Did ATK want Ashley Westwood as coach before Teddy Sheringham?

Two officials connected to the ISL have told Hindustan Times separately that the defending champions ATK had asked whether they could get Ashley Westwood as coach for 2017-18.

football Updated: Jul 24, 2017 10:24 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
ATK,Ashley Westwood,Teddy Sheringham
Ashley Westwood was the manager of Bengaluru FC. (Twitter)

Are Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) spending nearly $500,000 (Rs 3.22 crore approximately) this season on former England striker Teddy Sheringham because their proposal to appoint Ashley Westwood as coach was rejected by the Indian Super League (ISL)?

Two officials connected to the ISL have told Hindustan Times separately that the defending champions had asked whether they could get Westwood as coach for 2017-18. The sources said the league didn’t think Westwood fit the profile of an ISL coach and told ATK as much.

What ISL coaches must have

Head coaches in ISL franchises must be either an international manager or coach with significant experience and track record or a high-profile international player wishing to move into management after acquiring the required coaching badges.

READ | ISL Player Draft: Eugeneson Lyngdoh leads Bengaluru FC players’ beeline to ATK

That means the likes of Marco Materazzi, Florent Malouda and Roberto Carlos --- all former stars and ISL coaches --- would qualify as would Sheringham.

In the other category would be Antonio Lopez Habas, who won the first ISL and is now with FC Pune City, Miguel Angel Portugal, who has managed Real Madrid B and C teams, Racing Santander and Valladolid before joining Delhi Dynamos, Sergio Rodriguez, who before taking over at FC Goa was in Tito Villanova’s backroom staff at Barcelona, Kerala Blasters’ Rene Meulensteen who was with Alex Ferguson’s assistant at Manchester United and Chennaiyin FC’s John Gregory who has coached extensively in England.

In a third category would be Jamshedpur FC’s coach Steve Coppell, and Mumbai City FC’s Alexandre Guimaraes who have been successful players and experienced managers.

With Bengaluru FC being his first job and a short stint in Malaysia’s Penang the only other assignment, Westwood, according to the sources, didn’t fulfil the requirements. When in 2014, Bengaluru FC were contemplating joining the ISL, they too had proposed Westwood would stay as coach. The ISL had turned it down even then. A Bengaluru FC official confirmed this to Hindustan Times on Saturday.

READ | ISL player draft: Teams spend big on defenders, strikers take backseat

Through an e-mail on Friday evening, Hindustan Times asked ATK whether they had sought Westwood as coach and appointed Sheringham only after that wasn’t allowed. On Saturday afternoon ATK CEO Raghu Iyer was quoted as saying by a team spokesperson that “this is not true.”

Given how successful he was in three seasons at Bengaluru FC, Westwood was named technical director by ATK earlier this month.

Speaking about Sheringham’s appointment here on Saturday, ATK’s principal owner Sanjiv Goenka said: “Raghu and I met Teddy in London and that was when we decided to have him as the head coach. That was several weeks ago.” At nearly half-a-million dollars, Sheringham will be one of the highest-paid coaches in the ISL.

First Published: Jul 24, 2017 09:08 IST