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Are Manchester City About To Go Into Meltdown?

When the Vedran Corluka story broke on Thursday, it seemed nothing more than transfer speculation hitting the news wires, stoked by the usual rumour mongers and agents, desperately trying to earn a bit of corn for themselves, pushing a transfer through. Manchester City denied it, Tottenham didn’t mention it and Mark Hughes came out and said that he had no interest in selling any of his first choice players. Another statement was released last night to the same effect.

Later on Friday, Hughes once again had to came out and said that the owner, Thaksin Shinawatra, had no interest in selling the club and was committed to Manchester City in the long term. Don’t forget it’s only 6 weeks ago they signed Jo for a club record fee of £19 million pounds, adding Ben Haim to the squad on the 1st August for a further £5million as well as chasing Ronaldinho most of the summer too. Surely Manchester City can’t really be facing financial meltdown?

Yet, on further investigation things began to unravel on Friday evening. Corluka was to join Tottenham for the exact amount that City had paid for him a year earlier and on Saturday afternoon, Corluka travelled to London to complete his transfer to Spurs. To all intents and purposes, Corluka is now a Tottenham player but the deal has yet to be announced to the stock market. Corluka’s agent has also confirmed the deal has been completed but City are refusing to release the players registration. Spurs are apparently considering legal action to force the release of the player.

Prior to the Saturdays match, rumours then broke regarding Stephen Ireland, who was nowhere to be seen in the build up to the friendly against AC Milan, was concluding a transfer to Sunderland. This was obviously against the wishes of Hughes who had only found out when he arrived at the ground that Ireland had been sent to Sunderland to discuss contract terms. He quickly called him back to Eastlands to discuss the situation further.

Sunday then saw stories circulating that Shinawatra was not going to return to Thailand to stand trial in the court case against him for corruption charges but nothing was concrete or official until Monday morning. Shinawatra has indeed released a statement stating that “He and his wife would be staying in the UK where democracy is more important”. The Thailand Supreme Court has now issued an arrest warrant for him, making him an international fugitive, which now causes issues with the Premiership’s fit and proper person test. The British Home Office has yet to receive an application for political asylum at present.

Add to this fact that all City’s new arrivals are being paid for in installments and payments have now begun to bounce, the club don’t own the Eastlands ground, so can’t use that as collateral to raise funds and the £200 million loan that Shinawatra borrowed on the proviso that his frozen assets would be released is also due for payment and the worries begin to grow for this great club. Any new buyer would have to pay at least £200 million immediately to clear Shinawatra’s debt’s and make the club secure and the current financial climate doesn’t make an immediate rescue package seem too viable.

How will Mark Hughes feel in this situation is anyone’s guess, but you have to feel sorry for him if this scenario is as real as some people are making out. He came to Manchester City to improve his standing as a manager and push himself on to a different level, this could force him into reconsidering his position as manager. Being in charge of an owner’s firesale didn’t appear on the application form.

Whilst this could all be a massive misunderstanding, under the surface, things do not sound good. In fact, things seem to be taking a similar route to that which befell Leeds United several years ago but Leeds had tangible assets to try and raise some funds. Other than the playing staff, some of whom they still don’t own, City don’t have anything to sell. With 5 days left to go until the start of the season, it seems bad things are afoot at Manchester City and I have heard that some people feel the club has two weeks left as a football club. Let’s hope that this isn’t true and City can hold on to what they have in these difficult times.

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  1. Neil

    August 12, 2008 at 9:52 am

    Absolute rubbish! If they were about to go under, then I’m sure players like Corluk/Ireland would have been sold, and Hughes wouldn’t have taken the job. Cook wouldn’t have moved all of his family over from America. It’s rubbish, people claim they know inside sources but they don’t, personally, I think it’s pathetic.

  2. Weston

    August 12, 2008 at 8:54 am

    It has been reported by credible sources however (i.e. MSNBC, BBC, etc.) that Thaksin has arrest warrants our for him (and his wife?) and that his assets have been or will be soon frozen.

  3. Weasel

    August 12, 2008 at 7:55 am

    City in meltdown. Oh how we laughed. Wardle paid a short term loan of 2m months ago as a one off.

    Citys turmoil has been fabricated on the worst case scenario by the press. Every report uses the word COULD ie this could happen that could happen. No report is just reporting the news – it would read, Thaksin and his missus has skipped bail.

  4. Andrew

    August 11, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    I don’t know what to think. I’ve been absolutely whacked since this media circus started. Just a question; WOULD SOME MEDIA GROUP START POSTING REAL NEWS with CREDIBLE SOURCES!!!

  5. AT

    August 11, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    Unmitigated claptrap.

    For one, Corlukas agent has not confirmed the deal has been done. He had passed a medical and agreed terms, City didn’t sign off the necessary paperwork to complete the deal.

