Wardle ready to stand aside if Man City takeover talks succeed

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Manchester City's John Wardle explained yesterday why he would be willing to step down as chairman if £75m takeover talks came to fruition. City were unwilling, for confidentiality reasons, to talk about the potential bidder, although their ongoing expansion plans in the Far East, especially Thailand and China, would make it no surprise if the party concerned had interests in Asia.

"Hopefully, something comes of these talks because I would be prepared to pass the baton on if it allowed the club to get back into the honours," Wardle, 62, a lifelong City fan, told the club's annual general meeting yesterday.

"The board are aware that we need further investment to maintain our challenge in an increasingly competitive and high-finance Premier League.

"With the new TV deal commencing next season, we are all conscious of the importance of the current campaign. We would welcome the arrival of anyone who could take the club forward with open arms."

City's chief executive, Alistair Mackintosh, said."A lot of opportunities have been brought to the table."