The inevitable has finally happened, with Malky Mackay being removed from the Cardiff hot seat by formidable owner Vincent Tan. But what does he hope to achieve from this?
Mackay, 41, had a more than respectable record in charge of the team, having taken over in 2011 when the team had just ten players. In his first season in charge he took the club to the League Cup final, only losing 3-2 on penalties to Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool team after a 2-2 draw after extra time. To put that in perspective, the team Dalglish fielded that day cost 143 million, Mackay’s cost just 3.3 million. This was followed by heartbreak three months later in the semi-finals of the play offs, where they were beaten by West Ham. This was the third time in four seasons Cardiff had exited at this point, but Mackay turnt things around, earning promotion to the Premier League in his second season at the helm.
In Cardiff’s first season in the Premier League they have beaten moneybags Man City and held giants Manchester United at home, as well as recording a victory against fierce rivals Swansea in the Welsh derby. But this was not deemed good enough by Tan – the man who the previous season had allegedly complained that goalkeeper David Marshall was not scoring enough goals.
The rumblings of discontent first started in October, when Tan decided to remove Mackay’s close friend and head of recruitment Iain Moody from his position. He was replaced by Tan’s son’s friend, Alisher Apsalyamov, a 23 year old from Kazakhstan with no prior experience in football aside from a few months work experience with Cardiff earlier in the year. Apsalyamov was forced to step down a few weeks later after a problem with his visa, and Cardiff were descending into chaos. By this point, it was clear to see Tan had no idea on how to run a football club. Having ripped the heart and soul out of the club by changing the club’s crest and colour, he was also interfering in football matters.
Then came that email. Resign or be sacked. It was clear for all to see that from that point on Mackay was a dead man walking. But it also sent a message to other managers – stay away from this club. Tan has conducted the whole affair appallingly, highlighted by the statement he released earlier today on Sky Sports News, in which he attempted to shift the blame onto Mackay, who has acted with dignity throughout.
Word is that Tan wants a big name appointment in order to put Cardiff on the map – and increase the commercial revenues. Because that’s what Tan is, a businessman. Every decision made by him has been in order to further commercial revenues, with not a hint of thought for the fans. The problem is, no big name manager with an ounce of self respect would touch Cardiff City with a twelve foot bargepole. And why should they? After the way Tan has conducted himself, he will be lucky to get a manager of League 1 quality, let alone Premier League.
The bookmakers have placed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer among the favourites – though I doubt he would take such a role without referring back to Sir Alex Ferguson first. Reports emanating from Turkey are suggesting that Yilmaz Vural (who has managed 27 teams in 27 years) will get the job, after he confirmed he actually held talks with club whilst Mackay was still in charge. The good money would go on a mercenary manager, who chases the money. Someone like Sven Goran Eriksson, whose last three clubs include footballing giants such as BEC Tero, Al Nasr and Guangzhou R&F.
On management, Sir Alex Ferguson once said ‘always make sure you get the right club, the right chairman.’ Cardiff’s future manager would do well to heed that advice.