Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay was today relieved of his duties by owner Vincent Tan – a day ahead of Sunderland’s crucial Premier League visit to the Welsh capital.
The 42-year-old’s exit had been widely predicted after Tan last week sent him an email demanding he resign or be sacked.
That ultimatum was briefly lifted when chairman Mehmet Dalman stated Mackay would be in charge for the “forseeable future”, but the 3-0 Boxing Day defeat against Southampton proved the ex-Watford boss’ last in charge.
A statement on the Cardiff website read: “The Board of Directors at Cardiff City Football Club have today relieved Malky Mackay of his duties.
“A new first team manager will be appointed and announced in due course.”
The agent of Yilmaz Vural, the Turkish journeyman manager who has been linked with the Cardiff job, mischeviously tweeted that “explosive” events lie ahead.
Muzzi Ozcan tweeted: “The story is coming to a End in Wales and a new story will be born ... The next 48 hours will be explosive !”
Mackay earlier offered an impassioned defence of his performance, and that of his side.
“Overall this football club is competing well in the Premier League this season,” he said, despite the disappointment of yesterday’s 3-0 defeat to Southampton.
“We are not in the bottom three at around the halfway stage.
“Myself and my staff knew exactly how tough this was going to be this season, as did the players and the media.
“We are competing well, there are games we should have won, there are games we should have done better in.
“This is a season where I firmly believe we can stay in this league and build on it.
“There are plenty of good people at this football club, in terms of staff and players, all pulling in one direction and we believe we can do that.
“Where we are is probably where I thought we were going to be, it was always going to be a tough battle no matter what as we were playing catch-up like the other two teams who came up.”
Looking ahead to the Sunderland match, Mackay had said: “It is another team who are round about us like West Brom a couple of weeks ago.
“They had a very good win at Everton and we know it is going to be a very tough game without a doubt.
“They have a new manager in, it gives a new fresh impetus.
“Gus is a good man, someone who I know well. It is going to be a tough game. It is a tough ask, two games in three days, but it is one we are looking forward to.”