Cardiff owner risks fan backlash with appointment
CARDIFF, Wales (AP) — After sparking controversy by changing the color of the team’s kit, the Malaysian owner of Cardiff could face more anger from fans by making contentious changes to his backroom staff on Friday.
Vincent Tan urged Cardiff supporters to “remain united in our support of the team” in a statement announcing the departure of Iain Moody as the club’s head of recruitment.
Replacing Moody is Alisher Apsalyamov, a 23-year-old Kazakhstani who according to British media is a friend of Tan’s son, has no previous football experience and was on work experience this summer painting the walls of Cardiff’s stadium.
Moody’s close relationship with manager Malky Mackay provoked fears among fans groups that the coach’s position could be under threat.
However, Tan said he had “every faith in Malky,” adding: “I have supported him in the past and will do so in the future for many years to come.”
Cardiff returned to the top flight of English football for the first time since 1962 after winning the second-tier League Championship last season, and has already won two of its first seven games — including a 3-2 victory over Manchester City. The team is in 14th place in the 20-team standings.
However, Tan risks alienating some fans with his latest controversial decision, which comes 16 months after changing the club’s colors from blue to red and adopting a new crest.
“Supporters are surprised that someone who appears to have little hands-on experience has been put in charge of transfers at the football club,” said Tim Hartley, chairman of Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust.
Apsalyamov’s role will see him focus on gathering data on individual players, although “ultimate recruitment decisions of course remain the domain of the manager and majority shareholder,” the statement read.