Monday 14 July 2008

Deputy chairman John Wardle has stepped down from his post at Manchester City. The club has issued the following statement:
It is with the deepest regret that Manchester City Football Club today announces the stepping down of Deputy Chairman John Wardle from the Board of Directors.

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.
Wardle will be very sadly missed, and his input into the club over the years is much appreciated. All the best for the future John.

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