Ever since Manchester City were taken over by the Abu Dhabi Royal Family there has been a lazy argument claiming that they have no interest in the club, the City or even football. Anyone willing to do a little bit of research however would have learnt that there was nothing in those arguments whatsoever, and the announcement coming from the club today will go a long way to putting that silly argument to bed.
The club are hoping to create the best training facilities in the world for their first team, but also the best youth training facilities as well. The remit of the development however goes further than just the game, one of the cornerstones of the plans is to aid the redevelopment and rejuvenation of one of the most deprived areas of Manchester, the needs and the thoughts of the local people are extremely high on the list of priorities.
The focus however is on so much more than football, and whilst this is a football site I think it is important to not forget about the bigger picture, the club will be creating 160 construction jobs and 90 permanent jobs, 80% of which will be earmarked for local people, that is as well as a new 6th form college that will be part of the newly formed Etihad campus. Local infrastructure will be greatly improved with the construction of 2 new metrolink stations and the environmental impact is clearly wonderful with this old brownfield site being totally transformed. What is currently an eye sore is going to become one of the best facilities of its kind in the world. The planting of tree's and hedging will ensure the site improves the aesthetics of the local area and this thinking is partly responsible for the huge positive feedback that the club has received.
People who raised question marks over the figure that Etihad have put into the club have clearly lost sight of the bigger picture, the sponsorship deal covers not just the stadium but also this forward thinking and impressive development centre. There are clearly not just benefits here for the club but also the community that live around the site, anyone still questioning the mindset of our owners will now have to find something else to moan about because the notion of them getting bored and walking away at this point seems totally laughable. The full scale ideas and thoughts behind the scheme can be seen here, hopefully any doubters can now be put in their place, Sheikh Mansour losing interest after a couple of years? Do me a favour...