Cook: the gift that keeps on giving
News that Manchester City CEO Garry Cook has sent an offensive email to Nedum Onuoha’s cancer-stricken mother is the latest in a very long line of gaffes from the former Nike executive. In recent times Cook, quite hilariously, has incorporated Uwe Rosler into the “Manchester United” Hall of Fame, accused AC Milan of “bottling it” when turning down City’s move for Kaká and revealed City’s transfer target list to Noel Gallagher on the back of a napkin. Classy stuff all round.
The latest gaffe has Cook (allegedly) emailing Onouha’s mother, Dr Antonia, mocking the doctor’s health. Dr Anthonia, who has represented her son throughout his fledgling career, had earlier sent Cook and City’s Director of Football Brian Marwood a message explaining that she would continue to negotiate her son’s new contract despite being “ravaged with cancer.”
“Ravaged with it!!” came Cook’s reply, addressed to “Brian”. “I don’t know how you sleep at night. You used to be such a nice man when I worked with you at Nike. G.”
Typical of the man, Cook denies sending the email, blaming instead an unnamed practical joker at the club. Dr Antonia has written to the FA and Premier League complaining about the club’s behaviour.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised though. After all, Cook, who has a habit of putting his foot in his mouth, once told us that “comedy has always been at the heart of what this club [Manchester City] is all about.” How right he was.
Cook’s best gaffes
July, 2008 – Cook proclaims City owner Thaksin Shinawatra “a nice guy to play golf with” despite the former Thai Prime Minister being indicted on charges of corruption.
“Is he a nice guy? Yes. Is he a great guy to play golf with? Yes. Has he got the finances to run a club? Yes. I really care about those three things,” said Cook, ignoring Shinawatra’s dubious human rights record when Prime Minister from 2001-2006.
“I worked at a company – Nike – where we were accused of child labour rights issues. I managed to have a career there for 15 years and I believed we were innocent of most of the issues. Morally, I felt confident in that environment. Morally, I feel comfortable in this environment.”
In February 2010 a Thai court found Shinawatra guilty on four counts corruption, seizing 50 per cent of the former Prime Ministers fortune, and freezing the rest.
January, 2009 – Cook accuses AC Milan of “bottling” a deal for Kaká when the Brazilian midfielder chose not to join Eastland’s Abu Dhabi revolution in a proposed £100 million deal.
“If you want my personal opinion they bottled it,” Cook told the BBC. “He clearly was for sale but we never got to meet with the player, the behaviour of AC Milan got in the way.”
Kaká joined Real Madrid later than summer.
November, 2009 – Cook is forced to write to 70 City fans with a grovelling apology after inducting Blue Nose legend Uwe Rosler into the City Hall of Fame with the words: “I’d like to welcome Uwe Rosler into the Manchester United Hall of Fame.” City fans were still booing Cook when Rosler stood up to accept the award. Cook fled the event early amid a volley of home-spun abuse.
January, 2010 – ahead of City’s 2010 Carling Cup semi-final against the Reds Cook boasts that City would reach Wembley “not if, but when, we beat United again”. Caught on tape at New York’s Mad Hatter Bar, Cook went on to boast that City would become the “biggest and the best” football club on the planet. United won the semi 4-3 on aggregate.
March, 2010 – Cook engages in a stand-up row with Everton supporter George Downing in the Eastland’s directors box, prompting the Merseysiders to demand a formal apology. Everton beat City 2-0, with the row starting after Downing joined in the Evertonian’s chant of “2-0 and we’ve spent fuck-all.”
July, 2010 – Cook scribbles a list of City transfer targets on a napkin for singer Noel Gallagher’s benefit ahead of the 2010 World Cup.
“I just had a big, long lunch with Garry Cook and the revelations you lot are going to hear in the next month are going to blow your mind,” claimed Gallagher.
“Garry was writing out these names on a napkin, about who was going to be in the squad. He put it down on paper, and the 24-man squad we will have will be looking to win everything next season.”
August, 2011 – Cook claims that City’s £400 million stadium sponsorship deal with Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad is “the most important arrangement in the history of football.” The airline, which is controlled by City owner Sheikh Mansour’s half-brother, will pump money into the Blues for the next 10 years. Sadly for Cook the renamed Etihad Stadium means “Unity” or “United” in Arabic.