Football

Published: Friday February 28, 2014 MYT 5:47:00 PM
Updated: Saturday March 1, 2014 MYT 8:56:37 AM

Tan flays 'racist' media, says Cardiff in safe hands

LONDON (Reuters) - Controversial Cardiff City owner Tan Sri Vincent Tan has criticised "a little bit racist" British media for projecting him as a villain and ruled out the possibility of the Premier League club changing its team colours back to blue.

The 62-year-old Malaysian businessman helped finance the team into the top tier of English football for the first time in half a century this season before his leadership style came under increasingly scrutiny.

Tan, who once operated Malaysia's most profitable lottery and gambling business, changed the club colours from its traditional blue to red at the start of the 2012-13 season and sacked popular manager Malky Mackay last December to further irk the fans.

Criticism of his leadership approach has only grown but the Malaysian made it clear that he was not stepping down despite the side struggling down in 19th place and three points adrift of safety with a significantly inferior goal difference.

"Without me, Cardiff would have gone bust. Because of my investment, we got promoted," Tan said in an interview with BBC Sport on Friday.

"I am now more involved and under my leadership the club will be in good shape.

"Some of my family members really want me to leave. They think it's not worth it. They think no-one is grateful. But you have to be patient, accept the criticism and sometimes the insults."

NO VILLAIN

Often seen wearing dark glasses and gloves at Cardiff games, Tan said he was not the villain he was made out to be.

"I wear sunglasses because of the glare of the spotlights," he said.

"I wear gloves because it is very cold in the UK. Frankly, sometimes I think they are nuts making all these comments.

"The British press is unfair... maybe because we didn't tell our side of the story that well. When the time is right, I will tell my story. Sometimes the British press is maybe a little bit racist."

Tan said Mackay had been lucky to land the job at Cardiff in July 2011 and felt he should have been more hands-on earlier.

"Earlier on I was generous enough to give our football management too much authority and they went berserk. They went and did bad business. That was a mistake.

"But now I'm involved, I know the value and I study. Every business I don't know, if I spend enough time - a couple of months - I will know a lot. I know quite a lot about football now. I know the value of players and we won't do stupid things."

Tan said he had abandoned plans to list Cardiff on the Singapore stock exchange and hoped new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would guide the team out of relegation zone despite winning just one of their last 11 league games.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty; Editing by John O'Brien)

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