back to article Man City boss quits over cancer email

Manchester City chief executive Garry Cook has resigned over allegations he sent an offensive email that made light of a cancer sufferer's plight. The email, meant for City's director of football Brian Marwood, reached Dr Anthonia Onuoha, the mother of City defender Nedum Onuoha at a time she was both recovering from cancer …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow, thought Royal Mail were bad.

    The email returned to embarrass the club 10 months after it was sent when Dr Onuoha went to The Sun to tell the paper of her hurt and distress...

    That was one slow response!

    And as for " it was the worst day of my life", I would of thought being told you had cancer or under going Chemo may of been worse, but who am I to say...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "I would HAVE thought being told you had cancer or under going Chemo may HAVE been worse, but who am I to say...?"

      I give up.

  2. Tim Jenkins

    PEBKAC as usual

    or perhaps it was evil h4x0rS who caused him to misunderstand the meaning of 'reply to all'...

  3. Ralthor

    Went to the sun....

    .... nuff said.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wait! Let me guess!

    When you are talking about "Manchester City chief executive Garry Cook" you are actually talking about an executive of a soccer club - or as you benightedly and erroneously call it, a "football club" - and not a civil servant of the City of Manchester itself, right?

    You people need to learn how to speak your native tongue, which, by the way, is properly called "the American language".

    Anonymous - just 'cos!

    1. Ancient Oracle funkie

      It's at times like this that you really need a troll icon!!!

      1. Ben 42

        Troll icon

        There is one. ;-)

        Unless that was some sort of meta-troll to elicit just such a response, in which case I can only congratulate you on a smashing success :-)

  5. Anonymous Coward 101


    The major stupidity in this wasn't the sending of the email but the pitiful attempt to blame it on hackers. Many commentators believe that if he apologised for this email he would have kept his job, noting that Dr Onuoha hasn't behaved impeccably either. The fact that he blamed it on hackers cost him his job - and really he was fundamentally thick if he thought that explanation would not be found out.

  6. kns2c

    I'm probably missing some context here but could someone please elaborate on what exactly was so offensive about that e-mail?

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      I think I got it

      After re-reading that again and again I think I finally got it; she must have used her illness as a bargaining tool in the first e-mail, which would make Cook's remark sound a bit like "Someone call her a WHAAAAmbulance". Might want to check the "To" field when you do that, mate. Although I doubt that Onuoha is so poor as to be unable to hire an agent if his mother is too ill to do the bargaining, so using that as an emotional lever in the bartering was very uncalled for. And the "going to the mail with it when negociations fail" is really, really bad taste, too. Especially with comments like "worst day of my life". This basically means "cancer is nothing, if Cook never made snarky comments about you then you've never seen 'rough' ", which some cancer patients might find somewhat more offensive than Cooks email.

  7. Will 28

    I don't understand

    What does that email even mean? It just seems to be 3 totally unrelated sentences. Who "used to be such a nice man"? The person complaining is a woman. I'm obviously missing something because everyone is making such a fuss. Could someone take a second to explain what he's saying?

    1. A. Coatsworth Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Me neither

      I read and re-read the letter and honestly can't even understand what the guy tried to say, much less how it offends Dr. Onuoha...

    2. Annihilator
      Paris Hilton

      I'm with you

      Add me to the list of not understanding a) the email, b) what was so offensive about it (though I understand it was sent last year, and it's only since the contract negotiation tailed off that she released it to the press) and c) what on earth could be said that would be more upsetting than being given the initial diagnosis??

      Utterly baffled..

      1. yoinkster

        I think it's fairly simple. Garry and Brian are doing negotiations with a player's agent, in this case Dr Onuoha. She's trying to get a better deal for her client, in this case her son. In an attempt to extract higher wages she cries that she has cancer. In reposnse, Garry writes to his co-negotiator Brian, director of football, and says

        "Ravaged with it!! ... I don't know how you sleep at night. You used to be such a nice man when I worked with you at Nike. G."

        Meaning: She has cancer and here we are not giving her son millions a week, how do you sleep at night knowing life for these obviously poor people is so harsh! Considering we haven't folded and given them their millions, we must be considered bad men and gosh darn it, you used to be such a nice man at Nike!

        Does that make sense now?

        1. Annihilator


          Makes sense in answering the "what does the email mean". All that remains is the mystery of why it was so offensive, worse than being told you had cancer, and why it took 10 months to go to the Sun with it...

        2. A. Coatsworth Silver badge


          Makes total sense... I would have never understood the message that way (or any other way, TBH)

          Thanks a lot! This digital pint is for you

  8. Daedalus

    Drama queen in shock horror masochistic publicity stunt sensation!

    Seriously? You get an e-mail. OK it makes you feel bad. Maybe really bad. So you then go and run to the Sun to get some kind of (possibly pyrrhic) revenge.

    Somebody should take a close look at Dr. Unuoha. With any look the soar-away Sun will decide she's worth more as fodder than as victim.

  9. James Hughes 1


    Having someone write something nasty is now worse than being told you have cancer and could die?


    Sticks and stones etc.

    (I'm not saying what the guy did wasn't was reprehensible)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cook might be an arse...

    but it doesn't change the fact that Onuoha was perfectly happy to use emotional blackmail, as a negotiating tactic.

  11. Nick Gisburne

    Not buying it

    Worse than being diagnosed with cancer? And yet she took 10 whole months before mentioning to... The Sun, presumably because she wanted to unburden her troubles to their trained counsellors. No wait, it was for a big wad of cash. I can't even see what got her so upset, unless there's more detail in the email we haven't seen.

    "Ravaged with it!! … I don't know how you sleep at night. You used to be such a nice man when I worked with you at Nike. G."

    Exactly which bit of that is offensive, or more to the point 'worse than being diagnosed with cancer?'

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm a bit confused as to why the uproar about this - is there more context in the email than has been shared. I can only read this in too ways - (1) Marwood is being very harsh negotiating with someone who is 'Ravaged by cancer!! How do you sleep at night?'

    Or (2) Dr Anthonia used to be such a nice man when they worked together at Nike, which he/she isn't keen on Marwood finding out about.

  13. AdamWill

    Data Leak Prevention Technology?

    "We wouldn't be surprised in the least if the incident was used to sell Data Leak Prevention technology, a filtering technology designed to block the accidental or deliberate extraction of sensitive content outside corporate boundaries, to Manchester City."


    I'm having Clippy visions again. 'Hi! It looks like you're trying to send a compromising email to a third party. Would you like to CC Max Clifford?'

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some people seem unclear about the meaning of the email. Garry Cook (CEO) thought he was emailing to Brian Marwood (in charge of player contracts), whom he used to work with at Nike. Dr Onuoha is Nedum Onuoha's mother and agent. She is suffering from cancer. Nedum Onuoha is a good footballer but not currently part of Manchester City's plans. In an earlier email exchange with Brian Marwood, Dr Onuoha said that she would continue to represent her son, even though she was "ravaged with cancer". This was passed on to Garry Cook and he made a comment in poor taste about how Brian Marwood was being very harsh with Dr Onuoha despite the fact that she is "ravaged with it [cancer]". Subsequently this email was leaked to Dr Onuoha and Cook apologised, saying "I'm appalled that someone would write that, a hacker got into my account and wrote the email". He subsequently said that someone was being disciplined at the club. It's not clear how Onuoha came to receive the email but it is clear that it was written by Garry Cook and he lied when he claimed that someone else had written it. This is why he has resigned.

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