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Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Cook reiterates support for Hughes

Manchester City executive chairman Garry Cook has insisted results alone will determine how long Mark Hughes remains as manager.

Hughes has come under fire this season for a chronic run of results that saw the Blues drop into the relegation zone just before Christmas.

Unrest within the City squad, culminating in Robinho's dramatic walkout from a warm-weather training camp yesterday, has not reflected well on the Welshman either, while some fans claim a boss with more of the 'wow' factor, like Jose Mourinho, might have proved more successful in attracting Kaka to Eastlands.

But City's Abu Dhabi-based owners remain steadfastly behind Hughes.

In keeping with the traditional view of life in the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mansour is adopting a long-term view and has pledged to provide Hughes with all the backing he needs.

As the man responsible for the day-to-day running of life at City, Cook will be left to tie up the transfers of the men Hughes wants - and that included Kaka.

"People say 'is Mark going to stick around?'," observed Cook.

"He is the manager of the football club and is more than competent at his job.

"We are providing the tools he requires because he feels he needs more to go out and win games.

"Everyone knows what the rules are. If you are a striker and you don't score for three years you will probably find yourself elsewhere."

Still in the bottom half and dumped out of both domestic cup competitions by lower league opposition, there are many who wonder whether Sheikh Mansour is getting somewhat disillusioned by the payback of his investment.

It seems nothing could be further from the truth. A visit to the City of Manchester Stadium at some point this season has been pencilled in for the Blues owner while on-going negotiations for Holland midfielder Nigel de Jong, allied to yesterday's 14million purchase of Craig Bellamy, is used by City insiders as proof the Sheikh remains as enthusiastic as ever.

"We have had a good transfer window," said Cook, who remains upbeat despite missing out on Kaka.

"Wayne Bridge is fantastic and we are pleased Mark is back with Craig Bellamy because they have a great relationship.

"The talks with Nigel de Jong are well documented and the journey will continue.

"This isn't going to happen overnight. This football club is still building. We are 16 weeks into the owners taking control. On a 10-year journey that is not a lot of time."

In one sense, City are muscling into the big boys' territory already by spending a British record 32.5million on Robinho and then attempting to swoop for Kaka in what would have been the most amazing transfer of all time if they had been able to push it through.

Yet Cook accepts other parts of the Blues' development need more work.

"There is the element of are we ready yet?" he said.

"The owners will be investing in infrastructure and they will continue to invest in the team. But we also have to look at growing the business commercially.

"We want to be one of the biggest clubs in the world but commercially we are only a fifth of their size."

The building will not be done purely by spending huge sums of money on individual players.

Kaka was identified as a specific target who could have been captured. Having missed out, City will not merely switch their attentions to another marquee name.

"There is a balance to be struck and a business model to be adhered to," said Cook.

"If it was as simple as picking someone out and throwing money at them I would have spent another 100million yesterday. Would that have been right thing to do? We didn't think so."




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