Cardiff City Football club and the dilemmas of leadership

December 21, 2013

Vincent TanAn earlier post outlined the story of Cardiff City Football Club and the dilemmas facing its new owners. Leaders We Deserve updates regularly as the manager is invited to resign or be dismissed.

LWD will keep a watching brief on the developing story since the original post

A summary of the interim happenings can be found in The Telegraph article which catalogues a series of battles between the Malaysian owners and their executives. CEO Vincent Tan has become a central figure in a battle to oust the much-respected manager Malky Mackay

December 20th 2013

News media in the UK all tell the story of a public announcement by billionaire owner Vincent Tan that Mackay must ‘resign or be sacked’. Tan is flying to England [Liverpool for the match, not Wales] to complete the arrangement one way or another.

December 21st 2013

Last gasp attempts to re-negotiate attempted. Tan to meet his chairman, Mehmet Dalman, who was expected to defend Mackay. Candidate for the next manager requires assurances about the contract and some level of control over playing matters which Mackay failed to achieve

Is Myanmar edging towards democracy?

June 8, 2013

There have been acclaimed signs of movement towards democracy in Myanmar. But racial tensions will present familiar challenges for any new non-military leadership

According to the BBC The head of the UK’s armed forces, General Sir David Richards, is visiting Burma [June 2013] to try to build ties with the country’s powerful military. He also met President Thein Sein (a former General) and leaders of the opposition including Aung San Suu Kyi for ‘serious talks’ on support short of lifting UN sanctions.

Steps to democracy

The release from house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi and her swearing into Parliament [2012] were given global significance as steps in Myanmar towards democracy.

Under Imperial rule, Burma was treated as an outpost of the British Empire. Regional rule was operated from India, which still shows considerable interest in its Commonwealth partner.

Racial tensions

However, the country still faces the challenges of racial tensions as complex and arguably as intractable as those in The Middle East. The Indian Express outlines the tensions that have bubbled over in Malaysia.

Malaysian police said today they had detained more than 900 Myanmar nationals in a security sweep after at least two were killed last week in clashes believed to be linked to sectarian violence back home.
The two dead were likely to have been Myanmar Buddhists.. and the attacks were [reported as] believed to be the result of violence in Myanmar.
Deadly sectarian strife pitting Myanmar’s majority Buddhists against the Muslim ethnic Rohingya minority has flared since last year, in the country’s western state of Rakhine.
Myanmar called on Malaysia to take action against those responsible for the attacks and protect Myanmar citizens. U Maung Hla, who heads the Burma Refugee Organisation in Malaysia, said violence between exiled Myanmar communities here was not uncommon and was “sometimes due to religion.” The Rohingya have been described by the United Nations as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities. About 800,000 are estimated to live in Myanmar, which denies them citizenship, rendering them stateless.

The long walk

The democratic vision is that Aung San Suu Kyi will lead her country in the fashion of a 21st century Mandela or Gandhi (the two leaders she most publically admires). It is likely to be a long walk to freedom.

Bluebirds become Dragons as Cardiff City accepts Malaysian rebranding: Update

June 8, 2012

Cardiff City, the home of the Welsh National Assembly, has a Football Club with the proud claim of being the only team from outside England to have won the FA cup. Now its fans struggle with the rebranding required by its financial backers


December 20th 2013
A summary of the interim happenings can be found in The Telegraph article which catalogs a series of battles between the Malaysian owners and their executives. CEO Vincent Tan has become a central figure in a battle to oust the much-respected manager Malky Mackay

Original Post:

The story illustrates the issues of football fans whose loyalty is rooted in the historical traditions of their club, facing financial requirements for survival into the future.

The Bluebirds have always played in blue, and have a bluebird symbol on the club crest. Its new owners have stipulated that the team will play in Red, and will be known as The Dragons.

A confusion of symbols

There is some irony in the change. The Welsh rugby team plays in red. One nearby regional rugby team is known as The Scarlets, and another, The Dragons. The national flag sports a red dragon (Y Ddraig Goch).

Perhaps the new owners had a sense that the proposed changes would be recognised for such cultural implications.

Press reports indicated that local sensitivities had been acknowledged:

The club unveiled three new strips – a red home shirt, a blue away strip, and a third kit, which is mainly black. The new kits bear a redesigned badge, incorporating a main image of a dragon, with a small bluebird inserted underneath, and carrying the slogan “Fire and Passion”.

In addition, the club have announced plans to build a new training ground, pay off their debt with the Langston company, provide the manager Malky Mackay with a substantial kitty, and explore the possibility of expanding the Cardiff City Stadium.

The move came less than a month after the club’s chairman Dato Chan Tien Ghee said the proposal to change to red shirts had been dropped due to “vociferous opposition” after the plans were leaked.

In an open letter to fans, the chairman said: “We have no desire to cause offence or for people to think we have no respect for the club or its history as it would appear has been suggested in various quarters including by local assembly members.”

He continued: “In the light of the vociferous opposition by a number of the fans to the proposals being considered … we will not proceed with the proposed change of colour and logo and the team will continue to play in blue at home for the next season with the current badge.”

“You can’t rebrand history”

The change indicates the complex nature of commitment. Some Cardiff City fans have accepted the new strip, and the rebranding of the club. Others disagree. “You can’t rebrand history” one remarked.

The colour of coincidence?

When Malaysian entrepreneur Chan Tien Ghee became chairman in May 2010, his longer-term goal was promotion the Premier League. At the time, he made the almost heretical decision to hire a rugby figure, Gethin Jenkins, from Newport Gwent Dragons, to become Chief Executive of the club. Rugby? Red Dragons?

Maybe Mr Chan’s information did not indicate that Cardiff City supporters tend to loathe the city’s Rugby team (aka The Blues) almost as much as they hate their near neighbours Swansea City (The Seagulls, aka The Whites).