News: Ex-Thai Prime Minister makes proposal for Manchester City (PA SportsTicker)

Discussion in 'Yahoo: World Soccer' started by BigSoccer Bot, May 1, 2007.

  1. BigSoccer Bot

    BigSoccer Bot I am not real.

    Feb 25, 2005
    Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has made an "indicative proposal" in his bid to buy Manchester City.

  2. sucatash

    sucatash New Member

    May 7, 2007
    Will Thaksin's penchant for fanfare and hubris be City's undoing?

    It is nearly a year and a half ago since deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had every reason to tell himself he was on top of the world while basking in the publicity during his so-called "reality show". This was a time when this highly self-publicised political leader had the luxury of having his every move and word covered live and uninterrupted for a full five days on Thai television.

    Without doubt, it was a huge publicity coup and, regardless of its substance, Thaksin succeeded in using it to portray himself as a leader who has the suffering of the rural poor at heart. And if Thaksin's hidden agenda was to use the event to divert attention from more pressing issues as alleged by critics, he pulled it off brilliantly.

    Among various nagging questions during this week of fantasy politics, it allowed him to avoid answering questions about the pending tax-free billion pound sell-off of his family's shares in Shin Corp to Singapore's Temasek Holdings and charges of corruption and conflict of interest that had been increasingly hurled at him and his administration.

    This was to be the beginning of the end for Thaksin as the middle-class in Bangkok took to the streets in mass rallies to oust him over the deal. Only months later did they have their way when the military stepped in a swept him and his party out of power. If only his self-styled sense of hubris been open to the suggestion to give back some of the profit to the people he would probably still be the hero that he was perceived to be in the provinces at the time.

    The "show" is best remembered for its theatrical effects, particularly Thaksin's handing out wads of cash to villagers and his instructive approach in dealing with their plight. Indeed, at times, his approach veered to be on the verge of sleight-of-hand trickery when, for instance, if a villager went to him to complain about being poor, Thaksin dug deep into his
    pockets and produced a few banknotes. The pathetic sight of dozens of students turning up to greet him in tattered uniforms prompted Thaksin to hand out yet another bundle of cold cash.

    The causes of poverty in Thailand are many and deep-rooted and, undeniably, corruption among bureaucrats and politicians is a major one, and the then Thaksin administration's emphasis on domestic spending to stimulate the economy through easy loans and village funds contributed greatly to the increasing levels of indebtedness among the very citizens he was trying to help.

    Substance-wise, his "show" was merely an extension of these political feats, the only difference being the spectacular publicity it generated, thanks in general to the ingenuity of Thaksin's PR machine. It was said at the time that the biggest danger is that Thaksin himself seemed to believe in his own publicity and one might judge this pre-performance as the perfect
    preparation for the Premiership.

    Fast-forward to 2007, following the exiled Thaksin being seen off in a military coup six months earlier, in Manchester. The board are currently appraising the former Thai prime minister's suitability as a potential owner in an environment where top-flight English football clubs provide the platform for the high-profile lives of compromised plutocrats. And at a time when
    the interim Thai government weighs up whether or not to prosecute him and his wife on criminal and corruption charges, with Amnesty International following closely behind in condemning his human rights record.

    One "Blue" supporter in Bangkok voiced a tongue-in-cheek concern that the ousted Thai leader could barricade the stadium and order fans shot if they booed the team after a poor performance. But regardless of the rumours and reactions, Thaksin owning a British football club is an idea that is pregnant with doubts, especially following his unsuccessful bids for Fulham and
    then Liverpool.

    It is interesting that the Liverpool bid was first to be financed personally, then by the lottery, which is illegal in Thailand, and then by the very poor Thai farmers he was seeking to help in his politically-biased reality show. Again, everyone is being left to wonder about his possible motives. He already appears on global news networks and this bid is also a great opportunity for Thaksin to have spats with the likes of Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho to raise his profile further.

    It is widely acknowledged in Thailand that he is as slippery with his tongue as is with his business affairs. Perhaps it has become fashionable to speak of English football clubs as "toys", but while Thaksin's accountants are looking through City's accounts as part of the process of due diligence - something that was forcefully neglected when it came to the financing of Thai mega-projects in which corruption was rife - this profile-happy buccaneer will be able to provide the money in which to provide a fanfare of controversy, but with it comes the warning signs of a personality bound up in his own hubris.

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