CITY have removed former owner Thaksin Shinawatra from his position as honorary club president. Thaksin has been convicted of corruption and is on the run from authorites in Thailand having been sentenced to two years in prison. Now Blues owner Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak have decided that Thaksin, a former prime minister of Thailand, should no longer hold a role with the club. Thaksin has always maintained his innocence and claimed his conviction by Thailand's supreme court was "politically motivated".>>MEN.
A very brief (almost terse) statement announcing the departure of Thaksin, although after selling the club, his role as Honorary Club President has been anything but a public one - with to my mind only one (uncomfortable) appearance where he was alongside Khaldoon Al Mubarak.
You almost wonder if the intention was to always edge Thaksin aside once the dust had settled on the takeover, as opposed to him departing immediately after the sale, and this way it at least appears less of an ousting.
The interesting factor regarding Thaksin now for me is exactly how he will be judged in terms of the history of the club? I imagine better than the wider political world will remember him, but how will his contribution to the club be regarded?
Thaksin always appeared to be viewed in an affectionate manner from the support as a whole, as if the image of him portrayed as a quasi-despot figure was not quite fitting with the figure that sought (and largely received) the affection of fans.
There is no doubt that Thaksin arrived at a time when the club was in desperate need of galvanising. As well as John Wardle et al had ran the club, serious investment was required if we were to achive anything higher than a mid-table position, and Thaksin certainly provided that impetus in hiring Sven-Goran Eriksson and investing heavily into the side. More importantly perhaps, the mood of the club was immediately lifted.
However, there was always the shadow of the many allegations against him. I remeber giving an interview to the BBC where, when discussing the accusations levelled at Thaksin, whether I would support Kim-Jong Il if he owned the club.
Many fans believed I'm sure that charges against him would either be dropped or he would be found not guilty, but of course this proved not to be the case. Whether this was because of his extremely zealous enemies or guilt is open to interpretation. In truth, both arguments are probably true to some degree.
As we approached the end of last season, his position was clearly becoming untenable as the charges mounted and his assets remained frozen. His botched handling of the Sven sacking won him few friends and ultimately he decided it best to sell up both in his and he clubs best interests as it was becoming more and more uncomfortable with him at the helm and as the club figurehead.
It shouldn't be forgotten that Thaksin's influence certainly helped to garner momentum and get the ball rolling in the direction that the new ownership group want to take the club. Of course given the new ownership groups seemingly bottomless pockets and savvy PR moves, Thaksin himself has largely been forgotten, and it is likely that the more successful the club becomes under the current ownership, the more that Thakin's brief, but eventful tenure as owner will be equally forgotten.