Vincent Tan's Ownership Of Cardiff Is The Norm For An Unforgiving Modern Game

The current saga revolving around Cardiff City Football Club is certainly one of the more astonishing stories in the Barclays Premier League this season. Malky Mackay’s job is under threat despite recent success with Cardiff by guiding them into England’s top flight last season by winning the Championship as well as taking them to the League Cup final in 2012.

Yet the current owner of the football club, Vincent Tan, has just told Malky Mackay only a few days ago that he either has to resign or face the sack. It’s a move that really should not be shocking considering that there is a huge amount of tension between the owner and the manager at Cardiff.

However due to the nature of the support at Anfield from both Cardiff and Liverpool fans, Tan has delived a u-turn on sacking Mackay just yet.  The club’s chairman has acted as a “peacemaker” and wanted to create space for dialogue between the two parties.

In 2012 Vincent Tan decided to rebrand Cardiff City by changing the colour of the home kit to red and by slapping a new badge on that shirt with a dragon on it. His reason was probably to make Cardiff more marketable but instead faced bad PR as the media effectively declared it as a slap to the face of the club’s history. Ironically the club is still nicknamed the Bluebirds.

Tan also sacked Iain Moody from his role as Head of Recuritment at the club back in October and replaced him with 23 year-old unknown Kazakh Alisher Apsalyamov who was on work experience before being promoted to the powerful position. Since then Apsalyamov has left the club due to issues with his work visa whilst Moody has found success elsewhere becoming Crystal Palace’s director of football.

Moody was sacked due to a row over over-spending on players such as Guy Medel and Stephen Caulker. Since his departure, Tan has decided to use that same argument against his manager, who had less responsibility in that department. Moreover, if Tan was unhappy at the amount of money being spent on new recruits then why didn’t he just stop funding Moody and Mackay.

Needless to say in what should be a celebratory year for Cardiff fans has turned into a sour one. Yet the way Vincent Tan deals with his football club by going against the traditional values that many English fans of the game so adore is no longer that surprising in the Barclays Premier League.

The “invasion” of foreign owners since Roman Abramovich’s takeover of Chelsea in the summer of 2003 has seen the Premier League’s stock taken a meteoric rise in money, power and popularity but at a cost of tradition and history of the English game.

And one of the things that these new owners are very good at is chopping and changing the coaching staff. Abramovich did that by sacking various managers including Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti before letting Roberto Di Matteo guide his Chelsea team to Champions League glory. And then he sacked Di Matteo not long after.

Manchester City’s owner Shiekh Mansour has recently claimed that the club’s ambitions are unlimited which does not pose well for any manager who decides to run the blue half of Manchester as long as Mansour is owner. With that said, Mansour has been more patient than most but his sacking of Roberto Mancini, who led the club to Premier League and FA Cup glory during his reign, has shown his demand for the best.

Managerial changes are one thing, but there have been dafter decisions made by some owners. Another bizzare news story which has angered fans of the game is Hull City’s owner being insistent on changing Hull City’s name to Hull Tigers. Once again, this decision is probably to make the club more marketable to international outlets and again to the anger of many Hull fans and some bad PR too.

The thing is as much as we can possibly criticise these rich owners for failing to understand the history of the game they are the new lifeblood. While some of the decisions that the likes of Tan and Assam Allem have been quite strange, let’s not forget that they do form the lifeblood of the modern game.

This is the cost that the English game has to put up with if the Barclays Premier League wants to maintain its status as the best of the world. We are currently seeing the “Americanisation” of the Premier League as the owners are taking a prominent role in how the game of football is run.

As seen with the current cooling of the stand-off between Vincent Tan and Malky Mackay there might understand in grasping how much history means to the fans.

Yet if the game is to continually evolve as the best in the world then these owners are a necessary evil. It has brought (or bought) Manchester City and Chelsea success in recent years and they will continue to enjoy those successes for the foreseeable future.

And while the likes of Tan and Allem will be unable to provide that same level of success they will be able to keep their teams in the Premier League which is reward enough nowadays. This is a damning indictment of the modern English game but they are the new managers of their clubs and they are the new dynasty-holders. At the end of the day, these men are more important and therefore have the monopolistic power to do anything they want.

Until there is some sort of regulatory shift or the fans take real action and walk away from the clubs then expect many more of these shocking incidents to occur. Yet again why would the Premier League disrupt the flow of money into their league anyway?


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