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Billionaire trumped by fans

In big football clubs bought over by bigger billionaires,there is a thumb rule to follow.

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty | Updated: January 9, 2014 9:59:53 pm

In big football clubs bought over by bigger billionaires,there is a thumb rule to follow. When the man with deep pockets wants something done,however unreasonable,do it. In recent Premier League history,no one has had a bigger say than the owner — not the managers,players or even the board.

However,the recent happenings at Cardiff City proves that the club owner has only one match — the loyal fans.

“Malky in,Vincent out,” read the banners at Anfield last Saturday as the Malaysian owner of Cardiff City,Vincent Tan,looked on disgruntled from the director’s box.

Tan,the man who changed the Welsh side’s jersey from blue to red,wanted his manager Malky Mackay out. An email was sent from his office to Mackay ahead of the Liverpool game,asking the latter to quit or be sacked. Sven-Goran Eriksson was approached to take over.

Mackay,however,stood his ground. He was granted a standing ovation from both sets of fans after the match at Anfield despite Cardiff City losing 3-1 to the hosts. A visibly shaken Tan was seen hurrying for the exit. About 48 hours later,the Malaysian withdrew his sacking threat.

The fans had won.

In the past,Cardiff has produced some fantastic footballers — from Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs to the most expensive footballer in the world,Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale. Yet,the city’s leading football club was unheard of outside its city walls. Then Mackay took charge in June 2011 and pushed the Bluebirds into the highest orbit — top flight football.

In their maiden Premier League campaign,the Bluebirds haven’t done too badly either. They made a positive start with an upset win over Manchester City and then shared spoils with Manchester United. At the half-way stage,they’re placed 15th with 17 points from as many matches.

But Tan expected more,especially after Mackay had broken the club’s transfer fees on three occasions in the past few months — striker Andreas Cornelius for £7.5 million,defender Steven Caulker for £8 million and midfielder Gary Medel for £11 million. The new signings,however,failed to make an impact.

Tan wanted answers and tried pressing Mackay for it. The fans replied on his behalf.

Shamik is a principal correspondent based in Kolkata.

shamik.chakrabarty@expressindia.com

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