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Manchester City’s previous owner freed from detention after 15 years



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Thaksin Shinawatra, the convicted former prime minister of Thailand and Manchester City’s previous owner, has been freed from detention.

Shinawatra became the owner of Manchester City in June 2007 for just £81.6 million, and became popular with the now Etihad club’s supporter base who nicknamed him “Frank” following his appointment of Sven-Göran Eriksson as manager and signing prominent players.

However, relations between manager and owner became fractured, with Eriksson later critical of Shinawatra’s running of Manchester City, saying “He didn’t understand football – he hadn’t a clue.”

Ultimately, Shinawatra’s sale of the club in September 2008 sparked a revolutionary era in east Manchester, with the Thai businessman selling the Premier League side to investors from Abu Dhabi United Group for a reported £200 million.

Now, as confirmed by Sky News, Manchester City’s former owner Thaksin Shinawatra has been freed from detention after spending six months in a police hospital, with the now 74-year-old billionaire enjoying his first day of freedom in Thailand for 15 years.

The convicted former prime minister of Thailand, who was freed on parole on Sunday, has spent most of that time in self-imposed exile to escape jail, and did not spend a single night in prison after complaining of health problems.

Things could have been very different for Manchester City and their links to Thaksin Shinawatra however, with reports prior to his purchase of the club linking him with investment in other teams in the division.

As prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra is claimed to have had unsuccessfully sought to buy the likes of Fulham and later Liverpool, in what critics claimed was a publicity stunt in response to political problems in Thailand.