views

Cook denies City conspiracy

MANCHESTER CITY chief executive Garry Cook insists the club had only agreed a deal with Roberto Mancini just a day before Mark Hughes was sacked.

Cook and the Eastlands hierarchy came under criticism for their treatment of Hughes, who was sacked after Saturday’s 4-3 win over Sunderland.

But the City CEO refutes any suggestion of a “conspiracy” over Hughes’ departure and insists Mancini was not watching his predecessor’s demise from the stands.

“The decision to seriously look at other managerial options was taken just three weeks ago following the Hull City game [on November 28],” Cook admitted. “I think it is important to know that Roberto was only offered the job after the Spurs game [on December 16].

“We negotiated on Thursday, finalised an agreement on Friday and he was not in the stadium on Saturday as was falsely reported.”

Mancini was officially unveiled in his first press conference yesterday but the Italian’s arrival at a snowy Eastlands was overshadowed by questions aimed at Cook regarding the ruthless sacking of Hughes.

Cook explained to reporters: “The intention was to tell Mark immediately after the game on Saturday. That would give Roberto and his team a full week to prepare for the next game.

“Regrettably, and despite our best efforts, rumours of discussions with Roberto Mancini became public before the game. Once Mark was informed, I informed his coaching staff and the players were then informed. That is why Kolo Toure and Shay Given were asked to attend a meeting after the game.”

He went on: “There seems to be an overwhelming theory that there was a conspiracy. There was no conspiracy.

“Like any other business we have plans and targets; and we have contingencies for when those plans and targets are not being met.

“The chairman has been nothing but transparent with Mark throughout his tenure and the decision to end it was a unanimous one taken by the chairman, myself and the board.

“The intention was to tell Mark immediately after the game on Saturday. Regrettably, and despite our best efforts, rumours of discussions with Roberto Mancini became public.”

Cook, however, refutes reports that Hughes’ exit has caused rebellion in the City dressing room. “There was no player rebellion, the playing and training staff are going about their business as usual, most professionally.”