Manchester City Football Club now has a new board, according to documents filed at Companies House on Friday.
Six Thai directors - Thaksin Shinawatra, his daughter Pintongta, son Panthongtae, sister Yingluck, Sasin Monvoisin and Worawi Makudi, president of the Thailand FA - have now quit the board. Bryan Bodek, who joined the board in 2000 after BSkyB bought a 9.95% stake, also leaves.
Khaldoon Al Mubarak has been officially confirmed as Chairman while Simon Pearce, the director of strategic communications for Abu Dhabi's Executive Affairs Authority, becomes a director as had been predicted.
But the most interesting appointment is American property lawyer Martin L. Edelman, who becomes a director. Described by New York property magazine, The Real Deal, as 'one of the top real estate attorneys in the city', Edelman (pictured) specialises in complex multi-million pound property transactions, including institutional and international joint ventures.
The appointment is the strongest indication yet that our new owners have major plans to redevelop the 38-acre Sportcity site. Shortly after the takeover was announced last month, the the MEN revealed that the City Council were looking for developers to bankroll a £300m redevelopment of the site. The Council also issued a prior information notice for the project, which described its plans for a 'visitor destination attraction of national or international significance'. The Council hopes the development 'will be internationally distinctive in content and scale' as well as offering 'a cultural and educational experience that caters for a wide consumer audience.'
It's possible that negotiations between the club and the Council are already at an advanced stage. The prior information notice is a legal requirement under European Union law (rather like a firm having to advertise a job vacancy even if it's going to filled internally), so doesn't necessarily mean the Council are actively looking for other bidders. Meetings have already taken place between City and the Council, and Council chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein recently revealed that another meeting with City's new owner Sheikh Mansour is 'scheduled for the next few weeks'.
According to this weekend's Sunday Mirror, the club are hoping to buy CoMS and the surrounding area, but Edelman's expertise at arranging joint ventures, and the Council's known reluctance to sell the land and stadium, suggests that a deal involving joint ownership is looking more likely at this stage.
City's top bananas: Cook, Mubarak and Pearce at the Portsmouth game
~ For an idea of what a redeveloped Sportcity might look like, this site has some interesting pictures of new developments in the UAE, including the Dubai Sport City.
~ A part of City history came to an end last week when club secretary Bernard Halford left his job after 35 years at the club. So far the news has not been announced on the official site, but hopefully they'll see fit to write some sort of tribute to the man dubbed 'Mr Manchester City'.
His departure also makes me wonder who the longest serving City employee currently is. If anyone knows please drop me a line.