LONDON (Reuters) - Malaysian billionaire Vincent Tan has said he would not have got involved in Cardiff City if he had foreseen the problems that confronted him but is convinced the story can have a happy ending.
Tan, in the third part of an interview for Sky Sports filmed on his yacht in Malaysia and broadcast on Wednesday, also said he had no regrets about changing the club’s shirts from blue to red despite vehement opposition from most of the fans.
He said he had so far invested around 170 million pounds ($275.60 million) into the club and believed he could still make the club profitable -- although he still did not like having a bluebird on their badge.
Tan, 62, who has an estimated worth of US$1.3 billion according to Forbes magazine, told Sky: ”If I had known that it was so difficult and the problems that we faced, maybe I wouldn’t have invested.
”But having said that, I think it is a challenge and I believe that eventually this will end well. I believe that I can make this investment profitable.
“Of course, my friends think I’m crazy, that it is impossible to make it profitable, but I believe that it is possible, so time will tell.”
Tan said he had never seen a football match in his life until he watched Cardiff against Blackpool in the 2010 promotion playoff final at Wembley with a place in the Premier League awaiting the winner.
“After that I got bitten by the football bug, I found it very exciting, very interesting - 90,000 people cheering, full of energy,” said the Malaysian, who had invested six million pounds before that match.
Asked how much he had invested to date, Tan replied: ”Maybe about 160, 170 million (pounds).
“I didn’t expect to invest that kind of money when I first got involved....then when I reached 20 million I said I’m ready to put in more money and maybe invest up to 100 million if they can let me change the colour from blue to red.”
Tan said he had also wanted to replace the bluebird with a dragon but reluctantly reached a compromise to have both.
Cardiff, who had last played in the top flight in 1962, were promoted to the Premier League in 2013 but lasted for only one traumatic season before being relegated immediately.
Manager Malky Mackay, hugely popular with the fans, was sacked in December and former Manchester United player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced him on Jan.2 after success coaching Molde in his native Norway.
But he failed to keep Cardiff up and left last month after they made a bad start to this season.
Since then Cardiff have climbed to midtable under caretaker managers Scott Young and Danny Gabbidon while Russell Slade, the former manager of Leyton Orient, is lined up to take the job permanently when he is free contractually to do so.
In the wide-ranging interview Tan said he would consider selling the club if and when they returned to the Premier League and would like to invest in another British club and in a Major League Soccer club in the United States.
(1 US dollar = 0.6168 British pound)
Reporting by Mike Collett, editing by Alan Baldwin