And let’s get the point clear straight away. Etihad translated from Arabic to English as union. So all of you United fans who still haven’t managed to understand that point yet and are having a little giggle about the thought of City’s ground being called the ‘United’ stadium, stop it, you’re just plain wrong (or plain stupid as the case may be).
Anyway back to business. It is believed to be the largest deal of its kind to date, estimated to be worth between £100m - £150m over the next 10 years. It will therefore provide City with between £10m - £15m each year for the term of the contract.
Manchester City Council is also set to benefit from this deal, making them £20m over the next 5 years. Manchester council leader, Sir Richard Leese, said: "The relationship between Etihad Airways and Manchester City Football Club further supports Manchester’s international profile and global connectivity and the city’s ability to attract leading brands to invest and create job opportunities. It is great news for Manchester, reinforcing our sporting, transport and economic growth priorities and is particularly welcome news for east Manchester.”
Charles Johnston, Property Director at Sport England, has also added: "This announcement is positive for grassroots sport and people in Manchester. The re-negotiated stadium agreement will generate further investment in community sport and sports facilities in the local area.”
Despite all the positive comments from members of the council and Sport England there have been initial calls by certain areas of the press suggesting Uefa investigate the legitimacy of the deal. But The City hierarchy aren’t concerned in the slightest about this as they feel the nature of the deal is at market value and falls neatly within the regulations set in the new Financial Fair Play Rules.
Cook also added: "We are delighted to be expanding our relationship with Etihad Airways through this comprehensive partnership agreement. Most importantly, in addition to delivering significant revenue at a key stage in the Club's evolution, the agreement creates exciting opportunities for our two organisations to cooperate more deeply commercially and on media and community initiatives in the future."
It appears as a part of, or aside to this deal Etihad are said to be increasing content, match day coverage and DVD material on all Etihad in-flight entertainment and website. This in turn will increase the profile and appeal of the Manchester City brand and could generate extra merchandise sales.
I think we can rest easy tonight, safe in the knowledge that today the club has taken a serious step in ensuring the financial viability and stability of our beloved club. Let’s not forget, in doing so it has also got right up the noses of the prawn sandwich brigade provoking large sums of jealous fury at the thought of ‘ickle Citeh’ growing ever more powerful. Nice.