Slapstick club just keeps on delivering.

CoymayI’d already decided I wanted a Cardiff City free Saturday afternoon before Vincent Tan’s resign or be sacked ultimatum to Malky Mackay became public knowledge, so I got myself a ticket for today’s game between Newport County v Wimbledon and, while City are playing at Liverpool this lunchtime, I’ll be making my way to Rodney Parade to take in an occasion which will embody what watching football should be all about.

This match appealed to me because it will be between two clubs who sank a long way under different circumstances, but with the common bond that they had owners/investors who appeared to love seeing their name up in lights as they failed to deliver on their big promises. Both clubs are back now though and, certainly in County’s case, they currently look healthier than they were for much of their previous Football League existence.

Newport and Wimbledon epitomise how clubs can overcome what appear to be insurmountable odds and return to something like their former glories with dignity, honour and pride very much intact and perhaps their example has played a part in my arriving at the decision that I now want to see Vincent Tan leave Cardiff City, even if it might have pretty dire consequences for the club in the short to medium term.

This represents the end of a personal journey which has taken just over a year and a half. I was at those two infamous meetings at Cardiff City Stadium in May 2012 where the assembled few selected supporters representatives and their guests were informed of the “re-branding” of the club and told those present that I wasn’t bothered about the change of kit colour because it wasn’t something that I thought was high up on my list of reasons why I supported Cardiff City. Gradually through the course of last season I came to realise that I had been wrong – blue meant more to me than I thought (why would “Scarfgate” back in February have annoyed me so much if it didn’t?).

Therefore, I became far more anti red (and, by implication, more anti Tan) than I had been, but I still drew the line at wanting our largest investor out of the club like some were demanding. It’s taken the sacking of Iain Moody, that ridiculous appointment as his replacement and the revelations as to the extent of Tan’s meddling in the football side of things to get me into the Tan out camp, but, unless the guy undergoes a complete personality change, I’m pretty sure now I’m going to be in it for the duration.

Unlike some others, who I’m beginning to respect more by the day, simply walking away from Cardiff City is not an option for me – actually, on second thoughts, if that nice Mr Tan comes up with some other whimsical re-branding ideas  maybe it is. However, although my Cardiff City free afternoon today suggests I’ve had enough of the club, I’ll still be recording the match to watch when I get home and I’ll be there in my normal seat at Cardiff City Stadium on Boxing Day.

Given what I’ve said so far, the fact that I’m not going to spend the rest of this piece slagging Vincent Tan off will probably come as a surprise – in fact, I’m going to point out that the man is only here at Cardiff as a result of a period of around a decade where the quality of football and progress on the field seemed to grow in inverse proportion to the amount of financial incompetence and mismanagement shown off it.


Malky Mackay at Rhoose airport on the way to what looks pretty certain to be his last game as Cardiff City manager.*

Malky Mackay at Rhoose airport yesterday on the way to what looks pretty certain to be his last game as Cardiff City manager.*

When you think about it, there was always a good chance we’d end up with someone like Vincent Tan. The mess made of running the club by those who were here before him meant that they had to go cap in hand in an increasingly desperate search for the sort of big investment which had become vital after HMRC started taking more than a passing interest in us. My earlier mention of Wimbledon is a reminder that we had the man who many of their fans think was instrumental into turning their club into a basket case here at Cardiff for the first half of the noughties and, it’s so typically Cardiff City that he is now back at the club as it’s Life President!

Now, I don’t believe that Sam Hammam has had a direct part to play in the shambles of the last three months or so, but there are those who think he has and I’ll freely admit that I’ve been wrong before in my opinions when it comes to City and no doubt will be again in the future. Whatever the truth though, the presence of the likes of Hammam at a club where the owner is being vilified and ridiculed on a worldwide scale just seems so apt – Tan, Lim, Hammam and the rest deserve each other because of what they have done and are doing to our club, but the awful thing is that thousands, if not millions, for whom Cardiff City means an awful lot are having to share in the sick joke as well.

