Mackay wrong to take on Tan

Thursday 19th December 2013 10:35

Vincent Tan: Was right to remind Mackay who pays the bills

Vincent Tan: Was right to remind Mackay who pays the bills

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Cardiff FanZoner Ivor Castle believes Malky Mackay was wrong not to consult Vincent Tan before speaking publicly about the transfer window.

Since taking a break following my last blog, it is ironic that when I return to my keyboard the main focus at Cardiff City is on the same nonsense as when I left off.

Simon Lim is again at the centre of things regarding the issue of transfer spending at the Cardiff City Stadium. In short, Lim has broken the club's silence on behalf of owner Vincent Tan, especially over the firing of Iain Moody.

The owner, through Lim, has revealed that by his accounting, Malky Mackay has overspent the agreed summer transfer budget by some £15million, which resulted in the firing of Moody. The removal of his head of recruiting was instrumental in a rift developing or widening between Tan and Mackay.

Tan, as he promised he would, has now revealed the reason for his displeasure at a point he considers to be 'the right time'. That being the run up to January transfer window.

I think it would be safe to assume Tan believes what he believes and Mackay believes what he understands to be the truth of the matter. Somewhere between the two main protagonists stand Lim and Moody. It doesn't take a giant leap of reason and deduction to think that somewhere in that mix lies the answer to the question of who is right.

If you had to guess, it seems plausible to believe that no one was acting underhand or in defiance. What probably happened, as is often the case when divergent cultures and languages meet, was a misinterpretation or miscommunication of intent and boundaries. A £15million error in communication is certainly something to fire someone over. Whether Moody or Lim erred is anyone's guess but Tan obviously thinks the fault lies with the footballing side of the equation and is loyal to his man, just as Mackay was for Moody. The mistrust also goes someway to explaining the strange appointment of Alisher Apsalyamov to shadow Moody on his travels.

As shrewd and professional as Mackay conduct's himself he has left himself horribly exposed to just criticism from the owner over his recent desire to spend again and buy three more players in the upcoming transfer window. Not the fact that he might request this but that he came out in the press and said so before discussing it with the owner or his representatives, Lim and the newly installed chairman Mehmet Dalman.

To unreservedly announce in the press that you want to make an investment of millions of pounds of somebody else's money before even asking permission is not a good business practice. While football clubs may not be looked at as a traditional kind of business, good business sense should still prevail. Mackay deliberately or innocently scraped a wound that had not yet healed and to expect the wounded animal not to react is foolishness on his part.

Tan, whatever his faults or however you dislike him is right in this case. Mackay may have just spoken his mind and was unguarded in his comment but it was still a huge mistake.

There's another train of thought that says Mackay knew exactly what he was doing. By asking for the money publicly he safeguards his reputation against relegation and a poor second half to the season. Either he gets the money and it helps Cardiff stay up - all hail the manager - or he doesn't and if Cardiff go down, it's Tan's fault. If he gets the money and is relegated, his reputation is deeply scarred but well worth the risk.

Mackay is an immensely popular manager at Cardiff City and will always be hailed for achieving the promotion dream and for what he has done this season, at least up to now. A shrewd manager might easily use all of that public goodwill against an owner seen as an old-fashioned villain from a silent movie era.

Yet buyer beware, football fans have a short memory and impending relegation could soon have a majority of fans calling for a name change in the managers hot-seat come Easter.

What the truth is only the actors in this melodrama really know. But then again perhaps it's just a case of how you interpret it.

By Ivor Castle, FanZone's Cardiff City blogger. Don't forget to follow @FanZone too!

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