‘Unacceptable’. The words of Sir Alex Ferguson to describe the manner in which Mark Hughes has been treated by Manchester City.
Sitting through the 4-3 Sunderland game at Eastlands, knowing that rumours were growing like wild-fire, about his impending sacking.
Of course, it will all be forgotten about soon enough. But the way in which the Hughes sacking has remained a news story, is a reflection of the unfortunate way the City executive have gone about their business.
It has to be asked then, as to what are the Core Values that govern the behaviour of all at Eastlands? Values that are known of, agreed to, acknowledged, confirmed consistently by behaviour and attitude.
Maybe they have them, but they are no more than mere words on paper. Devoid of a process to monitor them; weigh them in the balances of daily action; survey and refine them.
Sure the decision to axe Hughes is action-orientated. But the manner in which it has been done, lacks openness. Lacks honesty. Lacks trust.
Roberto Mancini may deliver the top four finish, sought after by the owners. But unless they address the issue of executive behaviour and values, City will struggle to become a world-class club.
For world-class is a measure of behaviour off the field, as much as on it. And money alone cannot create an organisation based on the values of Trust, Openess and Honesty. It has to be worked for. Everyday. Every week. Every season.
It can be done. But it needs to be done deliberately so. City haven’t come out of the Hughes sacking well. But they can and must learn the lessons from this sorry saga.