We’ve spent a great deal of time the past few weeks on this site discussing the eccentric behavior of Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan. It seems Tan, having railroaded the well-respected Malky Mackay, needed to buy some credibility. He seems to have temporarily done so with the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the once great late game sniper for Manchester United, who has won two league titles as manager in Norway.
Solskjaer has previously been courted by and rejected Premier League owners, most famously Aston Villa’s Randy Lerner during the summer of 2012. Unlike other young managers, Solskjaer has impressed in multiple facets of the game. He has developed excellent young players both as Manchester United’s reserve coach and at Molde. He is known for savvy in-game tactical changes, and has learned from the best on how to handle the media. So the question begs itself, why exactly would he choose Cardiff?
Sir Alex Ferguson reportedly advised Solskjaer to “pick and owner not a club.” Even though Solskjaer today dismissed that he received that advice from Ferguson, the fact remains why would Solskjaer pick Tan over other suitors? Perhaps the ability to spend in the transfer market was a determining factor as the Malaysian owner has splashed the cash since taking over the previously highly indebted club over two years ago.
One must assume that Tan has assured Solskjaer that he will have a final say on transfers, and other football-related dealings. Furthermore, Tan’s reputation, which has been destroyed in Britain and more importantly among Cardiff fans after the Mackay episode and changing of the clubs colors and crest, must be rehabilitated. Perhaps Tan sees Solskjaer as a propaganda tool of great importance – someone who can deflect the criticisms from Tan and be used to change his image from that of a madman to a sane and responsible football club owner.
Vincent Tan doesn’t deserve that credibility. It is a shame someone of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s pedigree, reputation and standing in the game would be willing to give Tan cover he so certainly does not deserve. The Malaysian owner has proven to be a pariah in English football and my sincere hope was that no established manager would take the Bluebirds hot seat.
Certainly Cardiff City supporters deserve a manager of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s status. But the owner himself does not and that is the bottom line.
One must also worry about any damage in reputation that Tan will have on the rising managerial career of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Norwegian, who was one of the most popular players in the most successful period of Sir Alex Ferguson’s career at Manchester United, could see his star dim rapidly by association with Tan.