Thaksin Shinawatra has been forced to make a public apology in Thailand after his name was emblazoned on a Thai flag by Manchester City fans.
A Thai flag bearing the message "Thank you Thaksin", which was unfurled during last week's Eastlands defeat by Fulham, has landed Thaksin in hot water in his home country, with prime minister Samak Sundaravej "strongly disapproving" of the flag.
"I saw it, but was occupied with the game," Thaksin said. "The fans are now well aware that the actions caused unhappiness in Thailand and they asked me to convey their regrets."
I'm not sure who was responsible for the flag in the first place, but given some of the other bits of 'publicity' we have seen in and around the ground this season it wouldn't surprise if Thaksin was behind the placing of it.
What is surprising are Thaksin's comments that the fans 'asked me to convey their regrets'. Given the story surfaced in Thailand over the past few days (and well after 'Sven-gate' broke) it is difficult to comprehend any kind of fan action in support of him so these attributed comments merely seem to try and save face for Thaksin in what seems a political own-goal back home.
I'm not sure whether this will necessary cause him any more unpopularity given he is making a decent fist of that already, but what could be concerning for Thaksin is that whilst there was a minority of fans who were either very anti-Thaksin or po-Thaksin, I'm certain that a majority of fans were prepared to give him the benefit of doubt over his past, this was done on the basis of the investment he brought and bright future that was promised.
If this is threatened, then this majority may well not decide to put his past to one side and things could well turn sour for him, particularly if the current issue continues to drag on and on.
Majority hated or loved, but most happy for investment and put suspicions to one side - careful this doesn't disintegrat