According to the BBC, the relationship between Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan and Bluebirds’ manager Malky Mackay appears to have hit a point of no return. In an email sent to the manager on Monday, Tan reportedly detailed a series of issues he has with the 41-year-old’s management, issuing Mackay an ultimatum: resign, or be fired.
A spokesman for Cardiff City told the BBC that the club “is not part to any letter sent from one person to another,” which could be seen as convenient wording (alluding to letters instead of emails). Regardless, the detail in the BBC’s report is convincing:
In a letter emailed to Mackay on Monday, it is understood Tan listed in depth his grievances with the Scot.
Tan criticised 41-year-old Mackay at length in a range of areas, such as signings, transfer budgets, results on the pitch and style of play.
The Malaysian businessman also questioned the former Watford manager’s record as a boss.
That transfer budget was supposed to be just over $57 million, though reports claim additional fees and commitments saw Cardiff commit over $81 million before the close of the summer window. The Bluebirds did purchase Gary Medel, Steven Caulker, and Andreas Cornelius, but Mackay and former head of recruitment Iain Moody deny they went over budget.
After their weekend win over West Bromwich Albion, Cardiff City sit four points clear of the Premier League’s relegation zone, having collected 17 points in 16 games. Their attack, however, ranks 18th in the league with only 12 goals, while the Bluebirds’ defense has conceded 22 times (14th in the league).
The tension over this summer’s spending recently resurfaced when Mackay claimed he would like to add three new players in the January window. Tan, however, said that the summer’s overspending leaves no room for new signings, a sentiment echoed in a Monday statement issued through club chief executive Simon Lim:
“Tan Sri Vincent Tan was extremely upset to read quotes from the manager concerning the possibility of new recruits, before he had been informed whether funds would be made available.
“He believes that doing so unfairly raises supporter expectations, placing unnecessary pressure on the club.
“His view is that due to the funds already committed, including the originally-authorised summer transfer budget of £35m that rose to £50m in total, including add-ons, the manager has been fully supported.
At this point, Mackay’s departure seems inevitable. Tan wants him to resign, but for financial reasons (and probably out of loyalty to a team he got promoted), Mackay’s going to try to avoid that.
Yet with Monday’s letter, the Scotsman moves closer to being able to make a case for constructive dismissal. If Mackay can assert Tan’s pressure is creating an unreasonable work experience, he can walk away from his deal while still being entitled to the money Cardiff owes him.
Between Monday’s public shaming and the private email, it’s clear Mackay’s employers are trying to make his professional life miserable. At this point, via constructive dismissal or “gardening leave,” this relationship needs to end, even if it’s unclear that would help the team on the field.