Ten facts about Man City executive chairman Garry Cook
Meet the man with huge plans for the Citizens
In ten years time, when the first words of most children in Asia are ‘Manchester City’, and all of David Beckham’s children are begging for a game at Eastlands, we’ll have one man to thank. It’s not that barmy former Thai Prime Minister with the frozen assets, but City executive chairman Garry Cook. Keep reading for ten fascinating facts about the man and his
mental ambitious plans for the future of his club and the entire league…
1. Shinawatra poached him from an executive position at Nike, where he has gained marketing expertise for the past 22 years.
2. His time in the USA with Nike has clearly affected his sensibilities about sport. He believes there should be a break-away division of 10-14 clubs with no promotion or relegation. “The fans would find a way to get passionate about it,” he says.
3. He sees City becoming a global empire that will be bigger than Manchester Utd. By tapping into the Chinese and Indian markets, which represent 30 per cent of the world’s population, he believes the Blues can win the Champions League in “ten years or more”.
4. He is obsessed with the nonsense term ‘box office signing’, and is the man responsible for trying (and failing) to lure the likes of Ronaldinho and Henry to Eastlands. He sees this as an essential step in gaining global popularity: “No disrespect, Richard Dunne doesn’t roll off the tongue in Beijing.”
5. Despite Mark Hughes’ disapproval of the Vedran Corluka and Stephen Ireland transfers, Cook is happy to line anyone up on the chopping block: “Everyone’s for sale. If they want to stay at this club they will have to aspire to it.”
6. He is a Birmingham fan.
7. When questioned, Cook will skim past Thaksin Shinawatra’s legal problems and troubled past, insisting that he is a nice guy who is great to play golf with. On the subject of his issues with the Premier League’s ‘fit and proper person’ stipulation: ”It’s almost a tongue-in-cheek term that you would use for Premier League football over the last 10 years. There are plenty of unfit and improper individuals.”
8. The Gaz-man is quick to reassure fans that Shinawatra is in it for the long haul: “I asked ‘why did you buy it?’. He said he bought it because there is a 10-year plan.”
9.Despite the owner’s £800m of frozen assets and the recent £30m bank loan that Manchester City took out, Cook insists they are a long way from dire financial straits. In a move that suggests he thinks countries are people, he said he has had “Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait on the phone,” and they have met with ‘the second richest person in China.”
10. Good news for Sparky – Cook insists he won’t be fired if Manchester City fail to reach the top six this season.