'Thaksin has 10-year plan for City,' says chairman

It has rained mixed messages at Manchester City this summer and the confusion showed no sign of drying up yesterday when the executive chairman, Garry Cook, said that Thaksin Shinawatra remains committed to the club and has no intention of selling up. Cook's take on the Thai's stance contradicts his comments last week when he said that Thaksin had offered to resign as a director.

Thaksin's decision to seek refuge in England after refusing to return to Thailand where he faces corruption charges has led to speculation about the extent of his financial muscle. However, Cook claims the former Thailand prime minister is not looking for a buyer for City. "When these things get thrown at you, you actually try that much harder," Cook said. "He [Thaksin] is even more adamant now, because this is his love, and he wants to show people he is really committed. I asked the question as well as everyone else: 'is the club for sale?' and he is quite adamant this club is not for sale and he is here for the long haul.

"I asked 'why did you buy it?'. He said he bought it because there is a 10-year plan."

With Thaksin and members of his family looking on, City claimed a 3-0 victory against West Ham United thanks to a double from Elano after Daniel Sturridge had made the breakthrough.

The manager Mark Hughes said: "This was a big win for us. Irrespective of the fact West Ham went down to 10 men [Mark Noble was sent off] so early I felt we were in control.

"There was a real determination in our play and a willingness to ask questions of the opposition. It was a good all-round performance and once we got our noses in front there was only going to be one winner."

Meanwhile, Micah Richards was released from hospital late on Sunday following a sickening aerial collision with his City team-mate Tal Ben Haim. The England defender was left concussed after the clash a minute into the second half but fears about a neck injury have been allayed after a scan. Richards, who was treated on the pitch for eight minutes before regaining consciousness in the tunnel, will now be regularly checked by doctors over the next few days. However he looks certain to miss the Uefa Cup match against FC Midtjylland in Denmark on Thursday when City are aiming to overturn a 1-0 deficit.

City regrouped against West Ham with new recruit Vincent Kompany moving seamlessly into defence from midfield. Hughes took time out to praise the Belgium international and said: "I knew he was a good player and you saw that as well. You always hope that when you introduce someone who hasn't plied their trade in the Premier League they will make an instant impact. Vincent has presence, an understanding of the game and he recognises danger when those situations occur. He nips these things in the bud. He has the flexibility I like in players and the ability to play in a number of positions. His performance was key to our victory."

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