THE BLOG
24/12/2013 06:14 GMT | Updated 22/02/2014 05:59 GMT

Tan Feels Pressure as Cardiff City Fans Show Their Teeth

When the fixture list was published several months ago, a trip to Anfield would have been an eagerly anticipated one for Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan.

It would surely have been an exciting prospect for the Malaysian businessman. Not least because it offered the opportunity for him to rub shoulders with some of footballs big wigs and the chance to milk the plaudits for funding the South Wales club's elevation to the premier league.

Unfortunately, for Tan, things didn't quite go to plan. Football fans everywhere will be well aware that Vincent Tan was the person behind Cardiff City's hugely controversial rebrand but until a week ago, aside from achieving a degree of notoriety for alleged interference in playing matters, plus a degree of lampoonery for his sartorial choices, Tan appeared to have ridden the storm.

All that changed when it emerged that Tan had issued, via a lengthy email diatribe, a 'resign or get sacked' ultimatum to hugely popular manager Malky Mackay. The general feeling amongst supporters of Cardiff City and football fans up and down the country was that the talented young Scottish manager was very much the wronged party. The press, never shy when it comes to embracing popular opinion, admittedly with the aim of flogging more newspapers and gaining internet hits, duly put the boot into Vincent Tan with a ferocity normally reserved for the ludicrous Venky's at Blackburn Rovers.

So, Tan's jaunt to Merseyside turned into an afternoon that he'd probably rather forget. Even before the game kicked off the Cardiff City fans made it clear where their sympathies lay. There was a succession of chants in support of manager Mackay and widespread calls of 'Tan Out.' The away end also saw many fans holding up banners with a similar message. As the game progressed (almost incidentally, Cardiff City lost by three goals to one) the chants grew even louder in support of Mackay and more vociferous in their opposition to Tan's stewardship. The Liverpool fans played their part too, warmly applauding the Cardiff fans passionate defence of their manager and their calls for a reversal of the hated rebrand.

Throughout all of this, Tan, looking every inch the Bond villain in his dark glasses and black leather gloves, stared resolutely ahead, keen not to face the visiting Cardiff City fans and incur even more of their wrath.

The expectation was that Mackay would be picking up his P45 in the immediate aftermath of the game. However, given the nature of the pro Mackay, anti Tan feeling at Anfield and fans promising to give Tan an extremely rough ride at City's Boxing Day home game, it appears that the club's owner is biding his time before dispensing with the Scotsmans services. Cardiff City Chairman Mehmet Dalman issued a statement twenty four hours after the Liverpool game indicating that the immediate threat over Malky Mackay's future had been lifted and that he would remain in charge "for the foreseeable future" but with the bizarrely worded caveat - "until something else happens..."

It looks, for all the world as if Tan, worried about the level of hostility he'll face at the next home game, and potential embarrassment in front of assorted guests and the watching media, both here and in Malaysia, is looking to defuse matters.

If that is the case, it appears to be a forlorn hope. The Cardiff City messageboards and social networking sites are alive with talk of mass protest on Boxing Day. Alongside calls for Mackay to be left alone to do his job unhindered, are passionate pleas from City fans to 'seize the moment' and put Tan under great pressure to restore Cardiff City's traditional blue home kit. A banner held aloft at Anfield on Saturday summed it up rather nicely, "Enough is Enough."

There are many Cardiff City fans that feel that the ideal time to protest against Tan was eighteen months ago when he first imposed his absurb rebrand on the club and it's supporters. It's difficult to argue against such claims, but the old 'better late that never' addage also rings true in this case.

Cardiff City supporters have the opportunity to send out a message to autocratic football club owners everywhere. Will they take it?

Watch this space.