There has been much written about the purchase of Manchester City over the last few weeks and so now I am delighted to tell you that negotiations are complete and the transfer of ownership will take place next Tuesday (September 23rd, 2008). With the agreement finalised I would like to tell you directly a little about who we are and what we have planned.
Firstly I would like to thank you for the many expressions of good will and joy we have received since our wish to purchase the Club was announced. We are deeply touched and now have some great personal experience of what so many people have told us for a while now.......you are the greatest fans in the world.
Like you, we are excited about the future of the club, and we hope the securing of Robinho as a Manchester City player during the transfer window is seen as a signal of our very real intent. It has been an exciting two weeks for all of us.
My intention is that Manchester City has the very best people at its disposal, both on and off the field. For that reason I have asked my friend Khaldoon Al Mubarak, to take on the position of Chairman of the Club. My request to him has been to put together a board and executive team that is worthy of the heritage and potential of Manchester City.
Khaldoon and I have agreed that the we will not be making any more announcements for a while as we really now need to sit down with the manager, Executive Chairman and key staff and put together plans that will, over time, get the Club to where we want it to be. That is the stage we are entering now and as anyone who runs a business knows, this involves a lot of listening, and a lot of talking to many stakeholders and research and discussion before plans can be announced.
As part of that, we will absolutely spend time listening to you the fans about what you think about the future of the club. We are very aware that without you there would not be a club to buy, and your voice will be heard by the organisation at the highest level. We also want to make it clear that Mark Hughes is absolutely integral to our plans. We are lucky to have someone who we believe is the best young British manager; someone who has been successful on the global stage, the Premier League and of course as a player.
We are ambitious for the club, like you, but not unreasonably so and we understand it takes time to build a team capable of sustaining a presence in the top four of the Premier League and winning European honours. We know a little of the history at City also and whilst we want to bring in the best players in the world, we also want to see the academy continue to develop talent and give Mark Hughes the chance to bring home-grown players into the team. We consider Mark Hughes to be one of the prime assets of the club. We will back his judgement in what players to bring in and we look forward to working more closely with him in the future. We are building a structure for the future not just a team of all-stars.
In cold business terms, Premiership football is one of the best entertainment products in the world and we see this as a sound business investment. That being said, we understand that we need to put money in to get the club to where we believe it can be - and where we think you the fans want it to be.
We are aware also that the club has a significant role in the community going back years. As newcomers, we don’t pretend to understand all of this yet, but we will make sincere efforts to back these initiatives and ensure that Manchester City loses none of its role in Manchester beyond football and we want the club to continue to contribute to the community it represents.
I should perhaps also explain that despite what you may have read, I have bought the club in a private capacity and as part of my personal business strategy to hold a wide portfolio of business investments. I am a football fan, and I hope that you will soon see that I am now also a Manchester City fan. But I am also a long-term investor and that is probably more important to the club and to you because it means we are here for the long haul and that we will act always in the best interests of the club and all of its stakeholders, but especially you the fans.
I cannot be at the game against Portsmouth on Sunday, but like many of you I will be glued to the screen and cheering the team on. The club’s new Chairman will be there and I ask you to welcome him. I will be at Eastlands soon and am really looking forward to sampling the famous City atmosphere.
Thank you again for the good wishes and your support.
Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan