Frances Bula header image 2

Gregor Robertson closes deal for Man City to do show match in Vancouver

April 1st, 2010 · 36 Comments


There was a scary moment last week for sports fans when it looked like Vancouver wasn’t going to get the UFC. Now that seems to be on.

And sports fans have something else to celebrate: We will be getting Manchester City FC, my sources at city hall tell me. The scuttlebutt is that English Premier League club, just down the road from the far more successful Manchester United, is thinking of staging several games of its 2012-13 season in BC Place Stadium.

Our footie-loving mayor was over in Manchester on the weekend, finalizing a deal he’s been working on since coming to Cambie and 12th. His dream finally came together due to a confluence of factors.

ManCity’s pitch at Manchester City Stadium is slated for repairs in the year when the newly-rennovated BC Place will be open for action.

The broad outline of the deal was put together in London a few months ago when condo king power-broker Bob Rennie met at the Tate Modern cafeteria with friends in the Abu Dhabi United Group, who bought the club in 2008 from Thai mogul Thaksin Shinawatra. Rennie got on the phone with Mike Magee, Joel Solomon and Rich Coleman in Victoria – and Bob’s Your Uncle.

Gregor apparently also had some help from his green buddy-billionaire Richard Branson, a City fan.

A final key factor was Shinawatra’s departure from the club’s ownership group. It was felt that the presence of the deposed former Thai prime minister, who was accused of corruption and abuse of power, could anger Gregor’s left-wing base around Commerical Drive and undercut the fragile coalition he needs for re-election.

Anyway, Man City was so delighted with the new arrangement that they allowed Robertson to participate with the club in the warm-up before its weekend game against rival Wigan.

An old Vancouver Sun photographer-buddy of mine, Gareth Barry, sent me some photos of the mayor wearing the Manchester jersey on the pitch.

Gregor Robertson/Manchester City

Gregor Robertson/Manchester City

Categories: Uncategorized