Date: 20th January 2009 at 4:50pm
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Manchester City FC now operates in a climate where the slightest indiscretion or issue will be blown out of all proportion. Time for club leadership and one voice…

Post the subterfuge, intrigue and unanswered questions that surrounded Kakagate, the sports hacks today leapt upon the fact that Robinho was no longer at City’s FA Cup-less Tenerife training camp.

City Chairman Garry Cook found himself not only discussing Kakagate with the BBC this morning but also fending off questions over where our star player was. He declared ‘I do know Robinho is not at the training centre in Tenerife. If he has left the training ground it is a breach of club discipline. I am waiting for a full debrief.’

Fast forward a few hours and Robinho announces that he is still happy at City and has flown to Brazil for family reasons.

‘I had made Manchester City aware that I needed to return to Brazil because of a family matter.

‘I will return to the club and hope to sort this out as soon as possible. I feel it is important to underline that I did not return to Brazil because of the Kaka deal.

‘He is one of my good friends and it would have been great to see him at Manchester City – but it had nothing to do with his decision to stay in Milan.

‘I am committed to helping Manchester City become the force the owners assured me they will become.’

So in one fell swoop, Cook revealed that as Executive Chairman he was not in full possession of the facts regarding Robinho and the players statement hints that there appears to be a communication problem surrounding the way the team operates off the park.

This obviously calls for a clear the air club statement so that Mark Hughes can get on with his efforts to pull the squad together.

If Cook and his team weren’t fully aware of how European Football is run and it’s situations manipulated then they will be now following the embarrassing Thaksin led pursuit of Ronaldhino last year and this month’s dalliance with Kaka and AC Milan’s manouevering. We could all see the Berlusconi shaped iceberg looming large this past weekend and yet it seems Cook and co didn’t.

You got the impression City were never in control of the situation. The more I consider it there is a real element of naivety about City’s decision to pursue Kaka this month, so early into the new owner’s tenure. But both Cook and Mark Hughes promised surprises in January and with hindsight, they certainly shouldn’t have.

This is now a time for regrouping and straight talking with lessons learned. The club need to make clear exactly what the situation is with Robinho and get into the practice of heading off developing mischief stories at the pass instead of playing catch up or allowing an unhealthy vacuum to develop the way it did throughout Sven-Goran Eriksson’s agonising departure.

This is the time to start dictating events, City.

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