What a day!

CoymayFriday 9 May was the day the South Wales Echo nailed it’s colours to the anti red mast.  This editorial called for a return to blue, the paper had also set up an online petition where supporters could back the claim for a return to our traditional kit and there was even a free “We’ll always be blue” poster for people to take to Sunday’s final match of the season against Chelsea to display at the time of the 19.27 protest which has now become the norm at every first team game.

For a few hours, the Echo’s decision was the talk of the messageboards with some claiming the paper’s change of heart came two years too late and others prepared to welcome the latest convert to the anti rebrand cause, but all of that was to change around lunchtime as a new story emerged which pulled off the almost unheard of trick of making the morning’s hot story yesterday’s news by the afternoon – if you get what I mean!

I’d heard the view that Malky Mackay’s claim for compensation against the club after his sacking, which was due to be heard in July I believe, would never reach court because there would be a settlement between the parties before then. I agreed with this opinion, but, even so, it still came as a complete shock to learn, via a statement released by our former manager’s lawyers, that the case has been dropped – with this bit especially taken the eye.

“‘If I have caused any offence to anyone during this time, especially to Vincent Tan, then I apologise without reservation.”

This sense of surprise grew a few hours later when the Daily Mail (the paper that has usually got things right in the last year or so when it comes to Cardiff City matters) claimed that Mr Mackay would “receive nothing as part of an out-of-court settlement and will pay his own legal fees”. It did not end there either, Iain Moody (who was pursuing a similar claim to Mackay) was reported to have reached a settlement with the club as well and there was also a similarly worded apology to our owner included in his statement.

With there having been persistent rumours circulating since Moody left the club about dodgy dealings regarding the Andreas Cornelius transfer in particular, there were those who concluded that the lack of compensation paid to the ex employees of the club and the wording used by Messrs Mackay and Moody offered confirmation that there was some substance to the gossip. Others were not convinced as the Daily Mail’s claims were rubbished and the possibility of Mackay being appointed manager at Norwich (or even West Ham where Sam Allardyce’s future is in some doubt) was raised as a reason why our former manager might be in a hurry to get a settlement.

In happier times. Malky Mackay and Vincent Tan celebrate after the 2012 League Cup Semi Final win over Crystal Palace - hopefully, yesterday's news really does signal an end to a dispute that blighted the 2013/14 season.

In happier times. Malky Mackay and Vincent Tan celebrate after the 2012 League Cup Semi Final win over Crystal Palace – hopefully, yesterday’s news really does signal an end to a dispute that blighted the 2013/14 season.

What I’ll say on the matter is that, to my non expert eyes at least, it seems to me that Messrs Mackay and Moody do not come out of this looking that good.  Now, it needs to be said that, as far as I’m aware, the club have only ever said there was an overspend (in the region of £15 million) on last summer’s transfer dealings – no other public allegations have been made. Mackay and Moody responded to the overspend claims by denying that this was the case – indeed, Mr Moody maintained their summer spending had been £4 million under the agreed budget in this article.

Is Mackay’s apology to Vincent Tan in particular for possibly causing offence and Moody’s reference to his part in any mistakes made at the club during his time at Cardiff an admission of guilt on their part with regards to those rumours I mentioned earlier? Well, I’d say it might be reasonable to conclude that Vincent Tan’s claims regarding the transfer overspend might have some truth to them based on yesterday’s statements, but I certainly wouldn’t take it any further than that on the evidence we have at the moment.

Let’s not forget either that just because the Daily Mail has been right about Cardiff City in the past, it doesn’t automatically follow that they are this time and I see the Daily Telegraph  has a different take on things today with it’s mention of the parties “having reached a financial settlement that is not believed to include any compensation.”. 

While the apologies of the two men were the most eye catching parts of the statements, I believe another very important part of them both are the references to settlement agreements. On the face of it a “settlement agreement” is a self explanatory term and  I’ll admit that, in these circumstances, I assumed that it would include some sort of financial arrangement. As it turns out though, “settlement arrangement” isn’t some sort of arbitrary term that has been plucked out of the air, it is a recognised part of arbitration procedure. Indeed, ACAS has produced guidelines on settlement agreements which may have some relevance to this case – parts that took my eye include;

“They usually include some form of payment to the employee…”

“They are voluntary.”


“Where the employer and employee are unable to reach an agreement, the settlement discussions cannot usually be referred to as evidence in any subsequent unfair dismissal claim. Where the settlement discussions are held to resolve an existing dispute between the parties they cannot be used as evidence in any type of claim.”

Perhaps someone better qualified than me can confirm or deny whether that last bit means that once the parties decided to go down the settlement agreement route, the issues at the heart of their dispute were never going to form part of any subsequent hearing?

