Amanda Staveley helped Thaksin Shinawatra sell Man City to Sheikh Mansour in 2008; now, the financier hopes Newcastle United can effectively topple the Citizens in the next five to 10 years following the Magpies' own transformative takeover.

It won't be easy, of course. City were already a top 10 outfit when the Abu Dhabi Group rocked up and Financial Fair Play did not even exist at the time.

However, there are still some parallels between these eras. Staveley, herself, has said that 'we have the same ambitions' as City; sovereign wealth has changed both of these clubs forever; Newcastle's new owners have set aside funds for the community and dated infrastructure as City did; and, like their counterparts in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia's appalling human rights record has led to accusations of sportswashing.

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Newcastle, like City, in 2008, also have an awful lot of work to do in the transfer market and the new owners desperately need to appoint the right manager, sporting director and chief executive in the coming weeks and months.

Mehrdad Ghodoussi has already been bombarded with enquiries from agents and if there is one man who can empathise with Newcastle's part-owner, it's Mike Rigg, who was City's technical director for the first four years of the Mansour era.

"The first thing that happened to us was every agent, chancer and intermediary in the world was trying to sell us a pair of shoes two sizes too big," Rigg told ChronicleLive.

"Every single person was throwing any name in the world - from the most ridiculous to the completely unheard of - and they were just chancing.

"So what we had to do, and what Newcastle will be faced with, is sifting through that and making sure that you've got your focus on your target list and who you want.

"We were trying to sell the dream, but we were making it up as we were going along because there was an awful lot fixing off the pitch at the same time.

Mike Rigg
Mike Rigg

"We didn't quite know what was happening in a couple of years. We knew what we wanted to do but, in a way, Newcastle have got a little bit of an advantage because they can look at other clubs and say, 'Right, we know what happened there.'"

City did not even have a proper scouting department at the time - the club had a couple of regional scouts and part-time talent spotters on retainers - and a lot of players had previously been signed on the back of agent recommendations.

That quickly changed. Rigg brought in a number of top UK-based scouts, such as Barry Hunter, Dave Fallows and Alan Watson, who were each responsible for a group of countries.

Targets were compiled for each position, regardless of whether City needed them or not at the time, and scouts were ordered to get to know the best players and agents in their territories and find out which clubs would be open to selling their prised assets at the right price.

In those early days, however, the recruitment team knew there was an obvious advantage to targeting proven Premier League players who were already familiar with life in the top-flight and you suspect Newcastle may yet go down a similar path.

This policy gave City the confidence to know that Shay Given, Wayne Bridge and Craig Bellamy would immediately improve the team after the trio arrived in the new owners' first proper window in January, 2009.

Targeting domestic-based players also made City's immediate rivals weaker as Everton, Aston Villa and co went on to lose their best players to the blue half of Manchester.

As well as asking one very obvious question - can this player make the team better? - City also made an effort to bring in real characters and it fell to the scouts to compile reports about targets' personalities and pursuits off the field, too.

It said it all, though, that many new signings were only shown around the club's dilapidated training ground at Carrington after they put pen to paper because, like Newcastle's current facility, it badly needed a revamp.

It is important to stress that Newcastle's gym has recently had an upgrade, but City's old training ground was a cold facility in so many ways.

One of the cubicle doors in the toilets was hanging off; there was rust on some of the weights machines; the medical room only had three treatment tables for dozens of players; portable plunge pools were used for recovery sessions; and there was only one boxing glove for the punch bag, which also just happened to be split.

The gym was effectively a basketball court with a few weights in it or, as one former staff member puts it to ChronicleLive, 'a pre-historic thing out of Rocky'.

Mark Hughes and Mark Bowen
Mark Hughes and Mark Bowen

Mark Bowen, City's assistant manager at the time, remembers how boss Mark Hughes spoke to the powers at be and said, 'Listen, it's not good enough'.

"We were trying to embrace a gym culture and really get that into the players and what actually happened was we went away in the first week of January for some warm-weather training," Bowen told ChronicleLive.

"We went out to Abu Dhabi and I think it was only four or five days' training but, in the time we went out there and came back, we had a total transformation of the gym with a mezzanine floor put on top of it.

"People were telling us they couldn't believe what had gone on. It was almost like the minute we left the training ground an army of people came in and worked through the night for four days to make sure it was finished by the time we came back.

"The players, straight away, had that wow factor when they walked in. We didn't say a lot to them. It was like, 'Oh my God. What's this?'"

Standards were quickly being set in all areas of the club as consultant firm Booz Allen assessed every department.

Each employee was interviewed and recommendations were made accordingly. The board then went out and headhunted new members of staff - the very best in media and sponsorship, for example - to fill gaps and support existing employees.

All-staff meetings were regularly held - incidentally, Staveley, Ghodoussi and financial advisor Barclay Saastad hosted their first at St James' just a day after Newcastle's takeover was finally completed - and departments became more linked. As a result, employees at City felt a real sense of togetherness.

Khaldoon Al Mubarak, the club's chairman, repeatedly made it clear in board meetings that he was not going to tell staff how to do their jobs and, provided employees could comprehensively pitch their plans, sizeable backing was provided for worthwhile projects.

Simon Wilson, the club's former head of performance analysis, recalls how more windows were even fitted in the stadium offices to make sure staff had enough daylight.

"It sounds flash but they also put a Starbucks bar in there and they had somebody working behind the bar serving people coffee," he told ChronicleLive.

"It was a good balancer. The people at the stadium typically have a bit of an issue with the people that work at the training ground because the people at the training ground sometimes get fed or get nicer food or can finish earlier. There's always a bit of a back and forth between the two areas.

"The training ground certainly didn't have a Starbucks bar so it was almost like they created a feeling of, 'It's as good to be on the commercial side of the club as it is the football side'.

"They invested in infrastructure and the good thing about that is it carries that message out of being permanent and for everyone. That was a good way of aligning and bringing the club together and showing it was a long-term investment. Everyone had to raise their game."

Just as City's new owners were keen to hang on to long-serving staff who understood the club, the Citizens already had a number of future title winners on their books, including Vincent Kompany, Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta and Micah Richards

Newcastle's current players will be given the opportunity to prove they can play a part in this new era - Callum Wilson, for one, has already taken that chance - but the squad will gradually evolve in the coming years like City's did.

Javier Garrido lasted two years at City under the new ownership before joining Lazio in 2010 and the former full-back remembers how 'everything happened very fast' at the Etihad.

"New players started to come in like Robinho," Garrido told ChronicleLive. "At the beginning, it was just the players but after we realised the new owners wanted to improve all the club departments: new physios, staff, medical staff....everything changed progressively step by step.

Javier Garrido, Roque Santa Cruz and Robinho
Javier Garrido, Roque Santa Cruz and Robinho

"It was good for us who were there from the beginning and good for the new players that arrived because the atmosphere was great.

"Obviously, everyone knew that something big was starting and Man City started to grow very strongly and very quickly as well.

"The competition was improving and it was harder and harder to be in the starting XI but, as a player, I do remember my time there amazingly."

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