Tan Out

There can be no greater face slapping for a foreign national pretending to be a football manager than having his name ridiculed in his own countries media.

The following is from the ‘Malaysian Insider’ – link to the story at the end.

At a time when our Prime Minister touts that the government is doing all it can to curb our spiraling deficit, it seems puzzling that they were more than eager to splurge RM15 million to aid Vincent Tan in his sponsorship for Cardiff City.

Furthermore, when queried over why our government was willing to waste RM15 million of taxpayer’s money on this, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz stated that the deal covering one season would help the ministry gain global “publicity and public relations” benefit and to attract high-end tourists from the United Kingdom and other Western European nations to Malaysia.

However, instead of achieving the latter, Vincent Tan’s latest stunts at Cardiff City only brought embarrassment to our country. With Twitter trends like #TanOut, a huge lambast by Liverpool FC manager and even non-Cardiff City fans protesting against Vincent Tan, this debacle serves to smear the name of Malaysia more than it has to aid it.

What our government has essentially done was to take more money from the public to tarnish our own image. Not surprisingly, a Welsh fan even expressed to me via Twitter that it’s not so much the reputation of Vincent Tan that was at stake, but more so what the British would think of Malaysia.

The first action by Vincent Tan that angered the Welsh fans was changing the club’s crest and jersey colour from blue to red. Vincent Tan does not understand what football means in British culture. It is not merely a hobby or an interest as it is in Malaysia. To the British, football is a serious way of life, a sense of belonging and an integral part of an association.

What Vincent Tan did by stripping away the blue and replacing it with red, and changing the club’s crest to a dragon was entirely overturning the very identity of the club. He showed absolutely no respect for the culture, history and interest of Cardiff City FC and its fans.

Following that, Vincent Tan then recklessly sacked Iain Moddy, the head of recruitment of Cardiff City and replaced him with a Kazakh national, Alisher Apsalyamov, who had no other formal experience in football apart from a short work stint at the club in the summer (which included a painting job).

More interestingly and conveniently, Apsalyamov is a friend of Vincent Tan’s son. If this is not enough to further enrage Cardiff City fans, embarrass Malaysia and cause more controversy, the BBC reported that Vincent Tan constantly entered the team’s dressing room during matches to dictate things. So much so, reported the Daily Mail, that players had requested for the owner to be barred from the dressing room during match days.

The last straw for the Welsh fans would definitely be Vincent Tan’s latest move to force the club’s manager, Malky Mackay, to resign or be sacked, even when it was he who brought Cardiff City to the English Premier League, the second Welsh team to have ever done so.

Protestors have descended at the club’s home stadium to demand Vincent Tan’s departure. Lifelong Bluebirds fan Joanne Blanchard, a season ticket holder for 14 years, was reported in Cardiff Online as saying, “The message we want to send out is that Vincent Tan has destroyed our history, our identity and our pride. Now he is trying to destroy our manager.”

Indeed, this latest act has caused anger not only among fans. Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers blasted the Malaysian owner for “not knowing anything about football”. Rodgers went on to state, “My only conclusion is you have a business guy operating the club who knows absolutely nothing about football. He has obviously been a successful businessman – congratulations, but football is like no other business. When I see what Malky has had to put up with, to see him being questioned I find it remarkable. Especially when supporters there look up to him and respect him for what he’s done.”

At a time when our government declares it is not insensitive to the people’s needs, yet it is not ready to give up its own excessive spending at the expense of Malaysians, we see here the all too familiar arrogance and insensitivity of both the BN leaders and cronies.

Likewise, Vincent Tan has shown that he is not ready to be a caretaker of a football club and history, but a ruthless insensitive dictator, far away from what the grassroots, the Cardiff City fans, want.

Ironically, our government is using our money to aid him in it. It is time both political and business leaders give up their arrogance and really listen to the people, not merely tout it. – December 21, 2013.

Story Link: Here