Wednesday 21 February 2018

Manchester City launches probe after sick cancer email

Garry Cook is being investigated by representatives of Sheikh Mansour for whom the email is a source of profound embarrassment. Photo: Getty Images
Garry Cook is being investigated by representatives of Sheikh Mansour for whom the email is a source of profound embarrassment. Photo: Getty Images reporters

Manchester City's board has launched an investigation into allegations chief executive Garry Cook sent an offensive email to the mother and agent of defender Nedum Onuoha.

"Following allegations made to the football club by Dr Anthonia Onuoha, subsequently reported in today's media, the Club can confirm that a board led review has been launched into the matter," the club said in a statement.

Mr Cook is struggling to hold on to his job as Manchester City’s Abu Dhabi owners sought answers about an email sent from his account to the mother of a player mocking her fight against cancer.

Cook's claim, to Dr Anthonia Onuoha – the mother of defender Nedum Onuoha - that a member of City's staff had hacked into his email account on his iPad and sent the message as a joke, is being subjected to stringent investigation by representatives of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, for whom the offensive email is a source of profound embarrassment.

The owners – whose attempts to make contact with Cook have been complicated by his presence in Portland, Oregon, with his American wife – want to know that Cook has not attempted to cover up an offensive email.

The club confirmed in a statement last night that a "board review" into the incident had been launched. The review is expected to be brief but the prospects for Cook do not look good. A defence of the chief executive was conspicuous by its absence last night, more than 24 hours after City had become aware that the excruciating email, which was intended for Brian Marwood, City's football administrator, had been made public – nearly a year after it was sent.

Despite a series of high-profile gaffes, Cook had retained the support of his chairman, Khaldoon al-Mubarak, and is considered by the sheikh's representatives to be something of a commercial visionary with an ability to apply untried methods to football, imported from the Nike corporation where he first worked with Marwood.

But Cook's £1.5m-plus position will be considerably graver if he cannot demonstrate that he has not compounded an initial defence with a deceit. By his version of events, related via Dr Onuoha, someone would have had to have hacked into his computer and presumably discovered her email to him before sending a reply, addressed "Brian", to Dr Onuoha instead.

Cook's position had been under no threat until details of emails to and from Onuoha's mother, who has a doctorate in environmental sciences, emerged. She said in an email to Cook and Marwood last October that, although her body was "ravaged with cancer and ongoing chemotherapy", she still had her wits about her to argue Nedum's case.

Two weeks later, she received the email addressed to "Brian", sent from Cook's address, which stated: "Ravaged with it!!......I don't now how you sleep at night. You used to be such a nice man when I worked with you at nike. G." Though Dr Onuoha demanded yesterday that the FA or the Premier League intervene, both organisations consider this to be an issue for her and the club to resolve.

Independent News Service

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