LONDON – If revenge is a dish best served cold, Vincent Tan’s retribution on his former Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay came straight from the freezer.
The Cardiff owner effectively ended Mackay’s career in football after a series of events straight out of the Sopranos. The Malaysian is undoubtedly a good friend, but a very bad enemy as Mackay continues to find out.
Mackay was sacked by Tan last December after guiding Cardiff to the Premier League. The Scot launched a £7.5 million lawsuit against Tan, but mysteriously Mackay not only dropped the claim, he issued a public apology to his former employer. To say this was unexpected is an understatement.
Journalistic noses twitched as a drip-drip of allegations started concerning financial discrepancies regarding eight Cardiff transfers while Mackay was in charge. Tan believes the true market value of the players was nearer £30 million than the £50 million Cardiff paid. Payments to agents involved in the deals have been withheld, plus one to an agent of whom no trace can be found regarding the transfer in question.
As Mackay was on the verge of being named Crystal Palace manager earlier this week, Tan struck like a silent assassin. Palace discovered that Cardiff had sent evidence gathered by Mishcon de Reya, a firm of legal investigators which specializes in such matters, to the Football Association alleging Mackay and Iain Moody, the Palace sporting director who was head of recruitment at Cardiff, had sent a series of sexist, racist and homophobic texts.
If true, and the Daily Mail would hardly have published these vile texts without absolute proof of their authenticity, it spells the end for Mackay and Moody, who resigned from his post at Palace on Thursday, in football.
The pair have slid out of the sport in disgrace and unless they can prove they did not send the texts — the entire cast of Perry Mason and L.A. Law would struggle to get them off this one — they will be remembered as racist, sexist and homophobic. A tattoo they will carry which will make them unemployable.
English football has made great strides to eliminate such sub-culture attitudes, but naming and shaming those whose knuckles still drag along the sidewalk is the best way to show such behavior cannot and will not be accepted.
The problem the F.A. has is that it cannot charge Mackay and Moody until they return to a job in football. As it is unthinkable any club would employ such damaged goods they will probably escape sanction, though in many ways they have a life sentence.
It is staggeringly naive and unlawful for anyone to use a company phone or computer to send abusive messages because they can always be traced back. But if your arrogance matches your attitude toward foreigners, women and homosexuals, you probably believe you are untouchable.
The pair may not come under the jurisdiction of the F.A. if they are not employed in football, but no one should underestimate Tan pursuing legal action against them.
His next dish is no doubt already in the freezer.
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OVER THE past five years, Manchester United have spent £300 million on 18 players. It is too early to judge summer arrivals Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo while the jury is still out on £37 million Juan Mata.
Antonio Valencia, David de Gea and Robin van Persie have proved wise investments, but Gabriel Obertan, Chris Smalling, Bebe, Anders Lindegaard, Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Nick Powell, Shinji Kagawa, Wilfried Zaha, Guillermo Vanela and Marouane Fellaini are not up to the standard demanded at Old Trafford.
David Moyes was heavily criticized for his transfer market activity, or rather the lack of it, but the current plight of United began when Sir Alex Ferguson was manager. He brought in too many average players while Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, were still playing with their combined ages 78.
With just over a week until the transfer window closes, Louis van Gaal is battling to bring in top class recruits because without Champions League football, United is far from the attraction of old. The best players tend to go to the biggest clubs and while United remains a money machine commercially, in a football sense the club’s fall from grace has been alarming.
United will be encouraged that Sami Khedira has refused the offer of a new contract by Real Madrid and Angel di Maria has asked to leave the European champions. It is players of this caliber the Reds need, not Jones and Smalling.
The Reds were poor in losing 2-1 to Swansea last weekend, and Saturday’s visit to Sunderland represents a giant banana skin. Few would be surprised if United lost, a remarkable turnaround for a team that was champions 15 months ago.
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LUIS SUAREZ’S agent, Pere Guardiola, was paid £2.2 million by Barcelona for facilitating the striker’s transfer from Liverpool to the La Liga giant.
Liverpool was willing to sell the Uruguayan, Barcelona wanted to buy him and Suarez couldn’t wait to sign. I may be wrong, but it does not seem to me that the brother of Bayern Munich coach, Pep, had to do a great deal to close the deal.
Very nice work if you can get it.
Christopher Davies was a longtime Premier League correspondent for the London Daily Telegraph.