Manchester City CEO Gary Cook has been accused of sending a questionable e-mail message to the cancer-stricken mom of defender Nedum Onuoha, just one of several public relations gaffes he’s been involved during a brief, otherwise successful tenure.  Though Cook has denied responsibility for this latest incident, the Guardian’s Daniel Taylor bemoans the career trajectory of a man who has “gone from playing Alan Partridge to David Brent and back again – with a bit of Larry David in between.”

Cook has thus far denied he is responsible for the email to his colleague, Brian Marwood, that poked fun at Nedum Onuoha’s mother, Anthonia, for having informed them during earlier talks about her son’s future that she was “ravaged” with the disease.

At the time the official version of events was that he was away on holiday and that an unspecified individual hacked into his account to send an email marked “Brian” which stated: “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”. Cook said the culprit had been traced and was the subject of disciplinary proceedings. But City have not named him or her or given any more details.

Do we believe him? The Onuohas are among those who don’t and, at the least, Cook’s account raises more questions than answers. Why would a hacker break company rules and commit a sackable offence simply to write a matey-matey email to Marwood? How would he/she know of the cancer in the first place? Or of the “ravaged” comment? City knew on Sunday afternoon the story was coming out the following morning – so why, if there was nothing to hide, no official response?