x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Mubarak hails City's dynasty in the making

The new owners plan to build solid foundation to ensure the club is a long-term success.

Khaldoon al Mubarak, the new chairman of Manchester City.
Khaldoon al Mubarak, the new chairman of Manchester City.

Khaldoon al Mubarak was formally unveiled as the chairman of Manchester City yesterday and reassured fans that the new owners planned a long-term investment in the club that would involve developing young players and forging close links with the local community.

Following a period of due diligence and final negotiations, the Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG), led by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, formally completed their takeover of Manchester City yesterday, raising expectations among fans that their team face a bright future. In a statement on the official Manchester City website, Mubarak told fans that despite the frenzied headlines surrounding the takeover, the new owners wanted to build a long lasting legacy and develop the English Premier League club from top to bottom.

Mubarak said: "We're extremely happy, we're delighted that we are now part of Manchester City. We think that this is a wonderful club with a tremendous history and heritage. Our investment is one for the future. "I spent a couple of days visiting Carrington [the club's training ground] and going to the Academy, I was there all of Sunday morning and I watched the under 14, under 12 and under 9 sides.

"One thing that I think is important and that I want to emphasise straight away, is that the Academy is a priority. We need to invest in the Academy and we will continue to develop it. "It makes business sense and from a community perspective there is no question about the impact it has on the community. From the business perspective, the future of this club is to continue to produce talents like Micah Richards, Michael Johnson and Shaun Wright-Phillips.

"This is very important to us, and we are really going to commit to the Academy." Mubarak also revealed that he has been specifically told by Sheikh Munsour to focus as much as possible on City's Academy. "I have promised him that I'll do what I can to ensure that this Academy is the best not just in England, but in Europe," he added. Following an announcement of the takeover earlier this month, reports emerged that City were planning to pay multi-million dirham transfer fees for some of the world's leading players, but Mubarak called on fans to forget such speculation.

He said: "We are sensible people, and when it comes to a lot of the talk that has been around recently, forget everything that has been said in the past. "We are sensible people and we are investors who have invested in this club and will continue to do so, as long as it has the right pay-off for us and as long as it delivers results. "For us to be happy, this club has to be successful, and within a period of time competing at the highest level and hopefully winning trophies.

"At the same time, we will bring in the talent from the Academy and that talent has a value. We're convinced of the business case here that in the long-term will pay off. That's the bottom line." He also expressed full support for executive chairman Garry Cook and team manger Mark Hughes. Mubarak said: "I can't say enough about Garry Cook, he's a wonderful chap, we are committed to him and we are going to support him fully.

"Mark Hughes is as good as they get and we are backing him all the way. He makes the football decisions and we are here to learn, and we want to hear from the fans and the community. We want to bring this club back to the community and to the fans." Mubarak also reassured City fans that they had nothing to worry about following concerns raised by some within England at the growing number of foreign owners of Premier League clubs.

Mubarak continued: "A lot has happened over the last couple of weeks, we are genuine people, and we want to develop this club in a sustainable manner. Nothing rash is going to happen, we are not going to do crazy stuff. "Between Mark and Garry, I think we have a dynasty in the making. With our backing, with the commitment we are going to make to the Academy in the next 10 years there is going to be a tremendous period for Manchester City and for us. And I think we are going to have a blast doing it."

Mubarak revealed that a new board of directors at the club will be formally announced soon and that the new owners plan to recruit "top notch individuals". City played their first Premier League match in front of their new chairman last Sunday and thrilled him with a 6-0 win over Portsmouth. Mubarak revealed that Sheikh Mansour will also attend some matches. "Sheikh Mansour is absolutely delighted, he is a huge fan of football and of Manchester City and he asked me to take on this role on his behalf. I'm a big football fan myself and when he asked it took me about a second to decide. He will come to games and I will as often as I can."

The new chairman also insisted that when it comes to matters on the pitch, the decisions will be made by Hughes. Mubarak added: "Mark is an honest man, he's a leader , he's tough and he is everything you would want in a head coach. We trust him, he's one of the gems we saw in this Club once we came here." The statement is sure to please City fans and in a final note, Mubarak called on them to join the new owners and focus on the club's long-term future.

"The watchwords are patient, committed, and long term. If you look at Sheikh Mansour's track record and Abu Dhabi's track record in general, they are always sensible investors, well regarded by everyone," insisted Mubarak. vchaudhary@thenational.ae