The Rundown

Football’s most brutal dictators: 7 trigger-happy foreign owners

With Cardiff owner Vincent Tan seeming on the brink of chopping manager Malky Mackay, we look at non-British Premier League chiefs who have sacked managers.

1. Vincent Tan (Cardiff City)

'Eccentric' doesn't do Malaysian business mogul Tan justice. After angering fans by changing the colour of their shirts from blue to red, before sacking the highly rated director of football and trying to replace him with his Kazakh mate's son, Vinny has inexplicably taken boss Mackay to task for, well, we're not really sure. Tan appears to be a classic case of 'good businessman, bad football man' as he doesn't seem to realise that results on the pitch come from players and coaching, not the chairman. Also sacked Dave Jones in 2011 after Cardiff failed to get through the play-offs.

2. Roman Abramovich (Chelsea)

Most Chelsea fans are content to tolerate Abramovich's trigger happy nature, as the Russian's billions have transformed the club into one of the biggest in Europe. He can show us his medals and insist his approach has worked. And he has hired and fired at a dizzying rate - Claudio Ranieri, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Andre Villas-Boas, Carlo Ancelotti, Roberto Di Matteo and, of course, Jose Mourinho have all been deemed surplus to requirements. The sacking of Mourinho - since restored to his role - particularly upset fans, while those of Ancelotti and Di Matteo came months after they had won major titles. But as long as Roman puts his money where his mouth is, fans are guaranteed major signings.

3. Shahid Khan (Fulham)

Newcomer Khan does not have a reputation as a hatchet man, but you can't argue with a record of two managers in 16 games. You could argue that Martin Jol was a dead man walking from the moment Mohamed Al-Fayed sold up in July, as new chairmen often want to bring in their own guy. Jol was certainly on his last legs when, despite his protests that he was involved in the deal, former Manchester United skills coach Rene Meulensteen was brought in as number two. Rene is now top boss - for the time being - although American businessman Khan will be acutely aware that, unlike his underperforming Jacksonville Jaguars NFL side, Fulham can get relegated.

4. Randy Lerner (Aston Villa)

Another American owner, Lerner's arrival at Villa was greeted with delight as he let Martin O'Neill splash the cash. But, angered that O'Neill couldn't take the club into the Champions League, Lerner demanded cut-backs severe enough to make George Osborne wince, and sold some of the club's best players without allowing the coach to replace them. O'Neill walked, and since then Alex McLeish was fired after just one (admittedly disastrous) season. Paul Lambert is now doing a fine job on a shoestring budget - it's a far cry from the O'Neill side that looked like genuine title contenders.

5. Sheikh Mansour (Manchester City)


As with Fulham and Khan, City could have been forgiven for dispensing of Mark Hughes after just one season as he was given the job by the previous owners. But the manner of Hughes' sacking - after a win against Chelsea and with Roberto Mancini reportedly in the stadium - left a bad taste in the mouth. Mansour gave Mancini a few years to bring home the title, but was quick to ditch the Italian after City took a step back last season. As with Abramovich, the spending backs up the ambition - Manuel Pellegrini must bring home trophies, or else.

6. Nicola Cortese (Southampton)

Fans were stunned when Nigel Adkins was fired so soon after leading Saints to the Premier League from League One. Yet another example of a trigger-happy foreign chairman with no understanding of what it means to secure back-to-back promotions. But, unlike most other chiefs, Cortese was aware that you shouldn't sack a boss without having a better option lined up. In this case it was Mauricio Pochettino, who has attracted top international talent and turned Saints into genuine contenders for a European place. Ruthless, yes, but a year on it looks like a stroke of inspired genius.

7. Ellis Short (Sunderland)

Another American, the reclusive Short has spent freely since taking over Sunderland, but something isn't quite right at the Stadium of Light. Steve Bruce didn't last too long, but he was already there, and many thought replacement Martin O'Neill a superb choice. But his fortunes dwindled and a looming relegation battle led to a panic sacking and the hiring of Paolo Di Canio, which looked pretty rash at the time, and the Italian's brief reign did not disappoint. Di Canio kept Sunderland up, but his inflammatory management style wrought havoc in the dressing room and he was quickly removed. New man Gus Poyet is a good coach and clever tactician, but he too has had man-management issues at previous clubs, so it remains to be seen how long he lasts...