Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay did not attend his pre-match press conference on Friday morning following the reported ultimatum he received from owner Vincent Tan, although those in attendance were informed that the Scot remains in charge of the side for the time being.
News emerged last night that Tan’s unhappiness with Mackay’s recent action had got to the point that he sent an email to the manager informing him he should resign or face being sacked.
Mackay had been due to speak to the media for the first time since the revelations were made public earlier this morning, but instead his assistant manager David Kerslake appeared and confirmed that Mackay would not be available for comment ahead of the Saturday lunchtime encounter with Liverpool.
Kerslake also refused to discuss the 41-year-old’s current situation, but he did admit that Mackay was at the training ground at the time of the press conference.
“I am here to talk about the Liverpool match, I came in this morning and was asked to do the press conference,” said Kerslake.
“Malky is in the training pavilion as we speak, we are just here to talk about the game.”
Despite Kerslake’s best attempts to focus on the Saturday’s Premier League fixture, he required a club spokesman to step in at one point and reiterate that Mackay is unavailable for comment and that the assistant manager would not be discussing the managerial crisis at the club.
“No one has said any different to me, everything has been as normal,” Kerslake added. “Players have got on with their jobs. Without being boring it has been a normal week.”
The spokesman interrupted when Kerslake was faced with sterner questions regarding Mackay. “Malky Mackay is unavailable to speak to the media, the assistant manager is here,” he said, before Kerslake added: “I will answer any questions you have about the game of football tomorrow.”
Club owner Tan has been highly critical of Mackay in the last few weeks, with tensions between the two becoming ever-increasingly strained since the former head of recruitment Iain Moody was sacked in October to be replaced by an unproven 23-year-old named who had been on work experience up until the appointment.
Chief executive Simon Lim then released a statement on Monday confirming that Tan was “extremely upset” with what was regarded as severe overspend in the summer, although both Mackay and Moody denied that the eventual £50m expenditure was £15m more than they were afforded due to add-ons.
Lim’s comments came after Mackay expressed his desire to bring in three more players – a defender, midfielder and a striker – in January, with Tan slamming this public admission and revealing that there would not be a penny available for new signings.
Since the dispute erupted this week, Mackay has been installed as the favourite to become the new West Brom manager as the Baggies look to replace Steve Clarke, while former Bluebirds manager Dave Jones has been rumoured with a possible return to the club in a director of football role should Mackay’s expected exit be confirmed, although Cardiff director Steve Borley has said that Mackay will travel with the squad to Liverpool on Saturday.
Reports claim that Tan will arrive in the UK from Malaysia later this evening and will be in the stands for tomorrow’s match against the Reds, and the board of directors will meet today to discuss the on-going issues.
Tan has also been upset with Mackay’s style of play, recent results and the performances of his side in the Premier League, and he appears to be prepared to spend the suggested £3m to sack Mackay with the former Watford manager contracted until 2016.
Mackay's absence was added to when the club banned journalists from tweeting from the news conference as well as instructing Sky Sports TV personnel to dismantle their cameras from the car park of the hotel where the news conference was being held.
The same channel are also reporting that Cardiff have already discussed with four potential replacements who could take over the helm at the Cardiff City Stadium, despite Mackay yet to be dismissed. Molde manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the current favourite for the job, while Turkish manager Yilmaz Vural - who Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman denied even hearing of despite managing over 20 clubs in his homeland - is also believed to be in the running.
Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has also been mentioned with a move to Wales, while hometown favourite Craig Bellamy, who still plays for the Bluebirds, could be offered a role as player/manager.