Yesterday epitomised what Cardiff City has been like off the field for far too long. To be fair to those involved, the legal requirement for Premier League clubs to hold press conferences in the build up to every match they play meant that the one held at the Vale training facility yesterday was always going to be an awkward occasion – I don’t have an easy answer as to how the media men at the club should have handled it, but then I’m not paid to deal with such situations. What is clear though is that what they came up with only served to fuel the prevalent feeling in the national media that the club is a complete joke away from the playing side.

Imposing a blackout on television, radio and social media coverage and plonking Assistant Manager David Kerslake in front of everybody with instructions to keep stating that he would only answer questions on the game at Liverpool smacked of policy made up on the hoof – especially when Kerslake stated more than once that he had only been asked to attend the press conference just after arriving at the training ground shortly beforehand (was it any wonder that the poor bloke had something of a “caught in the headlights” look to him during what must have been something of an ordeal).

A few hours later, Sky Sports News reported that a Director of the club had made a two fingered gesture towards media men/women (it wasn’t a victory salute apparently!) as the squad arrived for the flight to Liverpool from Rhoose airport. Now, you try to be sympathetic and imagine what it must be like to be caught up in the eye of a media storm, but we aren’t twenty second in League Two any more – we are competing in what we are repeatedly told is the best league in the world. Maybe it is common place for Board members at other Premier League clubs to behave in this manner when in the media glare, but, if it is, I’ve not heard about it – other clubs manage to look quite classy and efficient when caught in a similar position to the one City faced yesterday, we just looked tacky and ham fisted.

Vincent Tan was thousands of miles away when the events I mentioned which reflected poorly on the club were being played out. This was a reminder that, even if the man causing so much angst amongst supporters at the moment was to leave, there is still much behind the scenes that needs addressing. Professional footballers playing in the Premier League tend to be given a pretty poor press and today, with their club in disarray off the pitch, our team face opponents who were frighteningly good in demolishing Spurs last week – they will, almost certainly, lose and, possibly, very heavily. However, apart from one or maybe two cases, I don’t think anybody could complain about the honesty, attitude and commitment they’ve shown so far this season towards the club that pays their wages – I don’t expect anything different today, if only a few others at the club had the same mind set.

* picture courtesy of

This entry was posted in Down in the dugout, Up in the Boardroom and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Slapstick club just keeps on delivering.

  1. Mike says:

    A very good article, thank you.

    I too had no real qualms about the colour change as long as the Bluebird remained. I’ve even bought a red shirt!! However the past two weeks have really go to me. I will not wear red again, I’ve dug my Bluebirds Van’s Direct shirt out ready for Boxing Day. A small and insignificant jester I know, but Tan can’t stop me doing that can he!!

  2. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Thanks very much Mike.

    I’ve worn a blue shirt to every game since the rebrand and there were certainly matches where I thought I was making a “small and insignificant” gesture. However, things have changed a lot since “scarfgate” I believe and, if you are changing your habits because of what has happened this week, then I reckon there will be plenty of others who will be doing the same.

  3. graham smith says:

    Thank you. Sadly after 55 years a Bluebirds supporter I have wondered if I could turn my back on my team. I guess I never will but it is increasingly difficult with Tan as owner. Enjoy the Newport game.

  4. Lyn says:

    Another excellent Blog that perfectly sums up my own feelings for the club I’ve supported for nearly 40 years. The only consolation is that I’ll still be here after Tan has left assuming there’s still a club to support.

  5. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Thank you for those comments Lyn and Graham. Well, it’s 12.25 as I type this and so I think Malky should make it to kick off – has a manager ever been sacked during the course of the game before?

    I think we’d be able to find a buyer if Tan left as long as we are still in this division, but I can’t help thinking he’s in too deep now for him leaving to be an option – that said, one thing he isn’t is predictable!

    The three County matches I’ve seen so far this season have all been pretty entertaining, so I suppose I’m due a poor one Graham – still be good to see how Deji is doing and I might get to see Kevin Sainte-Luce as well.

