The Cardiff City Supporters' Trust has appealed to the owner Vincent Tan not to undermine Malky Mackay's position as manager, with the club refusing to comment on claims they asked the popular Scot to resign.
Mackay's position at the Welsh club appears vulnerable after his head of recruitment, Iain Moody, was placed on gardening leave and replaced on an acting basis by Alisher Apsalyamov, a 23-year-old from Kazakhstan who he is believed to be a friend of Tan's son and spent last summer on work experience with Cardiff. The development was followed by reports that the club had requested the resignation of Mackay, who led them to the top flight this past season – where they had last played in 1962 – and has overseen an encouraging start to this campaign.
Cardiff have refused to comment on the Mackay reports but the manager has no plans to quit despite being unhappy at the treatment of his close adviser. Moody, who also worked with the Scot at Watford, was initially suspended on Wednesday amid allegations of an overspend on the summer transfer budget. He was later informed he had been placed on gardening leave.
The latest controversy at the Malaysian-owned club has unsurprisingly caused alarm among supporters. Tim Hartley, chair of the supporters' trust, said: "Fans will be concerned with the recent behind-the-scene developments at Cardiff City which appear to put into question the future of our manager, Malky Mackay. Supporters are surprised that someone who appears to have little hands-on experience has been put in charge of transfers at the football club.
"Fans want Malky Mackay, who has done a fantastic job as manager taking the club to the Premier League, to remain at Cardiff City. We don't want to see any action taken to undermine his position as manager and Cardiff City's efforts to have a successful first season in the top division.
"There are fears that the current developments could drive Malky into the arms of another Premier League club and that would be hugely damaging for the Bluebirds. Malky is a talented manager who has huge respect among the fans for what he has delivered. Fans deserve a clear statement on the position from the club on what has been happening and Malky's position needs to be made perfectly clear."
Former England manager Graham Taylor was chairman of Watford when Mackay was manager and believes there is a serious prospect of the Scot leaving Cardiff. "I think there is a distinct possibility of that," said Taylor. "On the face of it, if you are the manager of all things football you are being usurped. I cannot believe the decision to replace Iain. I just cannot believe it. It is a very, very strange situation."