Cardiff reign my PhD, says committed Vincent Tan

An educational four-year reign as owner of English second-tier club Cardiff City has been akin to graduating with a PhD in soccer management, Malaysian Vincent Tan told Reuters on Wednesday.

Cardiff reign my PhD, says committed Vincent Tan

Singapore: An educational four-year reign as owner of English second-tier club Cardiff City has been akin to graduating with a PhD in soccer management, Malaysian Vincent Tan told Reuters on Wednesday.

But the chastening experiences of relegation, the hiring and firing of managers, fan objections to kit colour changes and upcoming court cases have only strengthened Tan`s commitment to Cardiff and he plans more soccer investment in Europe and MLS.

"Whatever it is, it`s challenging. I have to turn it around and I believe given time, I can turn it around," he said of Cardiff. 

"I believe that in the long term, it will work out well. I always invest in business with a long-term view. Ten years is great, 15 years is better, 20 years is much better.

"I look upon Cardiff as my PhD in football management. With Cardiff, I learnt a lot. I think I can run and manage a football club very well."

Billionaire Tan, who has an estimated worth of $1.3 billion according to Forbes magazine, took over in 2010 and led Welsh club Cardiff to the top division of English football for the first time in 51 years in 2013.

Their stint, though, ended after one tumultuous season with manager Malky Mackay, hugely popular with the fans, sacked in December amid accusations of overspending.

Tan said the matter was not closed.

"I happened to have a manager who I think overspent. I think he...overpaid a lot of players, paid the agents too much agent fees.

"In fact, we are going to have some court cases against several agents. There`ll be some court case coming up over this."

Mackay rejects the accusations.

Former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer failed to halt the slide back to the second tier and the Norwegian was dismissed last month after they made a bad start to this season with Russell Slade taking over after a period of interim management.

The club are 11th in the table, seven points off top spot with Tan confident things are looking up and that promotion back to the Premier League is "tough but possible".

Despite his optimism, Cardiff supporters have still not warmed to the Malaysian, who has long been the subject of protests.

"I think the worst is over. What else can the fans do? They just don`t support, it`s not going to change a lot," said Tan, who angered fans by switching club colours from blue to red.

"Logically they should support because I kept their club alive. I got the club promoted after 51 years.

"It is fun also, I enjoy watching matches. Whether Cardiff loses...it is not going to change my lifestyle. I did not borrow money to invest into Cardiff so it is all right," he said.

Tan expanded his football club portfolio by purchasing Bosnian side FK Sarajevo in December and the Malaysian said he was eyeing further opportunities.

"I am looking to buy a club in Europe," he said, adding an announcement about American Major League Soccer was due this week.

"Investing in MLS, I think it’s long term. If we invest now, in 20 years it will be worth a lot." 

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