Cardiff owner Vincent Tan admitted he sacked manager Malky Mackay on Friday because the Scot was airing the Premier League club's "dirty linen" in public. Mackay's acrimonious departure was the inevitable result of his turbulent relationship with Malaysian tycoon Tan, who had last week granted the Bluebirds boss a reprieve despite sending him an e-mail demanding he resign or be sacked.
That ultimatum was briefly lifted when chairman Mehmet Dalman stated Mackay would be in charge for the "forseeable future", but the 3-0 Boxing Day defeat against Southampton proved to be Mackay's last in charge. Mackay had often said he has felt sorry for the club's fans as Cardiff have found themselves in the headlines for the wrong reasons on several occasions.
But Tan laid the blame for that with Mackay, who he believes attempted to garner sympathy from the Cardiff supporters with some of his comments about the club's owners.
"There has been a good deal of publicity generated by, and about, Mr Malky Mackay for the last few months," Tan said in a statement. "Indeed, far too much dirty linen has been exposed to the public gaze but, I stress, not by me. "Indeed, I have deliberately not responded to this, hoping that the club can be judged on its football rather than personalised arguments about who said what to whom. "I have, however, regretfully concluded that it is no longer fair to the club, its players, its fans and the public more generally for this uncomfortable state of affairs to continue. "Cardiff City Football Club means far too much to us all for it to be distracted by this."
Tan's controversial email had included a list of grievances with the former Watford manager, and Mackay said he had been left "deeply upset" by its content. There has been ill-feeling between the two since Tan's removal of Iain Moody as his head of recruitment in October, and the owner was said to be furious at Mackay's hopes of adding to his squad in January, which resulted in last week's incendiary email. Mackay had twice requested a meeting with Tan and Dalman this week in order to discuss their differences, but the Scot revealed the Malaysian had turned them down
He refused to step down however but it looked like the axe would fall after last Saturday's 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield, until the reprieve which was to prove short-lived. Mackay, who has been linked with the vacancy at West Brom, had launched a staunch defence of his performance as manager, which Tan criticised in his email ultimatum.
Thursday's loss left the Bluebirds, who under 42-year-old Mackay won promotion to the top flight last season, just a point above the relegation zone. Cardiff fans have been backing their now former manager with chants of "Don't sack Malky Mackay" heard among the home support on Thursday. Mackay leaves his post having guided Cardiff to the League Cup final in 2012 and the Championship title in 2013.
And Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers stuck up for his friend, expressing confidence that he will bounce back from this situation. "The guy has given that club so much, he'll go down in history as the manager to take them to the Premier League," Rodgers told a press conference.
Among those in the frame to replace Mackay are former Manchester United striker and Molde manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Sven-Goran Eriksson and Turkish journeyman Yilmaz Vural. David Kerslake and Joe McBride will take charge on a caretaker basis for the club's Premier League clash with Sunderland on Saturday. Kerslake has served as Mackay's assistant manager at the Bluebirds, while McBride holds the role of first-team coach.
The decision was confirmed by the club in a statement which read: "David Kerslake and Joe McBride will be taking charge of the team for the match against Sunderland on Saturday December 28th at Cardiff City Stadium."