff. The club today is unrecognisable to the one he bought.
However, Mansour is a very detached character, rarely seen or even heard from, meaning there are plenty of questions City fans would love to ask him. Here are five that would be uppermost in the minds of many.
1. How Did You Put Up with Mark Hughes’ Ineptitude for so Long?
When Mansour acquired City in September 2008, he inherited a manager by the name of Mark Hughes, the former Blackburn boss who had been employed by Thaksin Shinawatra a couple of months earlier. Usually when a manager isn't the choice of the chairman, he is afforded much less time, but Hughes lasted until December 2009, despite an awful record and some dreadful transfer dealings.
Hughes spent close to £200 million during his 18 months in charge, yet left City in sixth place having won just two of the last 11 league matches he was in charge for. The previous season—his only full one in charge—City finished 10th, one place lower than they had managed under Sven-Goran Eriksson, Hughes' well-liked predecessor.
In total, City won 36 and lost 25 of their games under Hughes, despite the phenomenal outlay, and there was little sign the trend would be reversed. City were in shambles, conceding sloppy goals and looking incredibly poor away from home.
Many people would like to ask Mansour why he persevered for so long. Was it because he didn't want to seem like a short-term thinker, or did he genuinely see something in Hughes that made him think he could lead City to silverware?
2. What Was the Reason for Mancini’s Dismissal?
Most people now realise Roberto Mancini's sacking at the end of last season was the right move, but the reasons remain unclear.
Was it because of his flimsy Champions League record which saw City eliminated at the group stage twice under his guidance? Was it because City regressed last season after winning the league and spending on another batch of players? Or was it that Mansour and his team got wind of the fact Mancini had lost the dressing room?
It's also possible Mancini's loose-lip style that saw him criticise football administrator Brian Marwood for failing to deliver the players he wanted played its part. Mansour and his team pride themselves on keeping their own counsel and remaining dignified throughout, and Mancini, who became increasingly outspoken as time went on, did not fit their style of management.
It's likely these reasons were a part of his thinking, but a detailed set of reasons from Mansour himself would make for a fascinating listen.
3. What Was It That Made You Invest in City over Other Clubs?
Why, when there were plenty of other clubs who had the potential to be successful if offered the right level of investment, did Mansour choose to buy City?
Tottenham, Everton and Newcastle, to name just three, all have decent infrastructures and large, fervent fanbases, so what was it that particularly appealed to him where City were concerned?
It's possible the stadium, which only opened in 2003, was an attractive element, given it always had the potential to be expanded, something the club are now in the process of doing.
The surrounding area was also a blank canvas when Mansour bought City, and he has invested money developing the Etihad Campus, an 80-acre site that will provide world-class training facilities for players at every level of the club, set to open in time for the start of next season.
Mansour, though, must surely have other reasons.
4. How Long Do You Plan to Stay?
The big fear for City fans is that Mansour eventually sells up. He's been such a thoughtful owner, conscious of the club's heritage and past, that the idea of a new consortium taking over fills the club's fans with fear.
One would expect, given the huge sums of his own personal fortune he pumped into City already, he will be around for a long time, but nobody really knows his future plans.
5. When Will We See You Again?
Despite all his investment in City, Mansour has still only enjoyed one live experience of a game at the Etihad—the 3-0 win over Liverpool back in 2010.
Many expected him to attend the recent home match with Barcelona, but he he again watched from home. The amount of security and organisation that was needed to smooth his last visit means he can't make a habit of being at home matches, but after his huge investment in the club, it would surely be nice for him to visit again and enjoy firsthand the exciting football he is largely responsible for.