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ATK (football club)

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ATK (football club) Logo.png
Full name ATK
Founded 7 May 2014; 3 years ago (2014-05-07)[1]
Ground Salt Lake Stadium
Ground Capacity 85,000
Owner Kolkata Games and Sports Pvt. Ltd.
Head Coach Ashley Westwood (interim)
League Indian Super League
2016 Regular season: 4th
Finals: Champions
Website Club website
Current season

ATK (Previously known as Atlético de Kolkata), is an Indian Super League football club based in Kolkata, West Bengal. It was established on 7 May 2014 as the first team in the league, and plays its home games at the Salt Lake Stadium.

The team is owned by Kolkata Games and Sports Pvt. Ltd. which consists of former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, alongside businessmen Harshavardhan Neotia, Sanjiv Goenka and Utsav Parekh. Initially for first three seasons Spanish La Liga club Atlético Madrid were also a co-owner, later Goenka bought the shares owned by Atlético Madrid. After the end of their partnership with Spanish giant, Atletico de Kolkata has been rechristened to ATK.[2] The team's name and colours are derived from their former Spanish partner.

Under coach Antonio López Habas, Atlético were the hosts and winners of the first match of the Indian Super League. They won the inaugural season, beating Kerala Blasters 1–0 in the final, and 2 years later, in 2016 edition under José Francisco Molina kolkata won on penalties against the same opponent in the final

History[edit]

Foundation[edit]

We don’t want to compete. We just want to play. We want to bring football to Kolkata. Kolkata is the place for football besides Kerala and Goa. We want cricket to be as popular as it is but at the same time we want to develop football as well. I don’t think two popular things can’t go together. The standard of football has to be good and I am sure popularity will follow.
 — Co-owner Sourav Ganguly at the launch of the team, May 2014[3]

In March 2014, it was announced that the All India Football Federation, the national federation for football in India, and IMG-Reliance would be accepting bids for ownership of eight of nine selected cities for the upcoming Indian Super League, an eight-team franchise league modeled along the lines of the Indian Premier League cricket tournament.[4] On 13 April 2014, it was announced that Sourav Ganguly, Harshavardhan Neotia, Sanjiv Goenka, Utsav Parekh, and Spanish La Liga side Atletico Madrid had won the bid for the Kolkata franchise.[5] It turned out to be the most expensive franchise, being purchased for 18 crore (around US$3 million).[5] On 7 May 2014, the team was officially launched as Atlético de Kolkata.[1]

logo of ATK for the first three seasons

On 7 July, the team's jersey and logo were unveiled by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the Nabanna building, temporary headquarters of the state's secretariat.[6] The logo features a hybrid Bengal tigerphoenix, with the latter element being symbolic of perpetuity, due to the footballing heritage in Kolkata.[7] Five stars above the crest symbolise the five owners of the club.[7] The shield is striped with tigers' stripes.[7]

Ownership[edit]

The Kolkata Games and Sports Pvt. Ltd. is a consortium established to oversee the administration and operations of Atlético Kolkata of the Indian Super League. The consortium is made up of former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, businessmen Harshavardhan Neotia, Sanjiv Goenka, and Utsav Parekh, as well as Atlético Madrid of La Liga in Spain.[3]

The club's initial sponsors were Indian telecommunications corporation Aircel, while its partners were Kolkata-based underwear brand Lux Cozi and insurance firm Apollo Munich.[8] In October 2015, Kolkata-based Birla Tyres agreed a deal to be the principal sponsors for the club's second and third seasons.[9]

Inaugural season[edit]

Luis García was signed as the club's marquee player for the inaugural season in 2014

The club signed their first player on 4 July 2014 with the acquisition of former Real Madrid midfielder Borja Fernández.[10] The team then went on to sign two more Spaniards: their first head coach, Antonio López Habas, and marquee player, former UEFA Champions League winner Luis García, on 8 July 2014.[11]

The first Indian signing by the club took place in round one of the 2014 ISL Inaugural Domestic Draft in which Atlético de Kolkata selected Cavin Lobo, midfielder for the city's I-League team East Bengal FC, with their pick. They were the biggest spenders in the draft with an expenditure of 3.91 crore, their biggest signing being Sanju Pradhan for 70 lakh.[12] In the International Draft, four of Atlético de Kolkata's allotted seven picks were Spaniards, including defender Josemi, a UEFA Champions League winner with Liverpool in 2005.[13] On 6 September, the team bolstered their midfield with the acquisition of Mamunul Islam, captain of the Bangladesh national team, who stated that the move would help relations between East Bengal (Bangladesh) and West Bengal.[14]

