Big salaries? I smile w I hear it but it’s not my prob­lem

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP -

I’VE said it. You’ve said it. We’ve all said it – money­bags Cardiff are spend­ing their way out of the Cham­pi­onship. “I don’t know what the wage bill is,” said former boss Dave Jones af­ter his Sh­effield Wed­nes­day side lost in the Welsh cap­i­tal. “But they’ve got to go up be­cause they’ve spent a for­tune.”

Then there was Dougie Freed­man, speak­ing in Septem­ber while still man­ager of Crys­tal Palace.“Let’s not hide the fact that Cardiff are a very strong team,” he said.“They have spent a lot of money – £10 mil­lion in trans­fer fees and what­ever wages they’ve spent. Malky Mackay is a lucky man.”

So is it just bit­ter­ness? Are we overeg­ging the is­sue? Not really. Few Cham­pi­onship clubs could have signed two Pre­mier League strik­ers in the sum­mer, as Mackay did with Craig Bel­lamy and Hei­dar Hel­gu­son.

Ri­vals

money other clubs have got.That’s not my prob­lem.

“The fact is, no­body really knows what we pay peo­ple apart from me, our fi­nance di­rec­tor and our chief ex­ec­u­tive.

“Yes the owner has al­lowed us to go and get peo­ple like Craig Bel­lamy. But last year it was all free trans­fers. And other than Craig, there’s no out­ra­geous sign­ings or big salaries. So I just have to smile when I hear that. It really doesn’t change my fo­cus or dis­tract from the job.”

Nev­er­the­less, Mackay is at pains to stress that his re­cruit­ment pol­icy amounts to more than wav­ing a suit­case of cash around.

“Re­cruit­ment is key to the success of any club,” he says.“That’s why I had a big de­part­ment at Watford and why I’ve got one here.

“Abil­ity is im­por­tant, yes, but it’s also the type of char­ac­ter. If you get some­one with a big ego and he doesn’t fit in, he might help you Nor could they af­ford to raid pro­mo­tion foot­ball-wise but he’s go­ing to ri­vals for key play­ers, as Cardiff did when cause you big prob­lems in the squad un­less the club’s colours were avai they swiped £1m winger Craig Noone dress­ing room. changed from blue to red. and from Brighton. “So you have to in­ves­ti­gate The rea­son was that red is a ‘lucky’ be b

Not even Mackay can deny that his those things. I put a file to­gether on colour in many east Asian coun­tries bulk ta­ble-top­ping side, backed by Malaysian peo­ple, as much as I can find out and the change would thus boost “J own­ers pre­pared to in­vest huge sums to about their domestic sit­u­a­tion shirt sales. You re­alise their Pre­mier League dream, are and their per­son­al­ity. Cardiff have played in blue since dou flush with cash. “My staff and I have all got 1908, so there was – and still is – wan

Yet if money were ev­ery­thing, Le­ices­friends who’ve been in dres­sun­der­stand­able re­sis­tance from fans, usua ter would al­ready be in the Pre­mier ing rooms with peo­ple, who’ve but Mackay be­lieves Cardiff’s success they League and QPR would be play­ing in coached them as kids and jus­ti­fies the switch. have Europe. Does it not an­noy Mackay that his adults.We’ll have friends who “Don’t get me wrong,” he said. “I’ve “So would most of the Cham­pi­onship “T hard work in mould­ing a ta­ble-top­ping know them per­son­ally. And we played at Celtic so I know that tra­di­tion with­out in­di­vid­ual back­ers and I think our tion side is rou­tinely un­der­val­ued? talk to them all be­fore we sign means a hell of a lot. But I also know fans un­der­stand we’re lucky to have him.” thre

“No, ab­so­lutely not,” he says in gloopy a player. that fans want to see good play­ers Last week­end’s 1-0 win at Leicester and club Glaswe­gian. “Be­cause I un­der­stand why “It’s not an ex­act sci­ence, come to the club. their 2-1 home win against Crys­tal Palace Cha peo­ple say it. In­vari­ably, if an op­po­si­tion but if it gives you that one per cent “I just asked them to back the boys on Box­ing Day means City are top at the coup man­ager says it, he does so for a rea­son. edge over some­one else, it’s worth and to be fair, and they cer­tainly have. half­way stage and in great shape to by­pass mier

“Some­times you hear man­agers say­ing: it.” I think we played New­cas­tle in prethe play-offs, where they have been ‘We like to pass the ball’. And you know Of course, the cash has come at a sea­son and it was the first time we’d beaten in each of the last three years.

lookM what that really means is:‘The other team price. Back in the sum­mer, Malaysian worn the red strip. We won 4-1, all the So will Mackay be bol­ster­ing an al­ready rest like to go long’. Peo­ple try to de­flect from own­ers Vin­cent Tan and Tien Ghee new play­ers per­formed and there for­mi­da­ble squad in Jan­uary? rule their own sit­u­a­tion by talk­ing about what (TG) re­fused to in­vest in the play­ing was a real ex­cite­ment in the sta­dium “If some­one with an X-fac­tor be­comes Mac that night. It hasn’t left since. I think it helps mas­sively that they’ve seen the owner do the things he said he would – put money into the team and into the club.

“The man has put £40m into the club over four years.There aren’t many of those peo­ple around right now and with­out him, we would go the same way as Leeds.

Lucky

RED­BIRDS: Craig Noone (left), Hei­dar Hel­gu­son (right) and Malky with Craig Bel­lamy (be­low)

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