New twist in Cardiff City saga as Malky Mackay misses press conference

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Cardiff City’s owner Vincent Tan is public enemy number one in the Welsh capital right now.

And he’s not exactly getting rave reviews across the rest of the soccer world either….

On Thursday Cardiff’s eccentric billionaire owner demanded that the Bluebirds hugely popular manager Malky Mackay should either “resign or he will be sacked” after Mackay simply said he will talk to the owners about potential targets in the January transfer window and what funds would be available to spend.

Tan, who has already incensed Cardiff’s supporters by switching the club colors from blue to red to help shirt sales in his homeland of Malaysia, has been outspoken against his manager Mackay in the past, has fired the clubs head of recruitment Ian Moody without Mackay’s permission and this could be the last twist in a disturbing tale.

If you want to know how not to run a soccer club, Tan is your man.

Word on the street is that Tan has sent a long-list of complaints to Mackay in an email and off the back of that Cardiff’s manager did not attend the pregame press conference on Friday morning. Instead Mackay’s assistant David Kerslake handled the questions before the away game at Liverpool on Saturday, but the presser lasted just over five minutes as angry journalists demanded to know what was going on. Kerslake only answered questions about the game vs. Liverpool on Saturday and turned down any questions about Mackay’s future and how bad this was making the club look.

(MORE: Report – Cardiff City owner tells manager to quit or be fired)

The local press were banned from blogging or tweeting about the events live as Mackay was said to be at training… yet others had seen him driving away from Cardiff’s Vale of Glamorgan Resort training ground.

According to sources within the club, Mackay is expected to be in charge for the game against Liverpool on Saturday but how can he and his players concentrate on the job in hand when all of this is going on?

Other Premier League managers across the country have stood up in defense of Mackay, after his side have acquitted themselves superbly following the teams first-ever promotion to the Premier League last season. People can’t believe the way he’s been treated.

(MORE: Premier League Standings)

But it seems despite all of Mackay’s sterling work, after a solid start to Cardiff’s first season in the top-flight for decades, isn’t to the liking of some people. Well, one man and that’s Tan. It beggars belief that he thinks another manager could do a better job than Mackay on such a small budget but apparently he does and has already contacted four potential replacements for the talented Scottish manager.

A meeting with the board of directors has been scheduled for Friday afternoon, when everything is said to be coming to a head. We all know the Premier League is mad… but this takes it to a whole new level.

Wigan player races off for son’s birth after scoring 2 goals

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WIGAN, England (AP) It was better than a hat trick.

A player for English soccer team Wigan had a night to remember when he scored his second goal before dashing off the field and to the local hospital, where his girlfriend was in labor.

[ MORE: Chelsea advances to UCL Round of 16 after win over Qarabag ]

A picture of Ryan Colclough holding his new-born baby, Harley, while still in his soccer uniform was shared on social media by Wigan chairman David Sharpe.

Colclough said his father, sitting in the stands on Tuesday for Wigan’s 3-0 win over Doncaster in the second division, “gave me the action that the waters had broken,” but he didn’t want to come off until the ball was out of play.

“My head was a little bit battered, but I went and scored, looked at the manager and he said we’ll bring you off now,” Colclough said Wednesday of his 58th-minute goal, which he celebrated by pretending to rock a baby. “I came off and was straight down the tunnel, grabbed my keys and my phone, and went to hospital.”

Colclough had visited the midwife that day, and was told the baby was unlikely to arrive for “another couple of days.”

Lille suspends coach Marcelo Bielsa

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LILLE, France (AP) French club Lille has provisionally suspended coach Marcelo Bielsa following a string of poor results in the top tier.

[ MORE: Basel stuns Man United late to keep UCL hopes alive ]

The northern side said in a statement that Bielsa has been suspended “as part of a procedure started by the club.” Lille did not elaborate.

Bielsa joined Lille this season but has failed to make the club competitive again, with the team second to last after 13 matches.

The 2 Robbies podcast: PL sides in the UCL, Pulis sacking and more

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In today’s Euro Pod Edition, the Robbies breakdown the latest Champions League action. Man United lose at Basel, Chelsea cruise at Qarabag, Spurs impress against Dortmund, Man City continue to win, Liverpool surrender a 3-goal lead against Sevilla. Plus, the guys weigh in on the Oumar Niasse ban for diving and the Tony Pulis sacking.

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

Europa League preview: Arsenal looks to wrap up Group H and more

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While several teams have already booked their place in the knockout phase, the Europa League reaches its penultimate round on Thursday with many big matches in hand.

[ MORE: Yannick Bolasie finally returns to Everton training ]

Of the two Premier League sides in the competition, only one will advance to the Round of 32, as Arsenal have all but assured themselves of the top spot in Group H. The Gunners can do so tomorrow with a win over Koln or a Red Star Belgrade defeat.

The other end of the spectrum features Everton, who has already been eliminated from reaching the next round after acquiring just one point in its first four matches.

European giants AC Milan can lock up a spot in the knockout phase on Thursday despite the club’s ongoing struggles in Serie A, while fellow Italian side Atalanta can move a step closer to the Round of 32 in Group E along with Lyon.

Here’s the full rundown of Thursday’s UEL matches.

Astana vs. Villareal — 11 a.m. ET
Konyaspor vs. Marseille — 1 p.m. ET
Rosenborg vs. Real Sociedad — 1 p.m. ET
Lazio vs. Vitesse — 1 p.m. ET
Viktoria Plzen vs. Steaua Bucuresti — 1 p.m. ET
Lokomotiv vs. Copenhagen — 1 p.m. ET
Zenit vs. Vardar — 1 p.m. ET
Red Bull Salzburg vs. Vitoria — 1 p.m. ET
Athletic Bilbao vs. Hertha Berlin — 1 p.m. ET
BATE vs. Red Star Belgrade — 1 p.m. ET
Ostersund vs. Zorya — 1 p.m. ET
Koln vs. Arsenal — 1 p.m. ET
Nice vs. Zulte Waregem — 1 p.m. ET
Lugano vs. Beer-Sheva — 1 p.m. ET
Ludogorets vs. Istanbul — 3:05 p.m. ET
Braga vs. Hoffenheim — 3:05 p.m. ET
AEK vs. Rijeka — 3:05 p.m. ET
AC Milan vs. Austria Wien — 3:05 p.m. ET
Lyon vs. Apollon — 3:05 p.m. ET
Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Slavia Praha — 3:05 p.m. ET
Sheriff vs. Zlin — 3:05 p.m. ET
Partizan vs. Young Boys — 3:05 p.m. ET
Skenderbeu vs. Dynamo Kyiv — 3:05 p.m. ET
Everton vs. Atalanta — 3:05 p.m. ET