City chief exec talking to UEFA

Given the grandiose plans for land around the stadium, it is

estimated Etihad Airways have pledged £300million over the

next 10 years for a range of projects that include renaming City’s

home the Etihad Stadium. Even so, it will not come close to wiping

out losses in excess of £120million posted in City’s last

accounts, to May 2010, which leave them in jeopardy of failing to

meet FFP. However, Cook has confirmed an open dialogue with

European football’s power brokers and given the Blues’ “aggressive”

commercial plans, the gap is closing quickly. “We have a very open

dialogue with UEFA,” said Cook. “We have had several meetings with

UEFA about our plans and they are very supportive of Manchester

City’s ambition. “There are many football clubs who have the

backdrop of regulation that is being placed into the world of

football. “We are no different to any other football club.” A

special Airbus-330, with a City livery, will fly between Manchester

and Abu Dhabi as part of the deal, which also includes an extension

to Etihad’s present shirt sponsorship and the renaming of an area

around City’s stadium, now known as the ‘Etihad Campus’. It all

forms part of an ultra-ambitious plan to gatecrash Europe’s elite

clubs. Owner Sheikh Mansour has invested in excess of

£1billion so far, including the acquisition of the club three

years ago, and has been rewarded with a place in next season’s

Champions League plus the FA Cup, City’s first trophy in 35 years.

He has already shelled out on two signings this week in Gael Clichy

and Stefan Savic, although that duo would be eclipsed by the

arrival of Samir Nasri, with fresh reports surfacing in Italy that

a fee has been agreed with Arsenal, which City are yet to respond

to. Having made the mistake of trumpeting rather too loudly his

view of City’s future direction, and been left with egg on his face

when Manchester United beat the Blues in a 2010 Carling Cup

semi-final, Cook is wary of saying too much at such an early stage

of the summer. “I have got into trouble with this one before,” he

laughed. “We will look to continue our growth, on and off the

pitch. “Our ambition for next year means we are competing in a new

competition – the Champions League – plus the three others. “We

will endeavour to be successful in all four.”