SUBRATA PAL HAS JOINED Hyderabad FC for the 2020-21 season; making the 1 year old ISL franchise the 12th club the veteran goalkeeper will turn out for.
For the former Indian international, signing for Jamshedpur FC back in 2017 was a return to home of sorts; having emerged from the Tata Football Academy before entering senior level football in 2004.
While the keeper, nicknamed 'Spider Man' since his exploits in the Asian Cup 2011, has won many trophies while playing for the Indian national team including the Nehru Cup and the all-important AFC Challenge Cup in 2008, Subrata's journeyman club career has seen him miss out on silverware for years now. The last time he won a major national level trophy was in 2007, when he played a crucial role in helping East Bengal win the Federation Cup.
Since then, Pal has often been a steady hand at the back guiding young clubs to stability, but never quite ending up at the top. This was the case when he turned out for Pune FC, Rangdajied United, Mumbai City, NorthEast United, DSK Shivajians and even Jamshedpur FC.
His latest move to Hyderabad FC, a team that began its journey in ISL 2019-20 with a bottom table finish and a -18 goal difference, seems to fit right in with the steady-the-ship role he has been playing for his clubs for over a decade now.
The 6 foot 1 inch tall veteran, though, has been steady as ever, turning out regularly for his club and helping a relatively weak JFC almost make the ISL top four twice.
Last year during the World Cup Qualifiers his on-field form led to much buzz among fans who called for his inclusion in the national team as the second goalkeeper; a spot that ultimately went to Amrinder Singh. But that did not take away from the fact that he remains, even after all these years, one of the top two or three custodians in the country.
For Hyderabad FC, whose defence was a major woe throughout their debut season, this is a good place to start plugging those gaping holes.