Malky Mackay allegations: It took an outsider to expose football’s odious lad culture

Vincent Tan has done a service but this cancer does not stop with former manager Malky Mackay

Cold? Vincent Tan has had this dish in the freezer, topped with razor blades. Widely vilified by Cardiff supporters, who blamed the inscrutable foreign owner for the departure of their beloved Malky Mackay and the relegation that followed, Tan has been itching to serve this house special at football’s high table.

Yet one man’s revenge is the least of the tawdry tale that Tan exposes. It has taken the moral sword of a despised ogre, dismissed as a capitalistic football prospector, to clean up a mess that lays bare the dark soul and lad culture that still infects the game.

Questionable transfer dealings, the breach of FA regulations over the “spygate” team sheet and an apparent mountain of text traffic tattooed with casual racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and sexism are today reported to be all over the work of Mackay and his cohorts – though Mackay says never wrote any sexist or homophobic messages.

Tan would have done the game a service in bringing this to light, but it would be madness to think this cancer stops at the Stone Age doors of Mackay and Iain Moody, kicked out of Cardiff by Tan last season only to find a loving home at Selhurst Park.

After the rupture in the management structure of Crystal Palace, which led to Moody’s resignation as sporting director today, we know how this world turned. From the dossier of texts and emails numbering in excess of 170,000 and other material presented to the FA by Cardiff’s lawyers, we learn about the prehistoric attitudes that informed those making the club’s transfer deals.

This stuff is reported to have been garnered in a dawn raid on the London home of Moody by lawyers Mishcon de Reya acting on behalf of Cardiff via a High Court order. The removal of Moody as head of recruitment at Cardiff last October set in motion a remarkable chain of events that also cost Mackay his job as manager 10 weeks later.

The knock at Moody’s door at first light last March was part of a £750,000 investigation launched by Cardiff into the club’s transfer activity under Mackay. Eight transfers are under scrutiny. Bound by FA rules under the umbrella of “aggravated misconduct” regarding communications, Cardiff were compelled to alert the FA to the presence of the emails unearthed.

It is believed both Mackay, who launched a £7.5m legal claim against Tan after his sacking in December, and Moody understood that the emails and texts had been passed on to Cardiff. Two months later in May, Mackay said he was no longer in dispute with his old club and spoke of his nemesis in revised terms.

“I have reached a settlement agreement dropping all claims I have made against Cardiff City Football Club. The club’s owner, Mr Vincent Tan, invested heavily in the club and supported our decisions in our push for promotion to the Premier League. Without him this would not have been possible. If I have caused any offence to anyone during this time, especially to Vincent Tan, then I apologise without reservation.”

Now we know why. The low lights that emerge from their discoveries, if the allegations are accepted or proven, are rightly ruinous for Mackay and Moody. If the game is to purge the accompanying stench then this grim episode should not be taken in isolation but as representative of the way the minds of some in football, and yes at the very top, still work. Mackay and Moody will then not just be the perpetrators of objectionable views but the product of a culture that tolerates them.

The Premier League’s chief executive, Richard Scudamore, must find the sexist text allegations uncomfortable reading after the early summer disclosures that identified his liking for sexist slap and tickle via the ether.

The Cardiff collection apparently produced this text to a player with a female agent: “I hope she’s looking after your needs. I bet you’d love a bounce on her falsies.” And this about an official at another club: “He’s a snake, a gay snake. Not to be trusted”.

The half-witted texts failed to distinguish between South Korea and China in this beauty after the signing of Kim Bo-kyung: “Fkn chinkys. Fk it. There’s enough dogs in Cardiff for us all to go around.” What’s in a country, eh boys?” And this enlightened reference to football agent Phil Smith: “Go on, fat Phil. Nothing like a Jew that sees money slipping through his fingers.” Regrettably there was more, heaps of the stuff, for the exposure of which Tan deserves our appreciation and an apology from all those who held him responsible for the unravelling of Cardiff’s Premier League dream.

There was always something uncomfortable, racist even, some might say about the easy condemnation of Tan and the uncritical acceptance of Mackay’s version of events.

Sure, Tan did not help himself with the unsympathetic imposition of red over blue in the Cardiff kit switch, dismissing a century-old tradition and the deep attachment of supporters to the Bluebird ethos. And yes, he is a moneybags collector who saw not a football club but a trinket that gave him a pass to the upper echelons of the game. But in acquiring Cardiff he broke no law and offended no principle in the market economy that governs the beautiful game.

In May after Cardiff’s relegation Tan spoke through a tongue tied by the investigation we now know all about to hint at the trouble ahead and to give some justification for his actions. “The hero of the fans. They should ask why he apologises? They should find out from him. Legally, I’m not supposed to say. I wish I could.

“Ask him why he apologises, who thinks I did so much injustice to him. This great hero almost killed this club. I’m not enjoying this but I have responsibility. My family members think I should just sell and get out. But sometimes you get into something and you have to go through it and take it to a good ending.”

Well said, Vincent, an unlikely hero purging football of its sinister underbelly.

John Rees-Evans is standing for Ukip in Cardiff South and Penarth
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
David Silva, Andy Carroll, Arsene Wenger and Radamel Falcao
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'