Khaldoon Al Mubarak exclusive: What next for Man City?
He walked in right on time, his entourage just one person bigger than mine.
“Hello, I am Khaldoon,” said the warm and friendly voice to my two cameramen, offering his outstretched hand as he came to our long-awaited assembly in his enormous boardroom.
This supplies a whole lot of insight to the man who has accepted the release of a minority shareholding in the City Football Group he’s chaired since 2008 to value it. Charming, polite putting people. Nevertheless an amazing presence.
He seemed more relaxed than when we met. Manchester City was removed from the Champions League by Tottenham having a helping hand from VAR This night.
On this particular November afternoon in Manchester seven weeks afterwards, he connected up with Silver Lake in the procedure and also had only added $ 500m into the balance sheet.
Khaldoon Al Mubarak has waited 11 years to provide his first UK broadcast interview. Loads of time to choose your opportunity attentively, but also time in which to grow a company from 1 team in Manchester into a set around the world, all of which are profitable and self explanatory.
“We’re extremely excited,” he told Sky Sports. “It’s been a superb journey over the last 10 or 11 decades and I believe this transaction is really a testament to the journey which we’ve undertaken.
“When Sheikh Mansour bought the club back in 2008, he did so using an opinion this will be a profitable, sustainable business and that I think we have done that. Over the previous ten years we’ve demonstrated this thesis is true and it is right and this transaction is a further testament to this thesis”
Why Silver Lake and now? And just who are these partners that rely London, New York, Silicon Valley and Hong Kong among their bases?
“Silver Lake, I think, is a world-class investor, one of the global leaders in technology media, sports and entertainment investing. We’re thrilled to have them.
“It’s a US firm and we’ve quickly, through the discussions we have had over the past couple of weeks, come to the conclusion that we’re a good match for each other.
“I believe they add a whole lot of significance to the group, particularly as I look at the future and what we intend to do in another 10 years. I believe it is a really great marriage.”
It’s a marriage that will have Manchester City fans excited about what lies ahead and provides half a billion dollars. What exactly are the strategies for another decade?
“Well, we’ve been focusing over the previous ten years using a transparent business strategy, a clear investment plan, a clear global strategy. We’re leaders today from the soccer business worldwide.
“All these businesses are sustainable, are rewarding. Manchester City is now five years in profitability. Has been demonstrated to be a success and is seen by Silver Lake.
“We’re not taking out any money. This investment cash stays as part of our development plan for the future and stays in the group and we will proceed down the path that we have started.
“I feel this transaction is really a testament to the desire that this group has about the long run. As soon as we earn a different half a million dollars of investment into the group and when we commit to maintain that investment and not take any of that, I think that in itself tells you how we view investing and how we view the future”
Pep Guardiola’s presence has been integral to the on-field success of Manchester City, guiding the team to successive Premier League titles, and at the top of the club there is.
“I believe in Pep we have a leader that has shown again and again his ability to continuously evolve and challenge and we’ve been in this place not once but several times before and we’ve shown the personality constantly consistently to return,” Mubarak says.
“This group is a special team. I think what’s been realized, of the last two seasons to become particular, is special. 198 points over two seasons. Back-to-back Premier League names. Four trophies last year.
“This team has shown again and again that you cannot write off them. This really is a dedicated team, a disciplined team, a hardworking team with an exceptional manager.”
It stems from the feeling that Guardiola could leave before long, When there is hope for the competitions of Manchester City. After four seasons with Barcelona and three together with Bayern Munich, he is already into his fourth effort with the club. Is he here for the long haul?
“You understand Pep is an extraordinary asset to this organisation. We can talk about his accomplishments for hours. As an individual, as a friend, he has been a core part of what we’ve accomplished here over the last few years, However, I think as a person.
“He’s very dedicated. We are committed to him. You’ve seen his interview. We’ve got a wonderful relationship. We have a fantastic environment here.
“The people around him, the group we have in place now, the relationships I have together, this is really an environment that is conducive to success for both him and everybody else involved in this business enterprise. So I’m very satisfied with his commitment and our dedication to him and I’m looking forward to the joys of this for years ahead.
“Pep’s achievements I believe, no doubt, are essential. I think what we’ve accomplished during the past couple of years is impressive. And that’s had, I believe, an effect that is overwhelming . However, I believe Pep will be the first person to state that this is a group effort.”
On the pitch, few have contributed over the England forward’s expansion and Raheem Sterling since his arrival in Liverpool in the summer of 2015 is a specific source of gratification.
“I’m very proud of what Raheem has done during the last couple of years. His development as a player, but more importantly as a person, I believe, has been exceptional,” says Mubarak.
“He’s become a leader both on and off the pitch. At England serving his country, he has become a leader in this squad at Manchester City, he’s turning into a leader. And I think he has been a leader locally.
“I’m so very happy for him because I believe he is a superb young guy and I think his gift, listen, there is one thing I am convinced of – Raheem is only going to improve and just likely to rise as both a player and a leader thus the future is extremely bright for Raheem and it’s a joy to have him a part of our team.”
The acquisition of others and Sterling hasn’t been without controversy. This remarkable growth goes against the background of an UEFA investigation that is ongoing. It’s alleged that Financial Fair Play regulations have been circumvented, an allegation that City have refused. The issue would be put to him.
“I think our stance on this is quite clear. And we’ve made it explicit within the previous few months. And given that a process underway is it’s quite important for me to respect the process. Therefore I think that it is not suitable for me to comment besides we’re respecting the procedure and we’re going through the measures.”
So is he sure that the club will be cleared?
“My position has been consistent on this and also on the record and apparent.”
Is the strategy to overhaul Manchester United in Addition to on it?
“I am really only focused about what we do,” Mubarak responds. “And what we’re doing is building a sustainable business that continues to grow and has been successful both on and off the pitch. And I look at what we’ve achieved over the previous 10 years as a benchmark to assemble for another 10 years across the board in each and every club which we have spent”
Clubs might be on the way.
“When we look at development we look at three main markets: United States, China and India. And we have invested as you know, in New York, and that’s our US presence in MLS. We have spent in China and certainly India is the upcoming major market that we’d like to have a place in.
“You have seen what we have achieved over that previous 10 decades. You have seen how we have grown. I believe we will always examine the right opportunities and grow in the right way, in a sustainable way and in a rewarding way for your team.”
This global domination has not happened by accident. There’s a strategy, a very clear strategy, a objective that is very clear. And apparent blessings in Khaldoon’s evaluation of the name of City chances this year with City Football Group aims to be the industry leader in soccer.
“it is an obstacle. But we are up for this.”