The Malaysian entry into English football has been decidedly mixed.
Most headlines have focused on the Queens Park Rangers. Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes has wrestled with issues at the London club ever since taking a controlling share in 2011.
Now the Air Asia owner is facing relegation from the English Premier League, despite making significant investments in players and coaching staff.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
Thankfully, better news has come from Cardiff City, owned by Malaysian Vincent Tan. Although the team is Welsh, it plays in the English leagues and from next season will play in the top of the lot, the world-famous Premier League. Cardiff clinched promotion to the promised land with a 0-0 draw with Charlton Athletic.
"It's nice to be over the finish line. We deserve to go up, there's no doubt about it," Cardiff forward Craig Bellamy told Sky Sports. "Let's enjoy tonight and see where the next two weeks take us, try and finish as champions. This city's been craving it for a number of years now. It's going to be good."
The team’s promotion is a vindication of sorts for Tan who upset fans before the start of the season by changing the team colors from blue to red – a big deal for any team, especially one that has been nicknamed the Bluebirds for decades.
"In Asia, red is the color of joy, red is the color of festivities and of celebration,” Tan said. "In Chinese culture, blue is the color of mourning.”
Tan lessened the pain by spending big on players who have strengthened the club and has promised to spend even more leading up to the much tougher season ahead in the English Premier League.
"We need to strategize well and we'd like to spend some money – maybe 20 to 25 million," Tan said. "Others have spent a big amount of money and don't do well, so we will try to spend smartly."
His ultimate aim seems to be gaining Cardiff fans in Asia, where the Premier League is hugely popular.
"You look at Man United and Liverpool and they are red – they are much more successful and have a bigger fan base than Chelsea or Manchester City,” Tan added.
But Tan only needs to ask compatriot Fernandes to find out how tough life in the Premier League can be. Just this week the Rangers borrowed 15 million GBP from Barclays Bank, the first loan since the Malaysian took control in 2011.
With relegation beckoning, the team will no longer have access to the riches from television.