Manchester City Getting Closer To Being the World's Biggest Club

True BlueCorrespondent IJuly 17, 2011

Garry Cook, overseeing the development of MCFC
Garry Cook, overseeing the development of MCFCMichael Regan/Getty Images

It was only a few short months ago that I wrote an article on here that non-City fans roundly mocked.

In that piece, posted February 15th, I suggested that Manchester City could, and in all probability would, be the biggest club commercially within five years. (You can read what I said here.)

Last week the news broke concerning the massive sponsorship deal between City and Etihad that included shirt sponsorship, stadium naming rights, and the creation of what is known as Etihad Campus.

Of course, City and their partners at Etihad are doing things differently, involving the community of East Manchester and focusing on the development of young people in not only Manchester but across the world.

The deal is estimated to be worth £400 million, but Garry Cook, Manchester City chief executive, has hinted that there is no upper limit to what the club could earn.

This weekend residents near the newly named Etihad Stadium and the site of the future Manchester City Academy are invited to view the plans as part of the community consultation.

Here is what the residents were told would be included in the project:

1. A new Academy for up to 400 young players
2. A learning facility for 200 Academy players
3. Accommodation for 40 Academy players
4. A first-team building with changing room, gym, refectory, injury and rehab centre, and 32 bedrooms
5. Eight youth development pitches
8 First-team football pitches
9. A 7,000-seat stadium for youth matches and community use
10. Office space for football club employees
11. A media centre
12. A customer service centre
13. A new footbridge linking the centre to the Etihad campus
14. Up to 5.5 acres of land dedicated to the construction of new community facilities.

They were also told that the planning application for the project will be submitted in early September 2011.

So, as the many doubters and the likes of Arsene Wenger and John W Henry bleat about the Etihad deal not being fair, I would caution them to keep their powder dry for the real fight as City plan to do a lot more than dominate European football for the foreseeable future.

City are also going to show how football and its millions of pounds of revenue can be used to develop real links between clubs and communities and be a real force for good.

City are going to show that there is a better way, and M. Platini and the Defenders of Financial Fair Play are fully on board.

The future is bright.

The future is sky blue.