Cardiff owner Vincent Tan admitted he sacked manager Malky Mackay on Friday because the Scot was airing the Premier League club’s “dirty linen” in public.
Mackay’s acrimonious departure was the inevitable result of his turbulent relationship with Malaysian tycoon Tan, who had last week granted the Bluebirds boss a reprieve despite sending him an email demanding he resign or be sacked.
That ultimatum was briefly lifted when chairman Mehmet Dalman stated Mackay would be in charge for the “forseeable future”, but the 3-0 Boxing Day defeat against Southampton proved to be then end.
Mackay had often said he has felt sorry for the club’s fans as Cardiff found themselves in the headlines for the wrong reasons on several occasions.
But Tan laid the blame for that with Mackay, whom he believes attempted to garner sympathy from supporters with some of his comments about the club’s owners.
“There has been a good deal of publicity generated by, and about, Mr Malky Mackay for the last few months,” Tan said in a statement.
“Indeed, far too much dirty linen has been exposed to the public gaze but, I stress, not by me.
“I have, however, regretfully concluded that it is no longer fair to the club, its players, its fans and the public more generally for this uncomfortable state of affairs to continue.”
There has been ill-feeling between the two since Tan’s removal of Iain Moody as his head of recruitment in October, and the owner was said to be furious at Mackay’s hopes of adding to his squad in January, which resulted in last week’s incendiary email.
Mackay, who has already been linked with the vacancy at West Brom, insisted he had nothing to be ashamed about.
In a statement released by his agent to Sky Sports News, he said: “I leave with my head held high having gained a level of experience that, upon reflection, I suspect would have been difficult to find anywhere else in British football.
“The foundations laid here at Cardiff City will provide a solid platform for my successor and for the sake of the club I hope the progress that has been made so far will not be impaired in any way to today’s enforced changes.
“As disappointing as today’s decision is, I am already able to look back at my time at the club with immense pride and joy given the number of milestones the club achieved during the last two-and-a-half years.”
Thursday’s loss left the Bluebirds, who under Mackay reached the League Cup final in 2012 and won promotion to the top flight last season for the first time in 51 years, just a point above the relegation zone.
Among those in the frame to replace Mackay are former Manchester United striker and Molde manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Sven-Goran Eriksson and Turkish journeyman Yilmaz Vural.
Assistant manager David Kerslake and first-team coach Joe McBride will take charge on a caretaker basis for the club’s Premier League clash with Sunderland on Saturday.