If You doubt Sheikh Mansour, I Really Do Think You Need To Read This

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If You doubt Sheikh Mansour, I Really Do Think You Need To Read This
Michael Regan/Getty Images
City Chairman, Khaldoon al Mubarak

OK, So there are quite a few football fans in the UK who, whilst discussing the ownership of Manchester City FC, trot out the old line of, "Well, when the owner gets bored how will City cope?"

In truth, City fans are no longer worried about that ever happening.

And so for those fans who only read the Daily Mail and are ignorant of the current situation, I thought you may like to know the real facts.

If you are interested in being educated about the real set-up at City, read on.

If you want to remain blinkered, or blindly hopeful that City will lose all their money and go off into mediocrity again, then you should not read any further as you wont like what you see.

For City fans, September 1, 2008 will forever be one of the most important dates in the club's history.

In the wider football community, there should also be recognition (perhaps more in hindsight than foresight) of the importance of the takeover that occurred at City on that day as it has raised the bar for all clubs across Europe. Some clubs are now rather anxious about the future, rightly so in my opinion.

Almost immediately upon the news that Sheikh Mansour had bought Manchester City, and his "temporary" spokesman Sulaiman Al Fahim made some outrageous and inappropriate statements the UK press had their agenda in place.

There were quasi-racist commentaries about "the arabs" and the "crazy billionaires from Dubai" (factually incorrect at the very least).

These first impressions have seemed almost impossible for many people to see beyond, irrespective of the evidence to the contrary.

Yes, Manchester City have spent lots of money on players, but it must also be accepted that to become competitive in the league and in Europe they simply had to. And because of the new Financial Fair Play rules brought in by M. Platini, it has had to happen quicker than other clubs have achieved similar investments.

But there are very few pieces of journalism explaining that Manchester City have embarked on a 10-year journey that is still just over two years old.

There are few reports, and even less understanding outside of Manchester, of the vast improvements that have taken place in all parts of the Manchester City business.

Of course it is accepted that City have, until recently, failed to court the media effectively and so may have been partly responsible for the wider ignorance of Sheikh Mansour's plans and the board's work to date.

There was the low point of Mark Hughes' sacking which City accept was far from perfectly handled, but at that time the press were out to get City. And get City they did.

More recently there has been a subtle shift in how City are reported, but it has been a deliberate policy of City's not to engage with the tabloid press. In short, if you want to find out about City, you need to read a decent paper.

City have their standards, you see.

So you may not know about the new office block that was built so that Manchester City employees had a decent environment in which to work, with sunlight and air conditioning and not under one of the stands at Eastlands as they were before.

And of course, that isn't something a fly-by-night owner would spend several million pounds on, is it?

It is unlikely that you would have heard that City have quite literally brought the fans in from the cold by building a new ticket office, so that whilst queueing they would be inside and not outside.

Again, not exactly the actions of a crazy billionaire who will be gone as quickly as he arrived?

You won't have read too much about the investments made in the academy that currently ranks City No. 1 in the world for financial investment in youth infrastructure and coaching. 

Well, that doesn't sound right for a club only interested in "buying success," but let's not worry about details, eh?

This season saw the opening of City Square, meaning fans arrive earlier to enjoy food and drink and entertainment on-site. Having been inspired by the fan zones at major tournaments, City are taking it further by incorporating CITC (City in the Community) activities for kids as well—free of charge, of course.

On top of that is the creation of a family stand at Eastlands where young families can enjoy free entertainment, real kids' food and drinks, kids' toilet facilities, and mingle with the youth team players with family-friendly stewarding. Is any of that is about short-termism?

And there is the small matter of the estimated 200 acres of land purchased around Eastlands, and the partnership that the club has entered into with the council and local development agency.

Here are a few of the things you can expect from those arrangements.

A new training facility for all of City's needs next door to the current stadium which will be the best in the world.

An expanded stadium may well usurp Old Trafford as the best club ground in the UK.

There will also be an education partnership which will bring the University of Manchester and some of its sporting teams on site and offer the world a new idea of a expansive sporting campus. 

The rumours of an on-site five-star hotel are apparently accurate, and the talk of a world class leisure destination capable of attracting 6 million visitors per year are being circulated by the council and the club.

All of this of course is about generating income for MCFC so that the owner wont need to pump tens of millions of pounds in year after year.

And for those fans who still talk about the owner moving on a leaving City in the lurch, well that is simply fanciful.

The opposite is the reality. City are now inextricably linked to Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi to City in the eyes of the public. CIty is a way of promoting Abu Dhabi as a destination and of showing the world that Abu Dhabi is quality in every way.

That image would be ruined overnight and forever if they were to drop the City 'project'.

So you see, when the facts are in front of you City could not have a brighter future.

The 10-year plan will no doubt extend into a 20- and 30-year association where City and Abu Dhabi enjoy success after success both on and off the field.

Oh, and lets not forget its all done with cash and not credit.

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