x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 September 2017

The jealous stirring the pot at City

Exactly how many cooks does it take to spoil the broth? In Manchester City's case, a growing lynch mob claimed the answer is just one.

Garry Cook the email received by Dr Anthonia Onuoha was actually sent by someone who hacked his account.
Garry Cook the email received by Dr Anthonia Onuoha was actually sent by someone who hacked his account.

Exactly how many cooks does it take to spoil the broth?

In Manchester City's case, a growing lynch mob claimed the answer was just one: Garry Cook.

The chief executive fell on his sword in the wake of a storm created by him apparently mocking a cancer sufferer via email.

Among those demanding his head in the broth pot is Ian Wright, the ex-Arsenal player.

"How can anyone think it is possibly acceptable to joke about someone suffering from cancer," he asked before weighing in with the bromide: "You can have all the money in the world but you can't buy class."

Seeing as Wright likes cliches so much, here is another: people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

As a player, Wright was reported to the English Football Association for verbally abusing a linesman with physical deformities. He might like to consider this before posing as a champion of the afflicted.

Cook has denied writing the email - he blames a hacker - but, even if he did, it has some key mitigating features.

Most crucially, it was supposed to be a private message from Cook to his friend and City colleague, Brian Marwood.

If genuine, it was not intended to be seen by Dr Anthonia Onuoha, who was representing her son in a contract dispute with City.

She had e-mailed Marwood to say that while her "body might be ravaged by cancer and ongoing chemotherapy", she remained able to negotiate.

The response from Cook's account read: "Ravaged with it!! I don't know how you sleep at night. You used to be such a nice man when I worked with you at nike. G."

Yes, the mail has a light-hearted tone, but it could easily be aimed at the black farce of the situation, not Dr Onuoha's misfortune.

Put yourself in Marwood's shoes. If you were playing hardball - that is, doing your job and representing the best interests of your club - with a cancer-stricken woman, how would you feel about it? Not great, I imagine.

What if she took the opportunity to remind you of her illness, using emotive words such as "ravaged"? Would you appreciate the support of your peers, even expressed as mock outrage at your perceived villainy? I would.

If Cook did write that email, then he was probably trying to cheer up a colleague who found himself in an unenviable position. If he foolishly sent it to the wrong person … well, he would not be the first.

What offends me more than this private "mockery" of Dr Onuoha's cancer is the unashamed readiness of others to use it as a weapon against City. These people are not really offended by a slightly jocular email. We have all said more crass things when we thought nobody was listening.

No, they are offended that Manchester City has dared to show ambition, and challenge football's established elite, including Ian Wright's beloved Arsenal.

They are indignant that a lovable old punchbag like City has found a big pot of cash, and a brash chief executive who does not know his place - a chief executive who dares to dream of signing Kaka, beating Manchester United and staking a serious claim to the emerging markets of the east.

City does not have too many Cooks.

It just has plenty of jealous outsiders trying to stir the pot.

 

sports@thenational.ae