Like dogs with a bone.

CoymayI put a link to a story about Peter Odemwingie being critical of the tactics used during his time at Cardiff on a City messageboard yesterday and added some throwaway words to the effect that he was lucky to find another Premier League club willing to take him on after the way he performed for us. Predictably, this drew a response defending the player and bemoaning the defensive tactics of our former manager Malky Mackay, to which I replied I didn’t want to get involved in yet another argument about him and I was only commenting on Odemwingie’s play and attitude while he was with us.

Now, I’ve argued Malky Mackay’s cause online and person to person on stacks of occasions over the past few months, but it seemed to me that the position the team finds itself in now means that the present should take priority over the past and I would have preferred to  concentrate on the here and now – in particular, can Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s squad stave off relegation?

Unfortunately however, it seems that some people are not prepared to let the matter rest and after this statement  appeared on the club’s website a few hours later it seems City fans are almost obliged to keep on discussing Mackay and Andreas Cornelius ad infinitum!

I suppose predictably, Simon Lim’s statement drew a response by Malky Mackay, through Richard Bevan of the League Managers Association, countering the accusations of “imprudent and careless management”, with, as has been the case since Mackay was sacked, the Cornelius transfer being right at the heart of the club’s accusations – has a player ever played so few matches and attracted as much discussion and controversy as the young Danish striker in Cardiff City’s history?

I’m not going to go into too much detail on what was in the two statements except to make three observations;-

1. The Cornelius transfer went through on 27 June (more than two months before the transfer window closed), Steven Caulker joined on 31 July and Gary Medel on 11 August. So, we spent nearly £30 million over a six week period on those three players as well as bringing in the likes of John Brayford and Simon Moore. On the weekend the window closed we paid a further £5 million or so for Kevin Theophile-Catherine and Odemwingie, – it just strikes me as odd that nobody noticed how “imprudent and careless” our manager was being over this pretty lengthy period and didn’t do anything to stop those last two deals.

2. Maybe point 1 is explained by the revelation that the club did not appear to know what was happening as far as transfer spending was concerned last summer. After all, how else can you interpret the comments about the five year contract Cornelius was given? Furthermore, Sam Hammam (who, sadly, is still hanging around like a bad smell) makes some remarks towards the bottom of this piece about Vincent Tan and Simon Lim which effectively say that Mackay and Moody were given carte blanche to do much as they wanted when it came to the club’s transfer dealings.

3. If point 2 is correct, then that seems a very dangerous precedent which inspires little or no confidence in my mind as far as Tan and Lim’s footballing decision making is concerned. The line “A manager, even in the Premier League, does not go out and “sign” players.” seems particularly relevant here and, if this was, indeed, not the case at Cardiff, then it seems a bit rich that one of the parties responsible for creating that situation should be trying to absolve himself of any responsibility in the matter.

Simon Lim, Cardiff City's CEO  -

Simon Lim, Cardiff City’s CEO – “He doesn’t know whether certain amounts should be paid in wages or paid to buy players” – so says Sam Hammam in his “supportive” message to the man who took to the Cardiff City website yesterday to attack former manager Malky Mackay.

If this season ends in relegation (actually, even if it doesn’t), I can see that word “blame” being used an awful lot in the weeks and months that follow. As I mentioned in my reaction piece to the Swansea defeat, I don’t see how any one individual can be held wholly responsible for our season going wrong – there will be plenty of responsible parties and it seems to me that any arguments should just be about how much blame you are prepared to attribute to any of them.

Foremost amongt those parties are bound to be Vincent Tan and Malky Mackay and, although my sympathies undoubtedly lie more with the latter than the former, I don’t think either of them can claim any moral high ground in the battle which looks like dragging on for sometime yet.

I find the club’s website being used in the way it was yesterday (and for the “not a penny more” response to Malky Mackay’s request for funding for January signings) cheap and distinctly lacking in class, but it needs to be remembered that throughout the autumn there were stories which were very detrimental to Vincent Tan often appearing in the media – if they did not come from the man himself, then they surely came from someone who had our former manager’s interests at heart.

In that respect, they are both as bad as one and other – I can’t remember which one accused the other first of “washing their dirty linen in public”, but the words it takes one to know one spring to mind. If either of them really do have the best interests of Cardiff City at heart, it would be good if they could call a cease to hostilities for three months or so to enable the relegation battle to be resolved one way or another without these distractions which have to make Ole’s task all the harder.

