City sold me behind my back, says Dunne

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The Independent Online

Richard Dunne has launched a stinging outburst at Manchester City claiming that their executive chairman Garry Cook broke personal agreements and conspired to sell the defender behind his back.

The former City captain, who joined Aston Villa earlier this week, says that manager Mark Hughes did not want him to go but was told that the money was needed to balance the books. Dunne believes that Cook is only interested in marquee signings, and effectively forced him out of the club.

"Garry Cook has come in and he doesn't really understand football," said Dunne, who was speaking before flying to Cyprus with the Republic of Ireland squad for tomorrow's World Cup qualifier in Nicosia.

"All he wants is big money players. He doesn't understand the core, the loyalty of the club and where it begins. For him, I was probably a bit of a nuisance.

"There were a hell of a lot of things going on throughout the summer and from the day after the Bulgaria game [in June] I was getting phone calls from people saying Garry Cook has been trying to sell me behind my back – two months after me going to him and saying if he has any problems to come and deal with me. I'm not a baby, I'm not going to cry just because the club want to sell me. Just don't do it behind my back.

"They told me they have a certain amount of money that they have to recoup each season to make things look better on the books. I could understand if I was getting sold for £200m – it might make sense."

Dunne's transfer to Villa was delayed due to protracted negotiations surrounding a testimonial he says he was promised – the centre-half would have spent a decade at City if he had stayed until next year.

"A year ago [when Dunne signed a new contract] Garry Cook was part of the negotiations. He promised me a testimonial and three days ago he turned around and told me there wouldn't be a testimonial – if I was staying I wouldn't be entitled to one."

Manchester City refused to comment publicly, but it is understood they dispute Dunne's claim that he was promised a testimonial. They also argue that they compensated Dunne adequately by giving him a £600,000 golden handshake and agreeing to reduce the transfer fee with Villa down from £6m to £4.8m.

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