About an hour before I started writing this, I found out that Malky Mackay would be replacing Uwe Rosler as manager at Wigan Athletic. Before I go on, I’ve an apology, I’m writing this in the “heat” of the moment. I’m not right happy about the idea and you’re almost certainly not getting the most measured intelligent piece I’ll ever write. I might even say things I come to regret, after all I’m not perfect.
Then again, a list of things I’ve never done would include implying a member of my team would raid the streets for dogs because he’s Asian, implied that a business associate was a greedy money grabber, because he’s Jewish, considered a white colleague preferable to one of a different skin colour, implied another business associate should be handing out sexual favours because she’s female and singled out someone I didn’t trust over other untrustworthy people because of their sexuality.
Oh, and I’ve definitely never sent everyone I work with an email letting on that I might think that all black people are criminals. But hey, everything’s ok in the privacy of your own mobile phone isn’t it? Even better if it’s in the name of BANTER, right?
Actually, I’m going to say no. To take each in turn…
I don’t want to get into a privacy debate, so I’m not going down the line of asking whether we’ve a right to be concerned about the content of private communications. What I will point out is that the messages that the press report that Mackay exchanged with his good buddy Iain Moody were about colleagues and business associates, regarding football business and were sent on club equipment. They were anything but private communications and behaving like that at my place of work would be extremely career limiting.
Yes, even if it was just BANTER.
God, how I hate that phrase. It stands right next to “No offence but…” in the line of pathetic get out clauses for hurting someone’s feelings and right behind “I was only following orders” in the list of excuses for when you get caught out behaving in a way that just isn’t acceptable. It’s everywhere and apparently more cleansing that 20 Hail Marys and 8 Our Fathers. You can fully expect Charles Manson’s best man to explain how he won his bride to be over by dismissing his exploits with the phrase “theys just BANTS innit?”.
If Louis Suarez can’t get away with the “cultural differences” defence to racially abusing someone then surely the bants backtrack should be equally ineffective. Ok so Mackay didn’t use the word banter himself, but if he’s accepting he sent those messages and claiming he’s not racist, homophobic or anti-sematic then what exactly were they? At best they were a spectacular misjudgement, not unprecedented, I’ve got a few stories from work of managers who’ve been sacked or forced to resign following any number of misdemeanours, to my knowledge none are working in similar positions of power anymore.
And that’s the thing isn’t it? I’m not saying that Mackay shouldn’t work ever again, but, in my eyes by involving himself in these base, inappropriate messages he’s put serious doubts over his suitability to hold a position of serious responsibility. He may have apologised, but contrition and trust aren’t the same thing and he’s done nothing to earn back the latter. As Latics manger he’ll have to deal with black people, women, Jews, Asians and, I guess, homosexuals. He’ll have to represent the club in local and national communities including all of those people. Will any of them be able to deal with him on a proper footing, or will suspicions remain about his feelings?
Presumably we all want the club to presented in a positive light to the outside world, what do you think they’re saying about Mackay’s appointment right now? And his appointment is the one thing you can’t blame him for.
I’ve spent most of the last week telling people that Whelan wasn’t stupid enough to appoint a man with these image problems. I’ve not said it, but I’d definitely have thought he wasn’t stupid enough to appoint a man who’s currently under investigation by the FA, a man who could easily be about to made an example of. A man who has had three months reading worth of evidence submitted against him especially when it’s not clear whether that evidence contains information about things other than inappropriate messages and even if it doesn’t then there’s seemingly the possibility of other evidence coming to light at some point.
Well, it turns out he is. No doubt he’ll have spoken to Mackay about the allegations and any potential allegations. He might be happy with the answers that he got, but I wonder whether he’s asked himself how the distraction of the situation might affect a side currently struggling for focus and confidence. I wonder whether he’s considered why, if there’s nothing of substance in all this that Crystal Palace chose not to offer Mackay a position, shortly before Moody resigned.
I don’t know the answers, there may not be anything coming from the FA, Mackay might be the stand-up guy that Gary Caldwell tells us he is, he may be genuinely sorry that he got caught up in an “office culture” where this sort of thing was possibly expected or encouraged, Cardiff may not have and might not in the future accuse him of any other wrong doings but I know that, whilst the answers aren’t out there, it doesn’t feel right and I’m not happy with Mackay being the manager of my club.
I’ve considered whether I could or should stop going whilst he’s in charge (or until he’s been charged at least), I spent most of last season telling Liverpool fans they were wrong to blindly stand by Suarez and it feels hypocritical to not take some kind of stand. I probably won’t, there’s no financial impact on the club if I don’t go as my share of his wages are already paid, neither do I go to watch, or support, the manager. I didn’t appoint the manager and I want my club to do well, I want the palyers to do well, the fact that their performances might somehow resurrect Mackay’s standing in the game, is everyone else’s fault not Latics fans’.
But I won’t be criticising anyone who chooses to withdraw their (financial) support, I won’t be telling them that they aren’t proper supporters or, laughably, that it’s them that’s being prejudiced by not giving Mackay a chance. If someone feels strongly enough about the subject to act on it then good on them, they have my support.
And then there’s the football, remember that? It’s what Mackay’s been employed to do afterall, he’s a step in the right direction, right? Only time will tell, but his championship win percentage is 39%, Uwe’s was 40%. Mackay has lost 31% of his games at this level, Uwe 30%. It’s been a noisy few years at Latics and there’s no evidence that we’ll be getting some peace anytime soon.
Keep on keeping on…
I’m not about to link you to the Daily Mail but there’s a Telegraph article (yeah, I know, not much better) here that covers most of the basis and links out to other articles that go wider on the Tan/Mackay/Moody story if you haven’t already seen the details.
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