One last thought, in this new found spirit of transparency which sees Simon Lim prepared to go into such detail about one of our former players, would now be a good time to ask him for a breakdown of the “admin expenses” figures (which were around 50% higher than the figure he tells us we are going to lose through the Cornelius sale) for season 12/13 that appeared in the latest set of club accounts ? Also, would the CEO be able to come up with a figure for the amount of money the club have made as a  direct result of the re-branding of the club kit and badge in the summer of 2012? No? I thought not.

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3 Responses to Like dogs with a bone.

  1. Dai Woosnam says:

    Good afternoon, Paul.

    Thanks for this outstanding overview of the collective MESS that is Cardiff City right now. I think it very balanced, even though we may not draw quite the same conclusions.

    I have just watched Swansea on ITV throw away a game they could well have won, by the most stupid back pass from Neil Taylor.

    I mention that, not because I am riding my favourite hobby horse, viz. the deterioration of all footballing standards apart from – that is – “stadium facilities and pitch quality”.

    I mention it because it would seem that STUPIDITY is the order of the day 42 miles down the road from Swansea, at CCS.

    Here, both Malky and Vincent (and from now on, when I use their names, I am also talking about them ALONG WITH their entourage of respective advisors) have hardly covered themselves in glory.

    So how did we get to this sorry state?

    Before I give you my take on events, let me just say this: you are honest enough to admit that you are slightly more in the Malky camp than the Vincent.

    Therefore it is incumbent upon me to state where my sympathies lie. And about 2/3 weeks ago, on a scale of 1-100, I guess the dial would have put me somewhere like 90% in the Vincent camp. Then came the astonishing sale of Cornelius back to FC Copenhagen and Simon Lim’s statement. And the penny has now dropped with me over this kamikaze financial act.

    The question is, was it a REAL penny that dropped, or a COUNTERFEIT one?

    If, as I suspect, the fire sale price received for AC was SOLELY designed to show Malky up as being financially imprudent on almost epic scale, then Vincent should hang his head in shame.

    Yes, I understand how he has been provoked into this situation. And I understand that in war, if one figures that one’s opponent is not fighting fair, then BOTH sides throw the Geneva Convention out the window.

    However, in selling AC back to his former club and taking an incredible financial loss, Vincent may have shown he has amazingly deep pockets, but he has also made Cardiff City the laughing stock of Denmark! A child of six will tell you that AC should have been LOANED back for the rest of the season.

    If Vincent had wanted to show that Malky was wasting his money, he needed only to have pointed to paying at least 30% too much for Caulker, and 50% for Medel. (Juan Cala on a Bosman plus £1m to Getafe seems FAR more like the money a sensible manager shells out.)

    And Vincent could have pointed to the amazing £2m “thrown away” on the brilliant John Brayford. I put those two words in quotes deliberately, as the way that boy has been treated beggars belief.

    “We’ll Keep a Welcome in the Hillsides,
    We’ll Keep a Welcome in the Vales…”

    Well, I know one “Vale” where there was NO welcome. He was treated like a pariah.

    And the sad thing is that Ole’s job seems now to be to show that Malky’s buys were mainly rubbish. So, he does not give Brayford a chance, but lets him go to Bramall Lane where he has DAZZLED. And instead, Ole spends more of Vincent’s money on the manifestly inferior Fabio. A player not needed.

    Ole then offloads Nicky Maynard on loan to Wigan, determined to show that Malky’s £2.25m was wasted too. But it was NOT wasted money.

    Yes Malky did his usual thing of buying players too physically unimposing for the role of centre forward – and so to a degree the money would NEVER have been justified while Malky was there – but with the arrival of Kenwyne we finally have the man with the physical presence. And with Maynard playing alongside him, as a snapper up of half chances, we would finally have arrived at the right blend.

    Remember Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s famous poem we all read at school? It starts:
    “It is an ancient Mariner,
    And he stoppeth one of three.”

    Well if I can borrow from that, Maynard will SCORETH one of three.

    Odemwingie would have scoreth one in seven of the chances that would have come his way from Kenwyne (again, we never saw the best of him because he needed a big man alongside).

    Kenny Miller and Kenny Miller Mk 2 – great 100% players and tireless unselfish runners though they both are – scoreth one in TWENTY three.

    But hey, since when did LOGIC have any part to play in events at Cardiff City?
    I have a hunch that Vincent’s ploy now is to rubbish everything that Malky did …and that includes rubbishing many of Malky’s purchases. I sincerely hope I am wrong.

    But if I am right, how did events deteriorate so?

