THE MAN WHO LIFTED the I-League trophy for Mohun Bagan after the fabled climax at Kanteerava back in May has finally found an ISL franchise for himself.
Shilton Paul, the 27 year old goalkeeper who captains the Kolkata giants went unsold in the 2015 ISL Players' Draft. Priced at Rs 22.50 lakhs, he was one of the 72 players whose name was not called out by any franchise. But Kerala Blasters, who were one short of the three mandatory goalkeeping positions in their squad, have agreed to sign him on loan from Bagan, at a fee significantly less than his asking price at the Draft. According to a report published in The Times of India, all formalities will be completed by Monday.
Shilton Paul comes from a family of staunch Mohun Bagan supporters. His father, being a fan of the legendary England and Liverpool goalkeeper Peter Shilton, named his son after him. A graduate from the Tata Football Academy, Shilton joined Mohun Bagan in 2007. True to his roots, he has showed immense loyalty to the club, and has become the longest serving player in their team. He was part of the squad when Bagan won the Federation Cup back in 2008, and became part of Indian football folklore when he accepted the I-League trophy as the Mohun Bagan captain in 2013-14, the club's first national league win since 2002. So far he has played 42 I-League matches, all for Bagan.
Shilton also represented the country in 3 matches, when India sent their U-20 team to play in the 2006 AFC Challenge Cup. He was on the bench during the 2007 Asian Cup qualifiers, but did not get to make a senior national team debut.
During the inaugural Indian Super League, Shilton was part of the Chennaiyin FC squad, for whom he made 4 appearances. Now he will join the veteran duo of Stephen Bywater and Sandip Nandy as the third-choice goalkeeper for Kerala Blasters. It will be interesting to see if he gets any game time during ISL 2.
It is unclear whether Shilton will remain with Mohun Bagan for the remainder of their Calcutta Football League campaign or join the Kerala Blasters team immediately for their pre-season. But since he is the third keeper, and on loan from Bagan, it is likely that after signing for the Blasters he will return to Kolkata, especially for taking part in the Kolkata Derby coming up on 6th September.