  6. Retsub says:

    Nice article well written

    Hi Arsenal supporter here, just logged on to wish Cardiff well today for two reasons

    1 the obvious one hope you stuff Liverpool

    Two. Hope you sort this mess out. It’s a great shame that having finally reached the prem, all the supporters pleasure is ruined by this guys ego. Hope to see the Bluebirds flying again soon.

  7. Yellow Peril says:

    As a Wimbledon FC and now devout AFC Wimbledon I feel your pain, but you are not helpless. These owners are all about money and fame, make them uncomfortable. They might own the club on paper but it’s yours, work together and reclaim it. As one of our fans said after our shit with Haman and Coppel ‘I just want to watch football’ come an join the fan owned revolution, the destination might not be as grand as the Premier league but the journey through the leagues and the (generally) honest clubs and fans you meet along the way make it worthwhile. Best of luck from all Wombles

  8. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Sorry for not being able to deliver with the result you wanted Retsub – you’ll probably be getting three points off us on New Years Day mind!
    Thanks very much to you and Yellow Peril for your comments – I really enjoy having responses from supporters of other sides on here.
    Result apart, yesterday was a good day. Our support yesterday was superb

    and you’d like to think certain people have been made to stop and think a little.

  9. Retsub says:

    Thanks the other Bob. Despite the result your boys, both team and fans put on a good show. It seems to me that Tan will go sooner rather than later. Unless he is involved in an Asian betting scandal I doubt he will get any support from Wales or Asia. Whoever takes over will no doubt change the shirt and badge back to gain popularity. Hope he makes a big loss and you get someone who cares about the team and it’s fans

