Malaysian owner’s interference likely to shorten Mackay’s stay at Cardiff City
Hosting Swansea City in big derby this weekend likely to prove the least of manager’s long-term problems
Cardiff City’s Scottish manager Malky MacKay is animated on the sideline during the visit to Fulham earlier this season. Photo: Glyn Kirk/AFP
And this was after Mackay’s team, Cardiff City, had won. But Big Malky was annoyed by a late red card shown to one of his players and now, in Barnsley’s caravan of a press room, Mackay was increasingly vexed by a photographer packing away his equipment. You could feel Mackay’s intolerance swell like an angry sea. There followed a brief exchange. Mackay spoke, the photographer stopped, the room froze.
A question or so later and Mackay was up, his centre-half’s thighs carrying him with impatient muscularity into the wet Yorkshire gloom. Reporters looked at one another, fiddled with their pens.
Barnsley 1 Cardiff 2, this month last year, was a result that kept the Welsh club top of the Championship. Victory at misty Oakwell meant a one-point advantage over Leicester City at the top was maintained, and by May it was extended. Cardiff would go on to win the division by eight points from Hull.
It meant Cardiff City were back in the top-flight for the first time since 1962; it meant that, among other things, they would again be playing fixtures against Swansea City.
Cardiff possesses a capital city’s sense of order. The place, the club, the fans had been disconcerted to find that while Cardiff were continually approaching the Premier League under manager Dave Jones, only to fail, while 40 miles away Swansea City were passing their way to economic prosperity and national admiration on a Championship budget their chairman Huw Jenkins assessed as “above Scunthorpe’s, around Barnsley’s”.
If you described Cardiff as miffed when it came to Swansea’s rise, you would not be wrong. So last season’s promotion and the prospect of Cardiff-Swansea tomorrow should be soothing, signs of arrival and return to order.
But Cardiff City still feels like a club irritated, conflicted, angry. On Thursday they were charged by the FA over confrontations at Norwich last Saturday.
While Swansea remain 20 per cent owned by the local Supporters’ Trust – even as they go to Wembley to win the League Cup and to Europe to wallop Valencia – Cardiff City are 51 per cent owned by a Malaysian businessman called Vincent Tan.
Tan seems to think it is a good idea to annoy Malky Mackay. Tan seems to think it is a good idea to alienate chunks of Cardiff’s fanbase.