Trying to read between the lines, it seems to me that one party received legal advice that they stood very little chance of winning their claim on the evidence to hand and the other insisted on certain conditions being included before they would put their name to the legal document which would signal an end to the dispute. Under these terms, the employee(s) would, almost certainly, have to settle for less compensation (or possibly none at all).

Does this all mean that Mackay and Moody did overspend on the agreed transfer budget? No, I don’t think it’s conclusive proof that they did, but, as I mentioned before, it now seems to me to be reasonable to believe that the Tan version of events (£15 million overspend) is more likely to be correct than the Mackay/Moody one (£4 million underspend).

However, something else that was mentioned at the height of the dispute last autumn was that the club had signed off on all of the transfers which had resulted in the alleged overspend. I have said before on here that I struggle to understand how the club’s administrative staff could have agreed to the Theophile-Catherine and Odemwingie transfers at the end of August/early September having already given the okay to the controversial Cornelius transfer and the huge, by Cardiff standards, Caulker and Medel deals that followed it – a good proportion of the overspend could have been avoided if someone had realised that transfer spending was already over the budget set by the club.

If, as yesterday’s news would suggest, Mackay and Moody messed up, then this doesn’t alter the fact that others did in the episode as well – the more you learn about Cardiff City during 2013/14, the more you struggle to find anyone who carried out their duties to a satisfactory level.







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6 Responses to What a day!

  1. Dai Woosnam says:

    You are so right Paul re the Daily Mail’s excellent track record on CCFC this past 12 months.

    What can say?

    Let me collect my thoughts …

    Well, well, well.
    Those of us who thought all along that Malky was ALWAYS playing the “what’s right for Malky PLC” game, have been vindicated.
    I reckon that Moody and Mackay can consider themselves VERY lucky boys that City have not called in the authorities.
    As for the Echo turning blue for the day: I think it very sad that a once proud newspaper should try to be so shamelessly populist in an attempt to shore up its haemorrhaging circulation.
    In view of the fact that Vincent has been vindicated, it is time to go to an immediate red edition in the man’s honour.
    Suddenly the Bond villain has morphed into the first Malaysian James Bond! Why not? We’ve had 007 played by Englishmen, a Scotsman, an Irishman, an Aussie …and even a Welshman in Timothy Dalton.


  2. The other Bob Wilson says:

    Morning Dai – to borrow from you, what can I say?

  3. Graham says:

    .. like so many matters concerning our owner’s behaviour, the apologies parts of the statements are just a step too far for belief .. so here’s some pure speculation :
    aim : to be free of court cases and able to go on to other things .. T & M quarrel; T makes gift of huge sum to M absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with quarrel; T & M decide fed up with quarrel and agree to end it. The end.

  4. Dai Woosnam says:

    Thanks, Paul.
    Yes, as you say, yesterday was a day to remember.
    I think the most telling thing here is the fact that
    (a) it was such an abject apology
    (b) …and this is the most telling aspect …
    that both men have left without a penny in compensation and amazingly are paying all their own legal costs!
    People do not do that unless they are guilty BIGTIME.
    It is so redolent of George Graham and those two Scandinavian transfers.
    Lucky for him, Arsenal never called in the authorities.

  5. Alan Higgs says:

    Having seen my first game as a schoolboy on 21 September 1946 my ongoing support for the Club has been a rollercoaster ride with many owners over the years making a pig’s ear of the job. How many supporters can remember Tony Clemo’s time in control of the Club when the final game in the 4th Division saw a crowd of just 1510.
    Vincent Tan is portrayed as a pantomime villain yet he took over the Club when it was on the brink of Administration and pumped a fortune into making the Club worth supporting again in a big way.
    Too many supporters have little or no knowledge of the past without as a result realising how lucky we all are to have Vincent Tan picking up the bills.

  6. Dai Woosnam says:

    I have been away all week on the Isle of Sheppey and have just seen the profound truth expressed by Alan Higgs.
    Well said, sir!
    Frankly, the ungrateful rabble who have shamefully dissed Vincent Tan ever since he imposed his daft* shirt colour change, are not worthy of him.
    I am not sure I want my pulse to quicken when City attack/defend anymore. They are alienating me from the only team I have ever supported.
    It will serve them right if Vincent pulls the plug and TOTALLY decamps back to Malaysia.
    Nobody has ever done what this guy has done …flown halfway across the world for at least half the games this season.
    Contrast this with Villa’s American owner who has seen three games in the last two seasons!
    * but thoroughly unimportant to anyone other than colour fetishists.

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