Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay has been told to quit or be sacked
Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay is close to being forced out of the club after owner Vincent Tan issued him with an ultimatum in which the Scot was told to quit or be sacked.
Tan delivered the demand to Mackay via email on Monday but it is understood that he will refuse to resign after a difficult start to the club's first season in the Premier League since winning promotion.
The terms of Mackay's contract will force Tan to pay him about £3.5million in compensation, small change for the Malaysian billionaire businessman.
Mackay's future at the club has looked increasingly bleak in recent days after Tan told him that he would not make any money available for transfers in the January window.
Tan has faced huge criticism for his treatment of the 41-year-old Scot, who has enjoyed a hugely successful two-and-half-year stint in charge of the club.
The letter emailed to Mackay will shock Cardiff supporters who have seen the former central defender take them in to the top flight of English football for the first time in 51 years. He also led the club to last year's Carling Cup final, which they lost to Liverpool only on penalties.
However, Mackay's position has since been severely undermined. First, Tan forced a split amongst fans with his controversial decision to change the club's colours from blue to red. Then, earlier this season and after a summer in which Cardiff spent wisely, Tan removed head of recruitment Iain Moody.
It is also alleged that, after Mark Hudson's 68-yard goal in the Championship game against Derby last year, Tan suggested to that he might wish to encourage his players to take more long-range shots at goal.
Such comments have led to widespread criticism of Tan's interference, with the Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, whose side entertain Cardiff at Anfield on Saturday claiming the Malaysian should steer clear of such remarks.
"I find it astonishing, what he’s had to go through,” said Rodgers, who worked with Mackay at Watford. “He’s going to go on and become a big manager at a top club and I find it astonishing there’s talk about him leaving there, absolutely astonishing.
“My only conclusion when I look from the outside is you’ve got a business guy operating the club who obviously knows nothing about football.
“He’s [Tan] obviously been a very successful business man in his life, but football is like no other business.”
The latest twist, comes just four days after the club's chief executive Simon Lim revealed Tan's disappointment at comments made after last weekend's 1-0 Premier League victory over West Brom.
When questioned about possible activity in the January window, Mackay said that he would ideally like to sign three new players. Having spent £30million in the summer on the likes of Gary Medel, Andreas Cornelius, Steve Caulker and Peter Odemwingie, Mackay felt that three new faces would help the club retain their top-flight status for another season at least.
However, in a statement issued by the club, Lim said: “Tan Sri Vincent Tan was extremely upset to read quotes from the manager concerning the possibility of new recruits, before he had been informed whether funds would be made available.
“He believes that doing so unfairly raises supporter expectations, placing unnecessary pressure on the club. His view is that due to the funds already committed, including the originally authorised summer transfer budget of £35m that rose to £50m in total, including add-ons, the manager has been fully supported.”
There is little doubt that Mackay's tenure in south Wales will come to an end, sooner rather than later. However, after such a period of unprecedented success in the club's recent history, his dismissal will not sit comfortably with those fans who have taken the tough-talking Glaswegian to heart since he took charge of the club in June 2011.