Malky Mackay was sacked as manager of Cardiff City on Friday afternoon, as club owner Vincent Tan finally issued him with his P45.
The Scot has enjoyed an immensely successful time during his stint at the Welsh side, which began when he succeeded Dave Jones in the summer of 2011. He has since led them to the League Cup final in the same year, in which they lost to Liverpool at Wembley, and more significantly, promotion to the Premier League last season.
And the Bluebirds have fared well upon their long-awaited return to the top-flight, although recent results have left them just one point above the relegation zone. It is not unreasonable to suggest this dip in form is as a result of off-field turbulence, with Mackay being the victim of some strange decisions by owner Tan.
Aside from changing the colour of Cardiff’s kit from blue to red last season, a decision which continues to alienate a large number of their supporters, the Malaysian businessman damaged his relationship with Mackay when he took the decision, without the manager’s knowledge, to sack head of recruitment Iain Moody earlier this season.
Tan has also questioned the summer activity in the transfer market, which saw £15million spent on players, despite some – such as Gary Medel, Steven Caulker and Kevin Theophile-Catherine – so far proving good acquisitions. Mackay had hoped to add to his squad in the New Year, but was publicly told by the owner that he would be unable to do so.
The dispute between the pair reached a peak last week when Tan sent an email to Mackay demanding he resign or be sacked, and with the Scot refusing to hand in his notice, he was finally relieved of his duties on Friday. This came 24 hours after the 3-0 home defeat to Southampton, before which fans protested at the treatment of the 41-year-old boss.
“It is with the deepest and most sincere regret that I today confirm my sacking as manager of Cardiff City FC,” Mackay said. “As disappointing as today’s decision is, I am already able to look back at my time at Cardiff City Football Club with immense pride and joy given the number of milestones the club achieved during the last two-and-half years.
“A League Cup Final appearance followed by promotion to the Premiership for the very first time, achieved as winners of the Championship, allowed the club a move back to this elite level after a 51-year absence. I have enjoyed my time immensely at this fine club, in this great city. I would like to thank my players, all of my staff, all the people behind the scenes at the club and most importantly the people of Cardiff, who have stood behind me throughout my time here and especially in these recent turbulent months.
“I leave with my head held high having gained a level of experience that, upon reflection, I suspect would have been difficult to find anywhere else in British football. The foundations laid at Cardiff City Football Club will provide a solid platform for my successor, and for the sake of the club, I hope that all of the progress that has been made so far will not be impaired in any way by today’s enforced changes.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Manchester United legend, has been installed as favourite to succeed Mackay, following an impressive start to management with Molde in his homeland. He has led the Norwegian club to successive league titles, yet it remains to be seen if he would be willing to leave them for a potentially problematic job with Tan. Sven Goran Eriksson, the former England coach, is also said to be in the running.