Starting his managerial career in 1986, Yilmaz Vural has worked at 25 different clubs in Turkey since then.
The colourful manager, who’s known for his unusual touchline antics, has spoken to Sport Witness about almost being appointed Cardiff City manager in 2013, only for it to collapse.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was the reason.
Speaking about the failed move, Vural said it all started when he met the Daily Mail’s Matt Barlow in London: “My son was in London at that time. We went to see him with couple of my friends, they introduced me to Matt Barlow. He was very impressed and amazed with my career. I’d managed 22 clubs back then and he said he would write something about me.
“After that, the article published. When Cardiff City’s Turkish CEO Mehmet Dalman saw that, he immediately called Barlow. All of a sudden, I had the offer on the table. Vincent Tan, the Cardiff owner, looked at my CV and thought I would be great for the job.
“The club’s owner is a bit of a different person. He had his issues with the fans about the way he operated the club. But I think he’s a bit crazy, just like me! I thought we will get along quite well with him.”
However, Malky Mackay’s presence made things interesting for Yilmaz Vural and his agent: “My agent came to me and said Mackay will likely be dismissed. He said if Cardiff appoints me just after that, it won’t be a good thing because Mackay had the support of Cardiff City fans. We decided to wait for a couple of months.”
Vural explained that he subsequently studied all aspects of life in Wales, the culture, how people live, and what they like from football: “In those two months, I studied like crazy. I checked all the players, watched all the games, picked up some information about the staff and so on. I was sure that I was taking the job, I’d set some tactics in my mind and I was quite ready.”
Despite his wishes, Vural claims Solskjaer beat him to the job as only he and the Norwegian were options for Cardiff: “At the end, my manager informed me that they would decide between me and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. As soon as I heard that, I knew he would take the job. And I told my agent that if they chose him, the club would be relegated. And that’s exactly what happened.”
According to Vural, it could have been very different for both Cardiff City and his incredible career if they’d have chosen him over the current Manchester United boss.
The 66 year old manager said he moved on without any hard feelings, as life is too short for regrets.