Cardiff City football club sack manager Malky Mackay
The saga over Malky Mackay's future at Cardiff has come to an end after the club confirmed the Scot had been relieved of his duties.
The 42-year-old's exit had been widely predicted after owner Vincent 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."
Mackay had always insisted he would not resign, and this had long appeared to be the only realistic outcome of his dispute with Tan that first came to light when head of recruitment Iain Moody was dismissed in October.
Even Dalman's statement that Mackay would remain in charge came with the caveat that there would need to be a reconciliation between owner and manager.
Mackay had twice requested a meeting with Tan and Dalman earlier this week in order to discuss their differences, but the Scot revealed the Malaysian had turned them down.
Talks had been due to be held on Saturday, when Cardiff face Sunderland, but in the end Mackay did not last long enough.
Mackay, who has been linked with the vacancy at West Brom, had launched a staunch defence of his performance as manager, which Tan sternly criticised in his email ultimatum, following the defeat to the Saints.
He had said: "Overall this football club is competing well in the Premier League this season.
"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."
Mackay had guided the Bluebirds to the League Cup final in 2012 and the Championship title in 2013. They lie 16th in the Premier League, one point above the relegation zone at the time of his departure.
Former Manchester United striker and Molde manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer is among the favouties to replace Mackay, while Sven-Goran Eriksson and Turkish journeyman Yilmaz Vural have also been suggested as potential candidates.
Earlier on Friday, Vural's agent had mischievously tweeted that "explosive" events lay ahead at Cardiff.
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 !"
When news of Mackay's sacking broke, he added: "New page has been turned over as I said .... Wish the best for MM."
MALKY MACKAY FACTFILE
1972: Born February 19, Belshill, North Lanarkshire.
1990: After coming through the youth ranks at Queen's Park, Mackay makes 70 appearances.
1993: Moves to Celtic on a free transfer.
1998: May - Part of Celtic's SPL-winning squad.
September - Joins Norwich for £350,000.
2004: April - Wins first of five Scotland caps aged 32 in a friendly against Denmark.
May - Promoted to the Premier League with Norwich and is named in the First Division team of the year.
September - Joins West Ham for £300,000 after more than 200 appearances for the Canaries.
2005: May - West Ham win promotion to the top flight.
August - Joins Watford on a free transfer.
2006: Watford win Championship play-off final.
2008: Mackay makes just one appearance in the 2007-08 season.
November - Named caretaker manager after Aidy Boothroyd leaves Vicarage Road. Brendan Rodgers is eventually named Watford boss with Mackay becoming coach.
2009: June - Rodgers leaves and Mackay is named Watford boss. Guides the Hornets to 16th in the Championship.
2011: Watford finish 14th.
June 17: Joins Cardiff on a three-year contract.
2012: February 26 - Beaten 3-2 on penalties in the League Cup final by Liverpool after the match had ended 2-2 after extra time.
May - Cardiff finish sixth in the Championship but lose 5-0 on aggregate to West Ham in the play-offs.
2013: April 16 - Guides Cardiff to the Barclays Premier League following a 0-0 draw at home to Charlton.
May 21: Named as the LMA manager of the year in the Championship.
August: Cardiff start the season with a 2-0 defeat to West Ham but respond with a 3-2 win over Manchester City.
October 9: Cardiff owner Vincent Tan suspends Mackay's head of recruitment, Iain Moody, and replaces him with unknown Alisher Apsalyamov - reportedly a friend of his son. Moody's departure is later confirmed.
December 14: A 1-0 win over West Brom ends a five-game winless run.
December 16: Tan tells Mackay he is unhappy at him saying he wants to sign three new players in the January transfer window.
December 19: Tan tells Mackay to resign or be sacked.
December 21: Mackay insists he will not resign from his post after Tan is present for a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.
December 22: Chairman Mehmet Dalman says Mackay will remain in charge at Cardiff for the "foreseeable future".
December 26: Cardiff fans protest against Tan before and during a 3-0 home defeat to Southampton.
December 27: Mackay is relieved of his duties by Cardiff.
Belfast Telegraph Digital