    Good luck for the rest of the season

  10. Dai Woosnam says:

    A typically thoughtful piece from you.
    It made me re-consider my position re Mr Tan.
    Not sure that I am anywhere near as firm in my convictions as yourself Paul, or our friends who have commented above on your excellent article.
    Let me try and give you my mindset right now. And I promise not to play Devil’s Advocate. It probably runs counter to the view of the majority, but that is no problem. Being in a minority of one has never bothered me, or made me feel that ipso facto, I must be wrong then.
    Re-reading the last para, I note I have used the word “mindset”. Strike that word out! For in truth, there is nothing “set” about my mind at all. I am open to persuasion that I am wrong in my instinctive feelings, but here are those feelings. In no particular order of priority.
    1. Shirt colour. I regard it as a nonsense. I am old enough to remember the Leeds of the young John Charles playing in yellow and blue shirts. I do not recall a revolt at Elland Road when Don Revie switched to the all white of Real Madrid? What is the difference to Mr Tan wanting to switch to the red of Man Utd (not to mention, the red of WALES)? When we met in Fairwater in July, Paul, you were looking resplendent in your replica shirt of the original colours (chocolate and amber quarters). Lovely colours. Much more distinctive than blue.
    I wonder whether there was a brouhaha in circa 1908 when the change to blue was mooted? Will somebody please search the archives of the South Wales Echo? I bet there wasn’t, you know.
    You might say, yes Dai, but we were no longer Riverside FC but now CARDIFF CITY, so a change of colours would be more appropriate with a new identity.
    But let me impishly say that CCFC will soon follow Hull Tigers and become Cardiff Dragons. So therefore red is in order: who ever heard of a blue dragon?
    I am reconsidering one thing though: much has been made of late of the fact that because so many fans embraced the move from blue to red, Mr Tan took that as a sign that he could make even more changes. I had never thought about that. History tells us. A case of get away with invading Czechoslovakia today, and we will invade Poland tomorrow.
    Yes, I can see the argument.
    But I am not sure that I actually buy it.
    2. MotD last night put their finger on whole the Tan thing by saying he looked like a “pantomime villain”. Spot on! Dark glasses, sinister moustache, black leather gloves.
    But I would submit that the operative word in that two word description is the first one. Pantomime. I am not sure he is a real villain. But his new friend Sam Hammam scares the bejesus out of me.
    A pity that TG is no longer in Tan’s Cardiff City employ. That guy would never have allowed this mess to fester. BTW, do we know why he left?
    3. There was a Cardiff fan on the radio yesterday who said “actually Malky is only an average manager”. I could not believe it. The voice of sanity at last!
    What he is is a fantastic LEADER OF MEN. You could imagine him storming the Nazi gun positions on the cliffs at Omaha Beach! But as a football tactician and coach he is very lacking.
    I have been calling for Noone to play from Day One this season and also opined that Mutch should be the first name on the teamsheet. Why has it taken him so long?
    I bet the star player for Derby last season (who has disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle at the Vale of Glamorgan) now wishes he had stayed where he was, as both clubs are likely to pass one another as they change divisions next summer!
    I think Tan is right that Malky has overspent in the summer.
    Gary Medel and Steven Caulker were grossly overpriced. Only Brayford and Catherine-Theophile seem about right. The jury is of course out on the Great Dane.
    4. Of course, if the egregious DJ returns, then Vincent Tan will really identify himself as the true antichrist in my eyes!
    5. Who leaked the “Tan email” info? Bet it was not Tan’s side.
    Could the leaking of it and getting all his managerial chums and the UK media onboard, be down to a member of Malky PLC? It would not surprise me. That way Malky gets a huge payoff. (Do you realise that Roberto di Matteo has been doing nothing and still getting £100K a week from WBA for the last two years!)
    It thus makes sense for Malky to get into a gun duel with his owner, and to see who blinks first. Put yourself in a position where Mr Tan HAS to sack you (or else risk seeming not man enough: something out-of-the-question in macho-mad Malaysia, where they savagely cane you for just littering the highway!)
    But I have news for Brendan Rodgers: Malky will never become a manager at a big big club in a thousand years. He does not have your coaching flair, Brendan, nice guy though he is.
    6. As for the “nice guy”: ask yourself who you would rather have as a neighbour. MM or DJ? No contest is there? Malky every time.
    But I was slightly perturbed to hear TalkSport’s Roger Hughes say on that channel recently that Malky has banned him from press conferences since last Spring. Eh? Roger Hughes is the sort of chap without an enemy in the world. He would not say boo to a goose, and if a goose said boo to him he would break down in tears.
    Could it thus be that Malky is not the avuncular chap he seems?
    I shall have to ask Robert Earnshaw.
    Happy Christmas, Paul.
    I will enjoy Christmas morning reading your book, which I have been told that someone is giving me as a Christmas present.

  11. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Thanks for the reply Retsub – my feeling is that we are stuck with Tan for some time yet, but, as I set earlier, he’s hardly predictable so maybe you’re right.

  12. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Nice to hear from you Dai. Sorry, but I’ve not really got the time to give your reply the attention it deserves at the moment, so here are my quick thoughts;-

    1. Our colours, I think the difference between 1908 and now is that chocolate and amber weren’t what we had been wearing for more than a century – the club had built up a heritage in blue that wasn’t there in the earlier kit (I’d say the same applies, albeit to a lesser extent, with Leeds’ change in the 60’s).
    2. With Hammam, I don’t see him as being that influential any more, but I’ve nothing concrete to base that on. Tan cannot be mad surely, but, in terms of football judgement and knowledge, I think he is not far short of it.
    3. We’re never going to agree on this one. I’m not saying Malky is a brilliant tactician, but he’s quite a bit better than you give him credit for – Medel certainly played as if he was over priced yesterday (his recent away performances haven’t been great), but he was very good against West Brom, Caulker I think is worth every penny we paid for him (not at his best yesterday though).
    4. Don’t think it’s likely to happen, but Tan is listening to what Dave Jones has to say apparently.
    5. I think someone has definitely been leaking info on Malky’s side.
    6. In my piece today I said there has to be more to Malky than just being a “nice guy” for him to have done as well in management as he has up to now – with regard to him banning anyone from Talkshite, I’m with him all the way on that, it should have earned him an extension to his contract and a pay rise, instead he’s facing the sack!
    Merry Christmas Dai and a Happy New Year.

Comments are closed.