The club played their first match on 12 October 2014 at home against Mumbai City FC in the opening Indian Super League match.[15] Fikru Teferra scored the first goal in team and league history in the 27th minute as Atlético de Kolkata went on to win 3–0.[15]

By finishing third in the league, the club qualified for the end-of-season play-offs, where they advanced via a penalty shootout past FC Goa in the semi-finals after a goalless draw.[16] At the final against the Kerala Blasters at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai, Atlético won 1–0 with an added-time goal by Mohammed Rafique.[17] At the end of season awards, García was named the Most Exciting Player.[18]

2015 season[edit]

Hélder Postiga was the club's marquee player in the 2015 season

On 5 June 2015, the team acquired Canadian international forward Iain Hume, whose five goals had helped Kerala to the final of the previous season.[19] In the second season's domestic draft, Atlético de Kolkata had the first pick, choosing Pune F.C. goalkeeper Amrinder Singh for a fee of 4.5 lakhs; their most expensive purchase was that of defender Augustin Fernandes for 26 lakhs.[20] On 29 July, with García released due to his injury record, the team brought in Portugal international forward Hélder Postiga as their new marquee player; aged 32, he became the youngest such player in the league.[21] García's role as captain was taken on by his compatriot Borja.[22]

Postiga scored twice in Atlético's first game of the season, a 3–2 win at Chennaiyin FC, but was substituted later in the match due to injury, and missed the rest of the campaign.[23] Pelé, regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, watched the 2–1 win over Kerala at the Salt Lake Stadium on 13 October, Atlético's first home game of the season.[24] Hume scored two hat-tricks in November, in 4–1 wins against Mumbai City,[25] and FC Pune City.[26] The latter result made the team the first to qualify for the play-offs,[27] where they lost 4–2 on aggregate to Chennaiyin.[28]

2016 season[edit]

In March 2016, it was reported that López Habas would leave the club due to concerns over his ₹2.35 crore ($350,000) annual salary.[29] On 25 April, he left for Pune.[30] On 3 May, he was replaced by another Spaniard, former Villarreal manager José Francisco Molina.[31] Postiga returned to be the marquee again, but suffered another long-term injury early into the second game of the season. The club's ownership admitted that they had wanted a different marquee due to his record, but had been unable to sign one.[32]

Atlético de Kolkata finished in fourth place, taking the final position in the finals, and were drawn against first-place Mumbai in the semi-finals.[33] They hosted a 3–2 win in the first leg, with all goals in the first half, including two by Hume, and advanced with a goalless draw in the second leg.[34] In the final, away to Kerala on 18 December, Kolkata fell behind to a goal by their former player Mohammed Rafi, and equalised before half-time with a header by defender Henrique Sereno. The game went to penalties, with Hume having Atlético's first attempt saved by Graham Stack, but Elhadji Ndoye missed for Kerala and Debjit Majumder saved from Cédric Hengbart to win Kolkata the title.[35]

2017 season[edit]

Irish striker Robbie Keane was ATK's marquee player for their fourth season

After the separation from Spanish Giants Atlético Madrid,most of the squad was not retained for the new season. ATK decided to form a new team with new ambitions to offer something new, that the fans have never witnessed before. On 14 July 2017, ATK appointed former England international striker Teddy Sheringham as their head coach for the upcoming season. While former Bengaluru FC head coach Ashley Westwood was appointed as the technical director for the club.[36] On 4 August, the team acquired former Irish international forward Robbie Keane as their new marquee player.[37] The team roped in Zequinha for the fourth edition of the league along with the likes of Carl Baker,Conor Thomas,Tom Thorpe and Jordi Figueras Montel among the foreign signings while Prabir Das and Debjit Majumdar were the only ones to be retained from the previous season. Jayesh Rane,Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Robin Singh and Keegan Pereira were some of the new Indian signings for the season.The team played their first match against Kerala Blasters where they were held at a goalless draw and later on lost to FC Pune City (4-1) at home. Former Newcastle United player Ryan Taylor was roped in to replace injured Carl Baker and played a pivotal role in the club's first win of the season against Mumbai City FC where Robin Singh scored his first ever goal for ATK. Robbie Keane scored his first ever goal in the ISL against Delhi Dynamos FC which turned out to be the only goal of the match. In the winter transfer window ATK let go of the services of Njazi Kuqi, Augustine Fernandes and Jussi Jääskeläinen. While the Finnish Goalkeeper joined as the goalkeeper coach for the club, the replacements were made very soon with ATK announcing the signing of David Cotterill, Soram Poirei and Martin Paterson into the squad.

