THE KOLKATA-BASED FRANCHISE Atletico de Kolkata or ATK have won the Indian Super League the maximum number of times; that is two. Both wins were under two different coaches; the first under Antonio Habas and the latest under Jose Molina.
This season ATK have appointed Teddy Sheringham as their coach. 51 year-old Teddy has been a player renowned for his goal scoring in his playing days. He has donned jerseys of English clubs like Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspurs. He also played for the likes of Portsmouth, Notthigham Forest, Colchester United and Milwall. Besides club, he has represented the country at the Under 21 and senior levels, having scored eleven goals in over 50 national caps.
Now that we do know of Sheringham's illustrative playing career, let's also explore the new ATK coach's managerial career. Well, not sure if this is going to surprise many, but he has a total managerial experience of just eight months! He recently was handed the coaching role at League Two side Stevenage in England and he was sacked after only eight months with managing just seven wins from 33 games in-charge. Certainly Teddy has the coaching licence to get a coaching job but he has not been a full time coach for a very long time. Under the highly experienced Big Sam or Sam Allardyce at West Ham United, Teddy served as an assistant coach. Under Big Sam, he received some exposure into management and he went on to take up his first stint as coach and manager at Stevenage.
So how will Sheringham's little experience into coaching and management help him do well at ATK? There is no secret that ISL has been the trial and error playground for many foreigners who have been wanting to try their hand at coaching being past their prime. There have been multiple instances where former aging star players have come to the ISL to act as player and coach; Nicolas Anelka and Marco Materazzi are a few examples. But the three past years of ISL are no longer the same as the one this year for various reasons. To begin with, it is no longer a two-month fast forward overdose of football event or a famed marquee festival. It has taken a step further to showing real intent by spreading out the fixtures over a period of five months and the winners will even be awarded a spot in the AFC continental tournaments. The number of foreigners has also drastically being reduced to just eight and importance has been given to have more Indians on the field.
Many ISL franchises have considered the longish or more of a regular season and roped in experienced and full time coaches. ATK, on the other hand, are banking on Teddy's successful playing career to compensate for his comparative lack of coaching experience. But as the trend of marquee players has been in the team; merely to add brand/visible value to the team, having a "marquee player" as a coach could also be following along the same lines. If you look at ATK's new Technical Director, may be the picture starts to get clearer. A successful coach like Ashley Westwood being part of ATK, has been sidelined with the TD's tag. Westwood guided newly formed Bengaluru FC to mutiple titles in his three year at the club. Westwood could be Teddy's guiding hand at managing the team along a well-directed path.
Sherringham's United past is already paying off for ATK with many of their foreign signings being former United players. Whether he can take the reigns and make them gel well with the Indians in the squad, only time will tell.
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