Beware of Banter


Malky Mackay’s horrible text messages have been dismissed as ‘banter’ by the League Manager’s Association, a word that reveals as much about that organisation as it does about Mackay.

‘It’s a terrible indictment of a culture that is really only comfortable with two public emotions – fury and sniggering’.

A.A. Gill’s line is from his (brilliant) book The Angry Isle, Hunting the English

The English are addicted to the sound of themselves laughing. Laughter is the only public emotion they feel comfortable with, and the English laugh differently from other people. Listen to them. It’s harsher and louder. It’s not a personal expression, but a public affirmation, the craw of belonging. Go in to any pub and listen to the groups of boys chuckling in circles. It’s not a sound you hear anywhere else.

The LMA’s statement encourages us to think of Mackay’s casual racism as all part of the rough and tumble of the dressing room, where this ‘craw of belonging’ is at its most obvious. ‘Team spirit’ can sometimes beused as a euphemism for something similar.


THE LMA wish to clarify the position in relation to recent reports and speculation regarding matters alleged to have arisen during Malky Mackay’s time at Cardiff City FC.

In the course of a search by the Club in early 2014 of 10,000 private text messages sent to and from another member of staff during Mr Mackay’s employment at Cardiff, in relation to other matters, it emerged that Malky had, it seems, sent a couple of one line texts that were, with the benefit of hindsight, very regrettable and disrespectful of other cultures.   These were two text messages sent in private at a time Malky felt under great pressure and when he was letting off steam to a friend during some friendly text message banter. That said, Malky believes he could and should have conducted himself better on these two isolated occasions.  The precise details need to remain private for the time being until any FA process is complete.

The LMA does not condone in any way any potential breach of equal opportunities laws but would also point out that out of over 10,000 text messages and 70,000 documents produced over a long period of time it may not be a complete surprise that some inappropriate comments can sometimes be made by employees, like Malky, working under great pressure in highly charged situations.  If Malky has caused any offence by these two isolated matters he would, however,  wish to sincerely apologise.

Malky finds it strange that these matters were only raised with the FA and in the media now, 8 months after his employment ended and the day before he was reported as being offered the opportunity to become manager of Crystal Palace FC.

Malky is also very concerned about seriously inaccurate and misleading reports of his alleged involvement in these matters in the media. It has never been alleged that he wrote any homophobic or sexist messages and he has confirmed that he did not do so.  Further, there are incorrect and damaging suggestions that he sent a whole host of offensive and unpleasant messages that are simply not true and which give a grossly distorted and unfair view of Malky’s involvement in this matter. Malky looks forward to matters being put straight in due course, following any investigation of this matter.

Malky cannot of course comment on the nature of any conduct or communications alleged to have been made by others.

Malky has said that he will be fully co-operating with any FA investigation and that he looks forward to putting the record straight thereafter.


The LMA is the collective, representative voice of all Barclays Premier League, Sky Bet Championship and Sky Bet Leagues 1 and 2 managers.

For more information about the LMA please visit

This is how Henry Winter viewed it.

The League Managers’ Association statement attempting to defend Malky Mackay is a missive that should be filed beneath contempt. The suggestion that racist comments can ever be deemed “banter” is risible, offensive and deeply damaging. It is not “banter”, it is bigotry.

At a time when black managers struggle to find work in English dug-outs, and many fear the presence of a glass ceiling, the lack of support from their own trade organisation must be disturbing and distressing. A penny for the thoughts of Chris Powell and Chris Hughton.

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