On 24 January 2018, Sheringham was sacked by ATK after winning only three of his ten games in charge and appointed Ashley Westwood as their interim coach.[38] On 25 January, the team lost their fifth match of the season against Chennaiyin FC (2-1) at home. This was their fourth home match of the season and they were expected to shine. Martin Paterson gave the team a lead before half time but ATK could not keep it for long. The away team came strong in the second half and snatched away the win from the home side. Ryan Taylor and Zequinha both suffered injuries during the match which resulted in forced substitution of Hitesh Sharma and Ashutosh Mehta. But both of them failed to deliver. This was their first match under Ashley Westwood but the team showed the same results. The team lost their third match in a row when they faced debutants Jamshedpur FC at home. They lost the match 1-0 and showed no signs of improvement. Robbie Keane came in after recovering from a knee injury in the match against Bengaluru FC. The team lost the match 2-0 and it was their fourth consecutive loss. It was the first time in four seasons that ATK lost four consecutive matches.They faced Kerala Blasters FC in a return fixture on 8 February 2018 where they managed to hold the game 2-2 at home. The visitor took the lead twice but a goal each from Ryan Taylor and Tom Thorpe brought the home side into the game again. Soram Poirei was given his first start of the season in goal replacing Debjit Majumdar. Robbie Keane yet again didn't feature in the squad due to his groin injury along with David Cotterill, Prabir Das and Zequinha. Zequinha has travelled back home for rehab and is out for the rest of the season. They lost 2-1 at home against Mumbai City FC, meaning for the first time in four years ATK failed to make it to the playoffs. The losing spell continued for the defending champions when they lost against Delhi Dynamos FC (4-3) away from home. The home side took the lead first but a debut goal from Sibongakonke Mbatha and a brace from Robbie Keane made the away side look a sure winner but the home side came in strong in the later stages of the match and snatched away a brilliant victory.

Stadium[edit]

The 85,000-capacity Salt Lake Stadium is the home ground of Atlético de Kolkata. The multi-purpose stadium, located in Salt Lake City (Bidhan Nagar), in the outskirts of Kolkata, is the largest stadium in the country. The Salt Lake Stadium is owned by the West Bengal State Government.Salt Lake Stadium, officially known as Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK),is the largest stadium in India by seating capacity. Before its renovation in 2011, it was the second largest football stadium in the world, having a seating capacity of 120,000. Prior to the construction and opening of Rungrado May Day Stadium in 1989, it was the largest football stadium in the world. The stadium hosted the final match of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, alongside hosting other matches of the tournament.

Atlético de Kolkata played their first two seasons at Salt Lake Stadium, but in the 2016 season, they had to move to Rabindra Sarobar Stadium due to the unavailability of Salt Lake Stadium, which was shortlisted as one of the venues for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup. During the first season Atlético de Kolkata has achieved an average home attendance of 45,172 per match and most attended game of the season with 65,000 people.[39]

Salt Lake Stadium during Atlético de Kolkata vs FC Goa match on 10 December 2014

During the second season, 405,659 people attended the home matches of Kolkata (most by any club in that season) with an average of 50,707 per match, and they held the most attended game of the season for the second year in a row with 68,340 people.[40] During the third season, an average of 11,703 people per match attended the home matches of Kolkata.

Year GP Cumulative High Low Mean
2014 8 316,195 65,000 21,550 45,171
2015 8 405,659 68,340 35,437 50,707
2016 8 93,627 12,575 10,589 11,703
2017 8 110,496 32,816 4,292 13,812

Support[edit]

Atlético de Kolkata, and the ISL in general, were initially announced with a mixed reception among football fans in Kolkata. Some locals feared that it could overshadow the development of players at the city's two long-established I-League clubs, while others saw the new franchise as a way to unite both sets of I-League supporters, who would be drawn together further by the involvement of Ganguly, who is idolised across the state.[41]

Ahead of the second season, the franchise accredited the ATK Fans Fraternity (ATKFF), whose ₹800 membership includes a home season ticket and an official jersey. The fraternity offered 4,000 memberships in an exclusive part of the stadium. Firstpost journalist Pulasta Dhar described it as a "brilliant" deal which could be replicated in order to help all ISL clubs fill their stadia.[42]

Atlético Madrid have also engaged with the ATK support: in September 2015, their striker Fernando Torres sent a video message to the fans in India.[43]

