Week 52: Villain – Vincent Tan

by Ray_North on December 29, 2013

villain_2_iconThe final villain of 2013 is the manager of Cardiff City – Vincent Tan.

Who the fuck is Vincent Tan anyway?

Well, I’ll tell you what he is, he is the epitome of everything that is wrong about modern football. Football is at it’s best, when it matters to all those involved – not because it can make a few people a few quid, or give them a bit of kudos, but when it really matters (like it does now to me, because Liverpool should have had a bloody penalty at Stamford Bridge grrrr!).

It matters to the supporters of Cardiff City. They are great old club – with a massive tradition, they are the last club outside of England to have won the FA Cup, which they did when they beat Arsenal in 1927, they are the club of Ivor Allchurch who captained Wales in the 1958 World Cup, and John Charles who is the greatest player Wales ever produced, they are the club of Trevor Ford and John Toshack and Phil Dwyer and Peter Sayer and Robin Friday and Carl Dale and many others who were revered and loved by the fans at the old Ninian Park and the new Cardiff City Stadium.

It’s true that Cardiff City have been in decline for decades, its true that in the 1980s they were close to falling out of the league – but during this time, the supporters wore their blue scarves with pride and the players (well most of them) respected the traditions of the club; it’s also true that they desperately needed an injection of cash and that without such an injection they may well have gone the same way as their cousins in Newport – I get that. But, it is one thing to bankroll a football club, it is quite different to treat it with such contempt and arrogance that the history and traditions of the club are lost, and that vital link between the club and its supporters and locality is destroyed – but that is what Vincent Tan has done.

First, he changed the club colours from the blue which they have worn throughout their history to red – they were know as the Blue Birds, for crying out loud, they have no tradition of wearing red, it was absurd, and all done on the whim of the new owner.

Then he undermined the team on the pitch by attempting to influence the team selection before treating the very excellent manager Malky Mackay like a dog by undermining him, threatening him, and then sacking him, despite the fact that Mackay had done what no Cardiff manager had managed in fifty years in winning them promotion to the top flight, and then, despite having a fairly average team, organising and motivating them with such success that they became very hard to beat.

No proper football fan would have done this, indeed, no proper football fan would have dared to do this, because they would have instinctively realised that making these changes is wrong for the team and wrong for the game. But, Vincent Tan is not a football fan, Vincent Tan, to answer the question I posed at the beginning of this piece, is a ‘businessman’, an ‘investor’ who has made a fortune in the Malaysian and South East Asian leisure and tourist industry – I doubt that when Cardiff City were struggling in the fourth division back in the 1990’s he had even heard of them, I doubt that he has much clue who Ivor Allchurch was, or how Cardiff City won the cup in 1927 or how much it means to the supporters to have a club that they can love and respect and care about.

Vincent Tan knows nothing of this – Vincent Tan is just another football club owning villain.

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