Man City question ex-chairman's claims of fan unrest

November 16, 2006

Manchester City have questioned former chairman David Bernstein's claim that increasing numbers of fans are concerned about the direction of the club.

Plans are in the pipeline to form a Supporters' Trust and it is understood gaining representation on the board and encouraging investment into City are the main objectives.

However it is unclear what role - if any - Bernstein would play after he confirmed he had been approached by fans.

City spokesman Paul Tyrrell said: 'We are surprised by David Bernstein comments because he has always been extremely supportive of the club, especially of John Wardle (chairman) and Alistair Mackintosh (chief executive).'

Bernstein told the Manchester Evening News: 'I have numerous calls from supporters and supporters' groups expressing unhappiness over a wide range of issues and the club's general direction.

'These concerns appear to be increasing and it worries me that so many people feel this way.'

Guernsey-based business manager Ollie Goddard, Miles Webber, a financial executive and fellow supporters Colin Savage and Colin Howell have been named as the four key players in the setting up of the trust.

Trusts have had notable success in the lower divisions and in non-league.

But it is believed the group would have to find in the region of £80million if they wanted to gain total control and wipe out the debts.

While City are always open to ideas from potential new investors, Tyrrell added: 'We are in constructive dialogue with the people who are behind the idea. However, it is important to keep a perspective on their ambitions.

'Trusts do a great job at the lower end of the football pyramid, but the high financial stakes in the Premier League somewhat limit their potential effectiveness.

'All our fans must be clear that there does not appear to be any significant investors or investment opportunities associated with this group of well meaning people.

'Most of their stated aims are being delivered by Manchester City - day in, day out.'