Monday, 14 July 2008
Mr Wardle’s resignation brings to an end an eleven-year relationship with Manchester City, a relationship which began at the most turbulent period in the Club’s history but one which culminated in an era of unprecedented stability in the top flight of English football.
Speaking of the situation, John Wardle said: “This has not been an easy decision to make, as I have enjoyed every minute of my time at Manchester City in whatever role I have been asked to do.
“I am proud of the fact that during my time as Chairman, we have never dropped out of the top flight and that we achieved the stability that the Club and its fans had been craving for so long.
“It was for this reason that I took the necessary step of selling the Club last year, as I believed we had taken Manchester City as far as it could go.
“We had a wonderful stadium, top class training facilities and a fantastic Academy system, however it was obvious that further investment was needed.
“Now, with all these things in place and together with Dr Thaksin’s investment, I truly believe that the Club is set up for a very positive future. We have one of the brightest managers in the game and a great crop of exciting players.
“I wish the Club and everybody involved with it all the very best for the future. The support I have had from the staff at the Club over the years has been incredible and I know that I leave behind a truly committed and talented team.
“I would also like to say a special thank you to the fans who, without exception have remained truly supportive and whose loyalty has been unwavering despite some very testing times.”
Executive Chairman Garry Cook said: “Our disappointment at John’s stepping down is matched only by our gratitude to him for the dedication he has shown on so many levels to this football club.
“Every single Manchester City fan owes John Wardle an enormous thank you, not just for his financial investment in the Club, but for the enthusiasm, emotion and wisdom he has imparted to it.
“He has been the fabric of this football club and quite simply, without his input in the darkest days of the third tier of English football, we would not be in the position in which we find ourselves today.
“John has stepped down, knowing that the future of the Club is in good hands and is heading in a positive direction. He will always be welcome at this Football Club and his input will never be forgotten.”
John was appointed to the Board as joint majority shareholder along with then JD Sport Partner David Makin in March 1998. From then on, he became an ever present and valued figure during several periods of change, being elected first Deputy Chairman then later becoming Chairman following the departure of David Bernstein in March 2003.
As Chairman he forged positive working relationships with managers Kevin Keegan and Stuart Pearce and returned to the post of Deputy Chairman following Dr Thaksin Shinawatra’s takeover of the Club in June 2008. He was also instrumental in the Club’s move from Maine Road to the impressive City of Manchester Stadium in 2003 following the previous year's Commonwealth Games.
Saturday, 5 July 2008
July 2008 Fixtures
Thursday 17th July k/o 19:00 UEFA Cup EB/Streymur A
Saturday 26th July k/o 16:00 Friendly Hamburg A
Thursday 31st July k/o 20:00 UEFA Cup EB/Streymur H*
August 2008 Fixtures
Saturday 2nd Aug k/o 15:00 Friendly Stockport A
Weds 6th Aug k/o 19:45 Friendly Celtic A
Saturday 9th Aug k/o 15:00 TCT** AC Milan H
*= to be played at Oakwell, Barnsley F.C.
**= Thomas Cook Trophy
● Mark Hughes has made his first signing since taking over at Manchester City. Brazilian striker Jo has signed a four-year deal at the club for a record-breaking fee of £19 million from CSKA Moscow.
● City have been drawn against EB/Streymur in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Cup. The team is based in the Faroe Islands, with the first leg being played away on Thursday July 17th and the second leg being played at Oakwell, home of Barnsley, on Thursday July 31st.
● City have released four senior players from the club. These are Paul Dickov, Emily Mpenza, Geovanni and Sun Jihai.
● City goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson has left the club in a move to PSV Eindhoven on a four-year deal.
● The blues have confirmed another pre-season friendly, this time against Scottish side Celtic. The game will be played at Parkhead on Wednesday August 6, kick off 7:45pm.
● Finally, and perhaps the best news of all, is that skipper Richard Dunne has put pen to paper and has signed a four-year deal with City. The Irishman has ended months of speculation about his career by stating his commitment to the blues.
I can’t really comment on the Jo signing as I haven’t seen him in action but £19 million is obviously a lot of money. The Ronaldinho rumour bandwagon continues to rumble on but the transfer is looking less likely. I am delighted with Dunne finally agreeing a deal with the club; he is such an influential figure and a very talented defender. The UEFA Cup tie on paper should be a doddle, but we must treat EB/Streymur with the upmost respect and it goes without saying that is a win is the only option.
The results of my last poll are in. I asked who you would most like to see Hughes sign for City. 43% of you said, after impressing in the recent Euro 2008 tournament, that Bayern Munich striker Lukas Podolski would be the best option. Interestingly, 0% of you voted for Jo. Hmmmmm.
The latest poll is open now, so get voting. Not long to go now until pre-season begins. I am very excited. It’s going to be emotional.
Also, I recently took part in a period of work experience at BBC Radio Manchester and I would like to thank Ian Cheeseman and Mark Elliott for their time, help and advice. It was certainly an insight into the industry and I hope to visit Oxford Road again.
Best blue wishes,