    Secondly, we earn revenue from the ground and as such it is an asset.

    Thirdly, why did Shinawatra need to take out a £200m loan for the purchase of an £80m company? £20m or so was what he spent on the deal, he took on a further £60m or so in debt.

    I think you need to find some more reliable sources.

  6. Matt

    August 11, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    If the finances were that bad, it wouldn’t have mattered what Hughes said or did, Corluka and Ireland would no longer be at City.

  7. Blue Evertonian

    August 11, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Oi! We’ll sign 3 tomorrow!! (I read it in the mirror)

  8. AtlantaPompey

    August 11, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    ManCity is in trouble.

    Blackburn is in open revolt against new manager Ince.

    Everton’s David Moyes says they need 3-4 more players to be competitive in the league.

    All together now:


  9. Weston

    August 11, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Haha, technically its wasnt HH himself, it was a quote of a secondary source which he himself was quoting. But point taken nonetheless.

  10. Double Pivot

    August 11, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Do not, I repeat, do not quote Harry Hotspur. He doesn’t know a thing. 🙂

    We’ve been hearing most of these rumors as the shit hit the fan with Corluka this weekend. I’ve even heard that one of the board members had to pay wages with his own money.

    I will say, the one thing that City can do immediately is sell Micah. That would get them 20-30 million and that would all be profit. That might spell them for a little while.

  11. Ryan

    August 11, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    I just hope the FA don’t punish the players or Hughes with a ridiculous point deduction along the lines of Luton, obviously we are a long way off from that point but just saying.

  12. Weston

    August 11, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Hmm, not sure why that link doesnt work, but heres the meat of the quote listed in that post. From Harry Hotspur post:

    “When Spurs first made contact, it was Shinawatra’s people that agreed a fee with Spurs and told Corluka he was free to leave. They did that without Mark Hughes’ knowledge or consent…
    Behind the scenes a real row started between Hughes and certain elements of the board; Hughes furious that they had gone behind his back to sell Corluka to Spurs, and the board enraged that Hughes had effectively recalled him from London for the Celtic game.

    Spurs agreed the final details for the transfer with City yesterday morning, and Corluka put pen to paper on his player registration.

    Then City’s people accepted the offer from Sunderland for Stephen Ireland, and Hughes went properly mental. Twice in 48 hours he felt he was having players he wanted sold from under him. In a rage, it was Hughes who called Ireland and told him he was expected to report to the CoMS to report for the Milan game. Hughes putting him on for a couple of minutes was a big statement on his part.

    Here comes the really interesting part.

    Hughes last night told Cook he was through with City and wants out, the sale of Corluka and Ireland being the straw that broke the camel’s back. He said if the Corluka deal went through particularly, he would be on his way out of City too.

    At that point City have tried to derail the Corluka and Ireland deals.”

    and so on… I guess we will see what happens in the coming days.

  13. Weston

    August 11, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Karma’s a bitch, eh? I feel bad for Citeh fans, but Thaksin had this coming to him and I had a strong feeling that they would crash and burn at some point during this season. Owner is an international fugitive, said Owner’s wife is due for 3-year jail term, Owner goes behind manager’s back to sell two top players, and said manager considers leaving before getting one league match under his belt with Citeh. Yikes.

    After reading this -> it is clear that things are in a sharp downturn.

    Why the hell did they sell to this guy? I thought Spurs’ board was dumb, but they really raised the bar.

  14. Paul Bestall

    August 11, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Hi Austin, I do and the info I’ve seen is internal from MCFC.

  15. Blue Evertonian

    August 11, 2008 at 11:16 am

    Paul said:
    “A City fan I know doesn’t even think they’ll start the season”!

    That’s obviously a worse case scenario but frightening none the less. City fans have been through enough in the past 10 years (or more) they deserve a period of success of SOME kind not to mention stability. If Shinawatra does decide (or is forced) to “dump” City then we can only hope it is done in the best possible way in order not to damage the club.

  16. Austin

    August 11, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Do you have a source where it says that Thaksin took out a loan to buy the club? I had always heard the money came from what was left of his unfrozen assets.

  17. Paul Bestall

    August 11, 2008 at 11:04 am

    I know, I felt exactly the same about the events at Goodison too. Moyes really needs more support from the board to enable him to try and get you regular European football.
    The stories have been circulating since Thursday and are gathering momentum. A City fan I know doesn’t even think they’ll start the season!

  18. Blue Evertonian

    August 11, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Bloody Hell! This is a bad time for Man City fans. I was feeling sorry for myself with Evertons problems thusfar this year but I think things are even worse at Eastlands than Goodison. I can’t imagine MH putting up with too much messing about with what he was promised when he signed on. I have a bad feeling about this.

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