One of the questions arising out of the freeze on Thaksin’s Thai bank accounts is the effect it may have on his bid for the Manchester City football club. In the UK this is an issue that some are watching with considerable interest. I received the following comments on the bid from a UK “political scientist and a supporter of the Manchester City football team.”
As to the Man City deal, right now everyone is basically waiting to see whether the deal actually goes through, I’m quite skeptical it will happen. A few years ago Thaksin did make lots of noise about trying to buy Liverpool FC but it didn’t happen and it’s not clear that he has the cash available to make the deal happen. Manchester City fans are on the whole from what I can tell somewhat open to this happening, but there is a large minority of fans who are opposed because of the human rights issues or because of worries about his continuing legal entanglements. A good summary of that point of view can be found in the Guardian.
It’s been quite fascinating following the Internet discussions among the City fans about this, especially since several Thai fans are weighing in. The way the discourse usually goes is like this:
UK based fan A: This guy is going to pump money into our club-hurray!
UK based fan B: But this guy has kind of a dodgy human rights record, right?
UK based fan C: Those are just allegations by the coup plotters.
Bangkok based fan A: No, they’re not.
UK based fan D: But I think Thaksin is popular among the poor and would win again.
Bangkok based fan B: That’s right.
Bangkok based fan A: No it’s not, he’s popularity has gone way down, he’s just a fake populist who gives crumbs to the poor to consolidate his own political control.
UK based fan E: I want to talk about football, not Thai politics.
New Mandala is happy to talk about both, and would welcome any information or thoughts on the Manchester City bid.