The purchase of Melbourne Heart by Manchester City is the latest and arguably strongest evidence yet of the growing profile and reputation of the Hyundai A-League.
The purchase of Melbourne Heart by world football powerhouse Manchester City is the latest and arguably strongest evidence yet of the growing profile and reputation of the Hyundai A-League.
With the announcement of the 2012 English Premier League champions together with NRL club Melbourne Storm (who will take up a 20 per cent stake) snapping up the Heart, it is appropriate to reinforce the enormity of the Hyundai A-League-s newest suitors from the blue side of Manchester.
Owned by Abu Dhabi United Group, Manchester City is widely regarded as one of the richest clubs in the world. While Manchester City-s chief owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan might not ring a bell for most Australian sport and football fans, one just has to mention names such as Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri, Yaya Toure and Joe Hart to give an indication of the magnitude of City-s standing in world football circles. Throw in 25 major trophies, including their drought breaking Premier League title, and it is clear why the news of ‘The Citizens- coming in to take over Melbourne Heart is so significant.
Considering Melbourne Heart-s present position at the foot of the ladder, it is also relevant to note the massive turn around City has made from both an on field and off field perspective.
In 1998 Manchester City sunk down to England-s third tier and while a splurge in acquiring a host of world class players courtesy of the deep pockets of some heavy investors may have contributed, the hard work done off the field cannot be underestimated in the club-s current position and its lofty ambitions going forward.
Certainly, City sees its first footprint onto Australian shores as the latest in its growing presence around the globe, which includes its establishment of New York City Football Club in May last year.
“The first thing we must do is take the time to listen and learn and then to develop our strategy for strengthening the Club over time,” City CEO Ferran Soriano stated in his official statement of the purchase of the Heart.
Going by Soriano-s comments, it is clear the club sees its entry into the Australian football landscape as a lengthy investment and one which augurs well for the growing strength of Melbourne Heart, the Hyundai A-League and football in Australia.