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.
I don't know the extent of Wardle's power or influence on the club last season, or whether he was merely a presence in the boardroom but you would think this move strengthens the hand of Garry Cook even further - particularly if Thaksin is likely to be away from the club for longer than was perhaps intended as his trial that commenced this week appears to be more serious in terms of its ramifications than was initially believed.
The club spoke warmly of Wardle:
Wardle of course always painted himself as a reluctant chairman, stepping into the breach following the departure of David Bernstein, and whilst he quite rightly points out that we have achieved Premier League stability under his tenure, it has not been without the odd scare.
"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. 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
The gamble if you will in handing Kevin Keegan large sums in the transfer market did not pa off and left us with an ageing and expensive squad which cried out for investment, and whilst the personal loans that both he and partner David Makin provided to the club were invaluable during this time, it was the inability to atteact significant other investment when it was most needed that perhaps left a majority of fans hardly singing his praises.
But, his was an important role - and despite certain aspects appearing to have been done 'on the cheap', he performed well in the position and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that if there was someone at the helm without his passion and commitment to the club then we could well be in an entirely different position to where we currently stand today.
With Wardle's departure on the back of Alastair Mackintosh leaving the club, there has been an almighty changing of the guard over the summer with no one in any doubt that Garry Cook is the man effectively running the show, with Mark Hughes his personal choice as manager.
For better or worse there has been a change at the very top of the club as we head into the new season, but one things is certain is that the direction the club is heading in will make it unrecognisable from how it looked even as recently as five years ago.
The Guardian ran an article today suggesting the departure was more to do with the growing disillusionment of Wardle at how Thaksin is operatin - even to the extent he was not consulted over the sacking over Sven.