Vincent Tan Is Making Cardiff a Laughing Stock, and That's Just Bad Marketing

Nick MillerFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2013

CARDIFF, WALES - AUGUST 25:  Cardiff City owner Tan Sri Dr Vincent Tan looks on before the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Manchester City at Cardiff City Stadium on August 25, 2013 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Vincent Tan is a businessman. He'd like you to know that. He is such a keen businessman that he changed Cardiff City's shirt colour from blue to red because he thought it would increase revenue for the club in Asia, specifically his home country of Malaysia, because red is a luckier/more marketable colour in that part of the world.

That some fans were happy to swallow this and purchase the new scarlet jerseys says plenty about what some will put up with for success.

And success is one thing that has undeniably come under Tan's tenure—while it would be too much to give him all the credit, Cardiff cruised to promotion last season and, on the pitch, have made a solid start to their Premier League campaign.

They may be only four points clear of the relegation zone, but for a newly-promoted club, they have done reasonably well.

Of course, there is room for improvement and with the January transfer window looming, Malky Mackay sees a chance to do this, specifically by strengthening his squad. He said, as quoted by Sky Sports last week:

It would be great if we can bring in three quality additions to the squad. I would look to strengthen all three departments in terms of a defender, a midfielder and an attacking player.

I will talk to my chairman (about January) who will then discuss it with his board of directors and our owner and I will take my lead from them.

It's up to them then what financially they want to spend in January. I've got my lists of players, whether they be permanent targets or loans for various positions. We've got to try and strengthen again.

This didn't go down well with the board, who responded with some gusto. Chief executive Simon Lim said on Sky Sports:

His (Vincent Tan's) 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.

The overspending of £15m has upset Tan Sri greatly, resulting in the removal on Iain Moody as head of recruitment. As such, he has stated that not a single penny will be made available in January.

Having been the highest-spending promoted club and the seventh-highest spender in the Premier League last summer, the owner believes that the manager has been given the best possible chance of retaining our Premier League status.

CARDIFF, WALES - DECEMBER 14:  Cardiff manager Malky MacKay looks on prior to the Premier League match between Cardiff City and West Bromwich Albion at Cardiff City Stadium on December 14, 2013 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

The first thing to ask is why, if Tan and the board were unhappy with the £15 million overspend, it was authorised in the first place? Moody didn't dip his fingers into the till and pay for Steven Caulker with used fivers—someone further up the chain of command must have said OK.

If the board didn't want to spend that money, they didn't have to. And they certainly didn't have to undermine their manager consistently and publicly to the point where the only conclusion that can be reached is that they're trying to get him to resign.

Mackay must be somewhere close to the end of his tether, but he has stated that he will not quit—and why should he? He has done an excellent job at Cardiff and, by the looks of things, without any sort of moral backing from his employers.

One wonders why Tan is doing this. Sure, no megalomaniac employer likes a truculent underling, but if they're that unhappy with Mackay, why not just fire him?

As it is, with his autocratic behaviour and bizarre decisions and statements, Tan is making Cardiff look like a laughing stock.

And as a businessman, Vincent Tan should know that's just bad marketing.