City Fans Face An Uncertain Future

Saturday, August 16, 2008 by Editor

"Everybody is laughing at us . . . again. But this is Manchester City, we'll still come here, 40,000 of us every week," insists one valiant club fan.

Thaksin Shinawatra

Owner Thaksin Shinawatra leaves the club in uncertain times

The words of this one City fan sum up the mood of the masses.

The start of a new season is meant to be a time for optimism among football fans, a few weeks when everybody can look to the future and hope.

But it's proving hard to find optimists here at the ticket office outside the City of Manchester Stadium.

Following this club has always been a rollercoaster ride - at the moment you get the impression the supporters just crave stability.

Billionaire chairman Thaksin Shinawatra is wanted in his home country of Thailand on charges of corruption and abuse of power, plus £800m of his assets have been frozen pending a verdict.

Speculation has surrounded the future of new manager Mark Hughes and there are whispers that star players like Vedran Corluka and Stephen Ireland could be leaving.

All in all, City fans feel they have every reason to be downcast as the new Premier League gets under way.

"It's the uncertainty that is getting to people," says Kevin Parker from the Man City Supporters Club.

"People are looking at the financial side of all this and worrying because you think of what happened to Leeds United.

"Look at them now, they're in a division we were in seven or eight years ago and we don't want to go back to that."

A top 10 finish and a place in the UEFA Cup wasn't enough to keep Sven Goran Eriksson in his job as City manager and his successor has been busy this week answering questions about the situation on and off the pitch.

I am very focused on what I aim to achieve here and that means success on the pitch.

Manchester City Manager Mark Hughes

"I had a meeting with all the players this week and the contents will remain private," Mark Hughes told reporters.

"Basically we needed to make the group aware that I'm in charge and will make decisions that will affect players."

Hughes added that every football club attracts its share of speculation and that he believes most of it is not grounded in fact.

What is fact is that an arrest warrant has been issued in Thailand for City's owner.

Mr Thaksin maintains the charges are politically motivated and an attempt to remove him from politics.

We'll soon find out what affect the coverage of his situation has had on City's players and their motivation.