The bigger question is not will Cardiff City survive their Premier League debut season but will owner Vincent Tan’s plans to make the club debt free in the coming weeks become a reality.
Tan has hinted as much and the evidence seems to back his words. Cardiff City will eventually be floated on the Malaysian stock exchange enabling Tan to recover his multi-million pound investment which by then will be running in excess of 100 million pounds. As shrewd a businessman as Tan is, he might even turn a small profit while holding onto a majority control of the club.
And that really is all you need to know about Cardiff City’s chances of retaining their Premier League status. With approximately £25million spent on just three players, Gary Medel, Stephen Caulker and Andreas Cornelius, the rumour is Bluebird manager Malky Mackay still has upward of £10million to splash on his squad.
Vincent Tan will not let this investment sink back to the Championship without a serious fight. Mackay can expect even more cash in the January transfer window should it be needed.
While Queens Park Rangers flopped despite a huge outlay on players last season, the Bluebirds have a more settled squad and Mackay has strengthened where he needed to.
While the likes of Bafatimbi Gomis, Etienne Capoue and Thomas Ince have resisted the Welsh team’s advances and other targets have been missed, Mackay has persevered, snapping up a quality central defender in Caulker and a tough, battle hardened competitor in the Chilean “Pitbull” Medel.
Of course, Cardiff may look good or at least better on paper than last season but as the old saying goes, the game is not played on paper it is played on grass.
When the Bluebirds fly out of the tunnel on Saturday afternoon against West Ham ready to begin their epic journey, back home in Cardiff, architects, engineers and builders will be hoping for a good result every bit as much as the fans.
Planning permission to raise the capacity of the Cardiff City Stadium to 32,000 was recently submitted with work slated to start in the autumn. The plan is to raise the roof on the Ninian Grandstand adding another tier. There will be tears of a different kind should Tan’s plan backfire and much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the capital should Mackay’s team fails to survive.
The bottom line is, Tan cannot afford it to fail. However in his young manager Mackay, it seems he has the right man for the job of building on the field, while the contractors prepare to start building off it.
To steal from another old saying, Rome wasn’t built in a day but they did not have Vincent Tan financing it.
By Ivor Castle.
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