Comment: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has entered a madhouse at Cardiff City - and he won't leave it on the good terms on which he has arrived

Working for owner Vincent Tan is unpredictable and far from the familiarity he enjoyed at Manchester United and Molde

Into the madhouse of Vincent Tan steps Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the new coach of Cardiff City. The desire to manage in the Premier League proved too powerful an emotion to resist, even for a bright young thing from Norway who took Molde to the Norwegian championship for the first time.

Like many before him Solskjaer thinks it will be different this time. It won’t. The golden rule endures; he who has all the gold makes all the rules. The moment Solskjaer crosses the Malaysian magnate, the chauffeur-driven ride into Tan’s world via the director’s box at Arsenal will become a hearse carrying him into the netherworld of discarded football men.

The sense of entitlement that allows Tan to behave as he wishes, without regard for the sensibilities of the community into which he has bought, is a 21st-century expression of medieval moving and shaking, where decisions are based not on matters of fact but mood.

Solskjaer has entered the court of Henry VIII, and we know how that ends – unless gout, palsy or some such ailment takes down the king first.

That is not how he sees it, of course. Persuaded by the promise of extra cash to spend this month to keep Cardiff in the promised land, Solskjaer can see only the good side at this momentous juncture.

“I felt I needed to be back here,” said Solskjaer, a hero at Manchester United where he spent 11 years, much of it flying off the bench to transform outcomes, including the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich in Barcelona.

“I wish I was 25 again and playing in the Premier League. Time ticks for everyone so I can’t. Now I’m a lucky man to be a manager in the Premier League. And I want to stay for the long term.” Funnily enough, that is just how Malky Mackay felt when he was appointed in 2011.

How sweet the atmosphere must have been when Mackay led Cardiff City to Wembley in his first season in charge, taking Liverpool to penalties in the League Cup final, and then won promotion to the Premier League in his second year at the club. None of that spared him when the wind changed.

Tan’s tango in Cardiff demonstrates how little he cares about the commodity in which he has a controlling interest.

The sacking of Mackay sat easily alongside the dumping of the head of recruitment, Iain Moody, and – most damning of all – the unfeeling hauteur with which he tossed a century of blue-clad tradition into a skip to accommodate his cultural attachment to the colour red.

Anyone who has walked the streets of Kuala Lumpur will understand how a Malaysian billionaire might feel compelled to blow a  few quid on a fantasy football vehicle. The Premier League brand is everywhere in the Malaysian capital, and association with it a sure-fired way of coming to prominence both at home and abroad.

Foreign owners do not have a monopoly on abuse of power, reluctance to compromise or the waiving of common courtesies. The rich and powerful like to get their way the world over. What complicates the Cardiff model is the chasm that separates ownership and support.

Into the strange Tan-scape steps a young coach who served his apprenticeship in an environment that he knew and trusted, and where the rules of the game were universally understood and applied.

Solksjaer has none of that in Cardiff. Tan doubtless promised to give him licence to do the job his way, free from interference. There is cash to spend and a heap of goodwill behind him. But how long will it be before the emails start filling his inbox?

After the tough away trip to Newcastle in the FA Cup on Saturday, Solskjaer faces successive away fixtures this month at Manchester City and United in the Premier League and a trip to local rivals Swansea early in February.

Cardiff sit one point above the Premier League dead zone. Should they continue to struggle in the second half of the season, their campaign ends with trips to Sunderland and Newcastle followed by a home match against title-chasing Chelsea on the final afternoon of the season.

He might have to bring himself off the bench for that one. Good luck, Ole.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot