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A gay snake? That's...that's a weird thing to say, isn't it? It's such a weird thing to say that it's almost easy to not notice the obvious homophobia. What does it even mean? Are we to assume that gay snakes are more devious than heterosexual snakes? Is this some bizarre extension of that Brass Eye sketch where the old military type claimed 'homosexuals can't swim, they attract enemy radar, they attract sharks'? Have we wandered into a real-life version of Chris Morris's head?
Let us recap. Football365 might quite naturally be the first website you visit of a morning, so you might not be aware of the accusations made against Malky Mackay in the Daily Mail. The paper alleges that Mackay, in a series of text messages, made a flamboyant array of offensive remarks about more or less everything one could possibly be offensive, including referring to an agent as said 'gay snake', among myriad other ludicrously awful things.
It reads like a checklist of ways to cause consternation in any vaguely right-thinking person. Reading the story, one starts to wonder if the Mail have indeed uncovered a series of text messages from Mackay, or a compendium of Jim Davidson, Michael Richards and Bernard Manning's greatest hits. It is, as with many similar things, bizarre as well as deeply offensive.
It should be pointed out that these are mere allegations, because at the time of writing Mackay hasn't responded to the story and hasn't given his version of events, if indeed these events occurred.
Indeed this evidence, seemingly uncovered by Cardiff and Vincent Tan as part of their ongoing investigation into Mackay and former Cardiff technical director Iain Moody's conduct, has apparently been passed to the FA, but it will be interesting to see what action they can or will take, particularly since they left Richard Scudamore alone when his sexist emails emerged earlier this year, on the basis that they were 'private conversations'.
Mackay seemed set to take the Crystal Palace job until, presumably, they thought it might not be a good idea to employ a man who allegedly referred to a South Korean player as a 'chinky', among other things. There is also suggestion that Vincent Tan, in a delicious act of vaguely petty sabotage, chose the eve of Mackay's appointment to submit the evidence his lawyers uncovered to the FA. Say what you like about Tan, but Francis Urquhart (or Underwood, if you prefer) would be proud of that one.
All of this does present an interesting quandary for your average football fan. If you cast your mind back to December last year, Mackay and Tan were involved in something of a difference of opinion, a spat that, instead of being discussed by two ostensibly grown adult human men, was played out in public.
Of course, at the time basically everyone was on Mackay's side, with some rather uncomfortably keen to cast Tan as some sort of Bond villain, largely because he wore leather gloves, weird sunglasses and was a bit foreign. Mackay was seen as the victim, the wronged party and everyone felt terribly sorry for him. It seemed that Tan had tried to sabotage his career on something close to a whim, that Mackay was an innocent victim of another megalomaniac football club owner, and that he'd really done nothing wrong.
All of which sits a little uncomfortably now, to say the least.
Of course, there's nothing to currently suggest that Tan binned Mackay because he knew of any spicy views his manager might hold, but it does place us, the largely uninformed masses, watching from the outside with little knowledge of what goes on behind closed doors, in a curious position. Do we now feel guilty for feeling sorry for Mackay? Does this change anything on that matter? Do we wonder about the rum nature of a world where we're now seemingly on Vincent Tan's side? Or do we still view that particular situation as a stand-alone incident, in which the manager was clearly the wronged party?
Obviously we probably all feel a bit strange about supporting Mackay at the time, but there's not much we can do about that, if we still want to hold opinions about, well, anything really. The path to madness and confusion lies in not taking a position on a person, on the basis that they might, at some point, be revealed to hold some off-colour opinions.
Indeed, it tells us something about the pre-conceived notions we hold about people. Tan was seen as the bad guy even before he showed Mackay the door, because of his dastardly scheme to make Cardiff wear red, as well as giving the work experience kid a job, along with assorted other things, so we were therefore predisposed to take against him in this situation too.
Of course, an objective view of the facts seems to suggest Tan had a point, specifically that he was unhappy about payments to agents and that his manager jazzed north of £8million on Andreas Cornelius, only for this supposed striker to be ushered back from whence he came fairly quickly. You'd probably be annoyed if someone had spent all of your money on a dud, too, but because Tan was already the villain for the other daft things he did, he was the villain in this case as well. If that sounds smug and wise after the fact, it isn't supposed to: we were all guilty of it, which perhaps presents a valuable lesson in not jumping to conclusions based on sketchy/no information.
Where Mackay goes from here will be interesting, and does of course hinge on whether these allegations are true. If they are proven, it's difficult to see how a club could ever appoint him again, his career basically in tatters, and leaving us on Vincent Tan's side.
Opinions, eh? They can make fools of us all.
Nick Miller - follow him on Twitter
Let me imagine a fantasy scenario here..... Tan got rid of Mackay because he did not receive the respect, as owner of Cardiff City and Mackay's employer, that he expected, and because Cardiff City's success was being attributed to Mackay and not to Tan. Mackay's place was to do as his employer wanted, to not show any disagreement with his instructions, and to not express any opinion in public that might bring embarrassment or shame on Tan. Accusations were made of financial shenanigans so that Mackay could be sacked in such a way as to make Tan appear to be the victim, so that no expense would accrue to the sacking and so that the Cardiff City fans would turn away from bad anti-Cardiff City Mackay and towards good pro-Cardiff CityTan. This would also allow Cardiff City to claim that if they were relegated then it would be Mackay's fault. When Mackay, as a former employee, continued to bring shame to Tan by attempting to sue him, Tan had his people go through all of the correspondence that Mackay had made during his time as an employee in order to find anything that could be used to discredit Mackay and force him to back down. That was found and Mackay was forced to abandon his legal action and sign a non-disclosure agreement. Tan, being an unforgiving man when crossed by a servant of his club, was not satisfied with merely sacking Mackay, so later sent a dossier of emails to the FA so that Mackay would be officially accused of making racist and other offensive statements, and would find it difficult to get another job. He knew that the private nature of any emails would be ignored by the Press as they would like to run with the story as sensationally as possible. Then Cardiff City demanded the sacking of anybody involved in football who should make a public attempt to defend Mackay in any way. This is from my imagination, and I do not claim any of it as real- gutbukkit