Cardiff City fans protest against owner Vincent Tan

Fans protesting with banners outside Cardiff City Stadium
Image caption Fans protesting with banners outside Cardiff City Stadium
A fan holds up a banner aimed at Vincent Tan
Image caption A fan holds up a banner aimed at Vincent Tan
Stewards joined hands to keep the protesters at Cardiff City FC back
Image caption Stewards joined hands to keep the protesters at Cardiff City FC back
Some Cardiff fans held up shoes as part of the protest
Image caption Some Cardiff fans held up shoes as part of the protest

Hundreds of Cardiff City fans have staged a pre-match protest against owner Vincent Tan before the club's Boxing Day game with Southampton.

Supporters said they were angry at the way the Malaysian billionaire is running the club.

It follows his "resign or be sacked" ultimatum to manager Malky Mackay before a U-turn at the weekend.

Fans, many carrying banners, gathered outside Cardiff City Stadium chanting slogans against Mr Tan.

An estimated 500 people took part singing their support of Mackay and the club's traditional blue home colours, which the owner had changed to red before the start of last season.

Lee Spear, 21, from Penarth, who took a banner to the protest saying "Tan out", said he was not happy with how the club was being run.

"We understand that what we're doing today will probably not matter at all but all you can do is your best," he said.

Clare Lecrass, from Swansea, was protesting with her nine-year-old son Owain. She said he was unhappy with Mr Tan's switch of the club's main colours from blue to red.

"He is obsessed with them staying blue but he still wants to keep supporting them," she said.

Owain added: "I just want the club to play in blue because that's the right colour. I don't like the red."

Image caption Hundreds of fans took part

Ian Meadowcroft, from Llandaff in Cardiff, said: "It's outrageous. It's great we have an owner who's got the money but I just want him to stay an owner who's got the money and not try to run the club.

"They should leave that to people who know about football."

The protest has been organised through forums and social media, and follows on from fans' vocal backing of Mackay at Cardiff's game at Liverpool on Saturday.

The vast majority of the 3,000 travelling supporters chanted in support of the manager, who had earlier reportedly received an email from the owner telling him to either resign of face the sack.

'Stay out'

Fans also stayed in the ground for 45 minutes after the game in a further protest.

The controversial businessman withdrew his ultimatum after talks with Cardiff chairman Mehmet Dalman who then said: "The crisis for the time being is over."

Carl Curtis, one of the fans attending the Boxing Day protest, said the action had not been organised officially through the supporters' club or trust, but through football forums and social media.

"The idea is to protest against the way the club is being handled by Vincent Tan," said Mr Curtis.

Image caption Fans chanted their support for manager Malky Mackay

"We don't want him to be involved in the footballing side of the club. He can protect his investment, it's a huge investment and we've nothing against that. But he should stay out of the footballing side and that should be left to the manager."

He said as well as support for Mackay, the protest would also show fans' anger over the controversial rebranding exercise at the start of last season.

Mr Tan changed the colour of the club's home strip and made the Welsh dragon the main emblem on players' shirts rather than the traditional bluebird.

Mr Curtis said: "Cardiff City will always be blue."

He said fans were angry that goings on at the highest level of the club had now become a story on newspaper front pages, making Cardiff a "laughing stock" around the world.

Vince Alm, from Cardiff City Supporters' Club, said the organisation was not involved in Thursday's protest but was planning to meet Mr Tan separately.

Transfer budget

But he said he believed other forms of protest were expected inside the ground during the game, including fans walking out at half-time.

"We have got a meeting with Vincent Tan later this week. We intend to lodge any complaint at that meeting," he said.

The owner criticised 41-year-old Mackay at length in a range of areas, such as signings, transfer budgets, results on the pitch and style of play.

One of Mr Tan's concerns about the manager surrounds a perceived overspend of the transfer budget.

Cardiff broke their transfer record three times over the summer, signing striker Andreas Cornelius for £7.5m, defender Steven Caulker for £8m and then midfielder Gary Medel for £11m.

The owner claims the total budget was £35m and that £50m was spent including add-ons.

Mackay and his former head of recruitment Iain Moody, who was removed from his position in October, have denied those claims, insisting the £35m was solely for transfer fees.

Cardiff City FC told BBC Wales nobody was available to comment on the protest.

Image caption Vincent Tan changed his mind about Malky Mackay's future at the club at the weekend

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