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Sunday, February 01, 2009



Money can't buy honour and reputation - as City and Garry Cook have discovered

ROBINHO WILL celebrate his 25th birthday today. Where he will do it is anybody's guess.

Wherever he fancies, I suppose. Wherever the private jet takes him. And tomorrow, or Tuesday, or Wednesday - or whenever he can make it - the Brazilian will be disciplined by Mark Hughes.

There was a time when being disciplined by Mark Hughes might have had fearful ramifications.But not this time.A fine of two weeks' wages seems the most likely punishment.

Tough to you and me. To a man who can pick up his mobile and summon a private jet to take him halfway around the world whenever he wants - as though he was ordering a cab from the local private hire firm - it won't even register.

Two hundred grand gaffer? Cash or cheque?

At times, Robinho's dazzling talent and toothpaste smile have illuminated this season. And without his contribution - he has scored in four of their five Premier League victories - City might have been in deeper trouble.

But the manner in which he has undermined Hughes is unforgivable.

Back in November, Robinho was made skipper for the game at Hull City. After the 2-2 draw, Hughes said this: "I thought the armband was something that he deserved and that he relished. Who knows if he is long-term captain material?"

Well, you do now Mark. Leadership is not leaving your team-mates sweating in a training camp while you swan off to Santos. Whatever your reasons.

As Hughes scoured Tenerife for a missing £33million footballer, he might have missed the Garry Cook car crash. Let's hope so.

What do you think? Leave your comments below

For a man who was supposedly the mastermind behind Nike's marketing of Michael Jordan, he acts remarkably like David Brent ... only dangerous.

Leave aside the fact that his 'bottled it' jibe has insulted one of Europe's greatest clubs.

See if you can make sense of these ramblings from City's chief executive: "The agenda we thought we were on was about Kaka coming on a journey with this club but at the end the only journey they were on was a fiscal one.

"We'll continue on our journey but he won't be a part of it.

"His father said he was very interested in the project and we talked about humanitarian potential factors but when we got into discussions those issues took a back seat and financial demands came to the fore."

KAKA - reputation and honour

The journey? The project? Robinho might know all about journeys - usually ones back to Brazil - but Hughes must be wondering what on earth Cook is going on about.

Hughes's project is to win football matches. Always has been. But concentrating on that task can be difficult if your star player is flouncing home in a huff and your chief executive is holding up your club for ridicule.

Across Europe, major clubs - ones with whom City might hope to deal - would have been listening to Cook and wondering what sort of outfit Hughes is in charge of. Or if he is in charge.

Hughes has had enough votes of confidence to last him a managerial lifetime. What he needs now is guarantees.

A guarantee that he can deal with Robinho as he sees fit. If that means sending him on his bike at the end of the season because no one player can be more important than the team ethic, then so be it.

A guarantee that Cook will no longer come across as the man in charge of City's future. That man should be Hughes, in the manner in which Sir Alex Ferguson is the guardian of United's future. If that means Garry getting on his bike, then so be it.

And if neither of those guarantees are given, he should resign.

Resign from a job that gives you unlimited spending power in the transfer market? From a position that brings huge personal wealth? Even in City's world, it seems like madness.

After all, if he gets the sack at the end of the season, Hughes will pocket an enormous compensation cheque.

But unless he is allowed to restore his complete authority at the club, then his reputation and honour will be eroded.

And as Kaka demonstrated to Mr Cook, reputation and honour are things that even the most grotesque amounts of money can't buy.

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