Thaksin Shinawatra asks players to bow
EXCLUSIVE BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
By Simon Mullock 4/05/2008
Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra has hit the club with another shock by asking for the players to bow to him Thai-style before each game.
Sunday Mirror Sport revealed three weeks ago that Shinawatra's relationship with manager Sven Goran Eriksson was at breaking point.
And the former England coach will be sacked at the end of the season, despite being less than 12 months into a three-year contract.
Shinawatra aims to placate fans by bringing in Phil Scolari after the Brazilian's contract with Portugal expires after Euro 2008.
But officials at the Eastlands club have been worried for some time by requests from Shinawatra - and his latest is for the team to bow towards him after performing their pre-kick-off sporting handshake with the opposition.
Bowing is a traditional mark of respect in Shinawatra's native Thailand. But some at City see this as another example of how the former Thai Prime Minister is turning the club into his personal dictatorship.
A City insider said: "At first we thought it was a joke, but the owner was serious about the players paying their respects. It's just not going to happen."
Shinawatra is preparing to sack Eriksson against the wishes of all the high-ranking officials he retained at the club when he took over last summer.
Former chairman John Wardle, chief executive Alistair Mackintosh and legal expert Bryan Bodek could follow Eriksson out.
City fans are furious about Shinawatra's treatment of Eriksson - and some have demanded season ticket refunds after the Swede issued a personal plea on marketing material urging supporters to renew.