With the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as first team manager, Cardiff City supporters must be now be hoping for a period of stability in their quest to retain their newly won Premier League status. As this season marks the first occasion in which the Welsh team have appeared in the English top flight, the campaign was eagerly anticipated by the majority of the fans. Instead, recent months have been marked by protests and in-fighting which cannot have helped morale among the players.
Since Vincent Tan bought a controlling share in Cardiff City, the club seems to have become embroiled in a series of controversial issues especially in recent times. The initial decision to alter the colour of the home shirts from blue to red, despite the club nickname ‘Bluebirds’, was the first of the controversial moves.
Following previous manager Malky Mackay’s successful attempt at securing promotion from the Championship after several near misses, it appeared that the Malaysian takeover and investment portfolio was proving a success. However, when Datuk Chan Tien Chee resigned in March 2013 to pursue other interests, the relationship between the manager and the Malaysian owners began to deteriorate significantly.
As Mackay attempted to strengthen the first team squad to compete at the highest level, there were accusations of overspending with the subsequent dismissal of head of recruitment Iain Moody. His replacement, 23 year old Alisher Apsalyamov, was later removed due to work permit issues amid a series of public spats between Mackay and Tan.
Mackay was supported by the fans who in turn have derided Tan at recent matches and now that the owner has replaced the Scot with Norwegian Solksjaer, he must be hoping to regain some lost trust at the football club.
The appointment of Solksjaer is gamble, although he does arrive with a sound reputation after a successful stint leading Manchester United reserves and guiding Molde FK to the Norwegian championship for the first time in their history. He followed that by retaining the title and then winning the cup in 2013.
Nevertheless, the Norwegian Tippeligaen is a far different proposition from the English Premier League, yet Solskjaer will be expected to hit the ground running with extensive funds apparently available to strengthen the first team squad.
He may court favour with the supporters should he accumulate some much needed points but he will also be mindful of the popularity of his predecessor in the events of results not being as productive as initially hoped.
Against a background of a club experiencing a turbulent recent history under the wing of an unconventional owner, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer faces a tough baptism to life as Premier League manager.