Manchester City: Inside the deal on the day City became the richest club in the world

Manchester City

It was the arrangement that changed Manchester City, the Premier League and the football scene for eternity.

On 1 September 2008, Sheik Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s Abu Dhabi United Group concurred a £200m arrangement to assume control City.

Ten years sooner they had been in the third level of English football. With that arrangement, City turned into the most extravagant club on the planet and had the cash to purchase the plain best footballing ability on the planet. 10 years on they have spent more than £1.4bn on players, won three Premier League titles and wind up built up as one of Europe’s superpowers.

This is the story, from the individuals who were there, of the most huge summer in English football…

In August 2008, after his wife Pojaman’s conviction for fraud, Thaksin Shinawatra jumped bail in his native Thailand and fled to Britain. At the time it was estimated Shinawatra had £1bn-worth of assets frozen, plunging his ownership of Manchester City into chaos. City had finished the previous season with an 8-1 defeat at Middlesbrough, with manager Sven-Goran Eriksson replaced by Mark Hughes. Chief executive Garry Cook led the search for a solution.

Garry Cook, who was appointed chief executive in May 2008: “There was chaos. Everybody was clinging to the wreckage. There wasn’t a lot of hope and it was born out of the fact that financially, we were almost out of business.

“We couldn’t pay the bills. We couldn’t pay the wages. Money was frozen. It was a desperate situation and faced with that, you borrow money from wherever you can. We were borrowing from board members. It was not a plan to run a football club. It was one of survival.

“Finding partial investment was not an option. Someone had to take over the club 100%. Good fortune is always a major factor in situations like these and Abu Dhabi United Group were in the market for a football club.

“The dream we sold to them was more than just buying 24 footballers. It was about buying the opportunity to create something rather special.

“We didn’t realise, as a group, the gravity of what was about to happen and the levels it would go to.”

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