Malky Mackay has left Watford to become the new manager of Championship rivals Cardiff City, succeeding Dave Jones.Scot Mackay, 39, has agreed a three-year contract with the Welsh club, who have been without a head coach since the dismissal of Jones on May 30.
Cardiff must pay Watford an undisclosed sum in compensation for Mackay, who had agreed a new three-year contract at Vicarage Road in March this year.
“I see a club with massive ambition, an infrastructure that is exciting, a beautiful stadium, great training facilities and a club that wants to go places,” Mackay said at his unveiling as Cardiff manager on Friday.
“It’s well documented the finances we’ve been working under at Watford.”
“Watford over the last couple of years have fought hard under the restrictions. But coming here gives me an opportunity to challenge at the top of the table.”
A centre back for Celtic, Norwich and Watford, Mackay moved from a playing role to the coaching staff at Vicarage Road in 2008, serving as caretaker manager following the sacking of Aidy Boothroyd and then as an assistant to Brendon Rodgers.
After Rodgers resigned in June 2009, Mackay assumed the full-time manager’s role, guiding the team to 16th in 2009/10 and 14th last season.
Expectations are likely to be high at Cardiff, who brought Jones’ six-year reign at the club to an end after he failed to secure promotion to the English Premier League, despite reaching the playoffs in each of the past two seasons.
Watford, meanwhile, will now begin the search for their third new manager in the past two years.
“I can’t hide the fact I’m disappointed to see Malky leave,” Watford owner Laurence Bassini said.
“I do, however, wish him the very best of luck and every success for the future as he begins work at his new club.”