Wednesday 21 March 2018

Mackay's fate sealed despite public outcry

Malky Mackay
Malky Mackay

Graham Clutton

Malky Mackay will be sacked as the Cardiff manager this weekend even if his side earn a surprise victory at Liverpool today.

The Scot flew with his team to Merseyside yesterday for this afternoon's match. He may even take charge of the team at Anfield, but Vincent Tan, the club's billionaire owner, remains determined to dismiss the Scot, despite protests from the club's supporters and consternation among other Premier League managers.

Tan flew into London last night and was planning to meet his chief executive, Mehmet Dalman, who was expected to defend Mackay, before heading to Merseyside this morning.


Tan told Mackay in an email last Monday that he had the choice of resigning or being sacked, and despite Dalman's plea to delay the decision, club sources indicated that Mackay would lose his job, probably after today's game.

It was another chaotic day at the Welsh club, as Mackay stressed privately to the club's directors that he would not resign from his £1.5m-a-year contract but failed to attend his weekly press conference, instead sending his assistant David Kerslake, who refused to answer questions about Mackay.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (pictured) is the favourite to succeed Mackay, who could yet find himself a target for West Bromwich Albion. Roberto Di Matteo's name has also been mentioned, as has the former Cardiff manager David Jones, albeit in a capacity of director of football.

Mackay's reign has lasted two and a half years, during which he led the side to the League Cup final and the Championship play-offs in 2012, and then last season guided the club to the top flight of English football for the first time in 51 years.

But his relationship with Tan started to break down long before that, with the Malaysian owner understood to have demanded influence over Mackay's footballing decisions.

Then, having invested more than £25m in the summer transfer window, Tan claimed that Mackay had spent too much and should not be requesting more money for next month's window. Iain Moody, the head of recruitment, lost his job over the summer signings.

Earlier this week, the relationship between Tan and his manager reached breaking point when the email to the Scot detailed Tan's lengthy grievances and said the manager could not carry on.

Kerslake's press conference yesterday descended into farce, Mackay's sidekick repeating a dozen times: "I am here to talk about the Liverpool game. It is just another game," he insisted, confirming Mackay had taken training yesterday morning.

"We are going to a wonderfully talented team and we have prepared this week as professionally as always. The manager prepares his team the same way every week."

When asked how Mackay was coping, Kerslake said: "Without being boring, it really has been a normal week for us. I am here to talk about the Liverpool game, so can we move on to that?"

Asked about Mackay's absence, a club official said: "Malky is unavailable."

Mackay then boarded the team's plane to Liverpool at 3.0 yesterday. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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