    You will recall that I started off as massive Malky fan. True, I never rated his tactics: he only ever had the one infuriating way of playing. But I loved the cut of his jib: I liked the way he carried himself. Such a refreshing change from the surliness of DJ. He seemed a Leader of Men.

    I think I can pinpoint when I started to move toward Vincent. I can trace the first rumblings of the earthquake to Malky’s infamous appearance on the Match of the Day immediately after the David Moyes appointment was announced. You will recall he was in one of the pundits’ chairs, alongside Michael Laudrup.

    And we all remember how they respectively fielded the “are you interested in the Everton job?” question.

    Laudrup was sublimely sure-footed. Not unlike his days as a player. (If I can mix my sporting metaphor, he batted the ball straight back down the wicket with a classic forward defensive stroke.)

    Malky alas was all at sea.

    He even asked Lineker to help him out, by diverting his attention to Laudrup !!

    It was apparent that there was nothing that Malky wanted more than the call from Bill Kenwright. How he would have loved to be one of the twin pillars of Hercules, in a giant handshake across Stanley Park with the other pillar, his mate Brendan Rodgers. He’d have been up the M5/M6 to Goodison faster than Odemwingie got to Loftus Road!

    And you can bet that Vincent – like the rest of us – observed this.

    And that was the start of it.
    And yes a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. And very dirty water at that.
    We have seen Malky seem to engineer his dismissal by doing his dirty washing in public. But very cleverly get all his chums at the LMA to speak up for him, and virtually 100% of the media too.
    And now we see Vincent descend to the same skullduggery, in an effort to have a counter claim against him when it goes to court.
    And we have seen him put Ole in charge.
    Now Ole seems an affable guy.
    But any guy capable of THIS is not totally Mr Nice Guy:

    And one has hopes that he will impose discipline on the team, get them FIT in the close season (because they clearly are not currently, in the way they tire in games: and trust me, none of the current City team would have been fit enough at that stage of the game to catch Rob Lee to chop him down!)

    But I have no hopes for Ole the tactician. He looks like – for all his attacking rhetoric – a believer in the square pass and the back pass.
    God help us.

    Thanks for reading this Paul.
    And I have got that off my chest. I can now sleep easy tonight.
    These things are far better OUT than in.

  2. The other Bob Wilson says:

    I don’t think there was any need for you to include the word “slightly” in “you are slightly more in the Malky camp than the Vincent.” Dai!

    I believe you are right to say that there may be more than footballing reasons behind the sale of Cornelius (and possibly the loaning out of Brayford?). To be honest, I’m not entirely sure that’s true about Brayford because Tan and Lim now appear to be putting the sacking of Mackay down wholly to the Cornelius transfer and I believe that, once again, they are making a mistake there because, although, I wouldn’t have sacked him myself, I think there was definitely a debate to be had around the Christmas period about his overall summer transfer policy, our results and the tactical approach being used.

    It seems to me we have to look at Lim’s statement (which had Tan’s fingerprints all over it!) and the response it got from the Mackay camp in the light of the upcoming court case about the compensation our former manager believes he is due. Details of Cornelius’ contract and transfer fee (both in and out of Cardiff City) seem to have been released as a means of questioning Malky Mackay’s competence – I suppose thereby questioning his right to receive compensation?

    Lim’s statement has me wondering whether he and his employer believe winning their battle with Malky Mackay is more important than triumphing in the fight to stay in the Premier League, while I’m afraid the praise Ole and his signings received seems premature at best and idiotic at worst.

    A couple of other points. Firstly, while Lim and Tan berate Mackay on the money the club lost in the buying and selling of Andreas Cornelius, it is still considerably less than the amount spent on “administration expenses” in season 12/13 while we were a Championship club. Secondly, the first pieces of the steel framework for the expansion of the Ninian Stand were there to be seen at Saturday’s match, the odds are that we will be playing Championship football in a ground with a capacity of 33,000 next season – if that happens then I suggest the new stand be named “Tan’s Folly” (the amount spent on this unnecessary extension dwarfs what we have lost be selling Cornelius so cheaply).

  3. Dai Woosnam says:

    Thanks Paul, for your additional comments.
    I had not realised you were still so loyal to Malky. But you clearly are, and I commend you for it.
    And I too rate LOYALTY very highly as a quality in people.
    Alas my loyalty to Malky vanished as quickly as the snow in April, when I saw him (or his people) leaking that notorious email, and getting all his media and LMA chums onside.
    Just sad to see Vincent also now descending to that level.

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