Players[edit]

Current Squad[edit]

As of 18 January 2018

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 India GK Soram Anganba
3 India DF Nallappan Mohanraj
4 England MF Conor Thomas
5 England DF Tom Thorpe (3rd-captain)
6 Spain DF Jordi (vice-captain)
8 England DF Ryan Taylor
9 India FW Robin Singh
10 Republic of Ireland FW Robbie Keane (captain)
11 India FW Jayesh Rane
13 India GK Kunzang Bhutia
14 India MF Eugeneson Lyngdoh
15 India MF Darren Caldeira
16 India MF Shankar Sampingiraj
No. Position Player
17 India MF Rupert Nongrum
18 India MF Hitesh Sharma
19 Northern Ireland FW Martin Paterson
20 India DF Keegan Pereira
21 India MF Ronald Singh
23 India DF Anwar Ali
24 India GK Debjit Majumder
27 South Africa MF Sibongakonke Mbatha(on loan from Bidvest Wits F.C.)
29 India MF Bipin Singh
33 India DF Prabir Das
36 India DF Ashutosh Mehta
79 India MF Komal Thatal
87 Portugal FW Zequinha

U18 Team[edit]

As of 23 July 2017.[44]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 India GK Miraj Ali Ata
2 India DF Nandalal Sarkar
3 India DF Raju Roy
4 India DF Robilal Mandi
6 India DF Pratik Biswas
7 India MF Sunil Mandi
8 India MF Kitam Das
9 India FW Tubai Hati
10 India FW Gourav Chhetry
11 India MF Rajib Das
12 India MF Ajay Murmu
14 India MF Dipak Das
No. Position Player
15 India MF Prosenjit Adhikary
17 India MF Sk. Suraj
18 India FW Sumay Shome
19 India MF Sayan Ghosh
20 India MF Sujit Soren
22 India MF Somenath Dhar
23 India MF Sohan Chakraborty
25 India DF Md Shadab
28 India DF Sk. Juman
31 India GK Gobinda Tigga
99 India GK Tarak Barui

Current technical staff[edit]

As of 24 January 2018
Position Name
Head Coach England Ashley Westwood(interim)
Assistant Coach England Kevin Keen
Assistant Coach India Bastob Roy
Goalkeeper Coach Finland Jussi Jääskeläinen
Head Physiotherapist England Samuel Coleman
Assistant Physiotherapist India Noel Augustine
Performance Analyst England Matt Holland
Head of Sports Science England Nicholas Davies
Team Doctor India Rafi Bhati
Head of youth development India Sanjoy Sen
Youth team Assistant Coach India Barun Sengupta
Team Manager India Avishek Bhattacharjee

Management[edit]

As of 8 July 2017
Position Name
Owner Kolkata Games and Sports Pvt. Ltd.
CEO India Raghu Iyer
Secretary India Subrata Talukdar
Head of Advisory committee India Anjan Chowdhury
Grassroots Incharge India Ashish Sarkar

Team records[edit]

Overall records[edit]

League[edit]

As of 22 February 2018[45]
Season ISL League Stage ISL Result Top Goalscorer
P W D L GF GA Pts Pos Player Goals
2014 14 4 7 3 16 13 19 3rd Champions[46] Ethiopia Fikru Teferra 5
2015 14 7 2 5 26 17 23 2nd Semi-Finals Canada Iain Hume 11
2016 14 4 8 2 16 14 20 4th Champions[47] Canada Iain Hume 7
2017 16 3 4 9 14 25 13 9th Republic of Ireland Robbie Keane 4

Head coach record[edit]

As of 22 February, 2018
Name Nationality From To P W D L GF GA Win%
Antonio Lopez Habas  Spain August 2014 December 2015 33 13 11 09 45 34 039.39
José Francisco Molina  Spain May 2016 December 2016 17 06 09 02 19 16 035.29
Teddy Sheringham  England July 2017 January 2018 10 03 03 04 07 12 030.00
Ashley Westwood(interim)  England January 2018 06 00 01 05 07 13 000.00

All-time player records[edit]

As of 23 February 2018
Most Appearances for the club
Rank Player Years Appearances
1 SpainBorja Fernández 2014–2016 48
2 India Arnab Mondal 2014–2016 41
3 Canada Iain Hume 2015–2016 30
4 India Debjit Majumder 2016– 27
5 South Africa Sameegh Doutie 2015–2016 26
6 India Prabir Das 2016- 25
7 Spain Tiri 2015–2016 24
8 Botswana Ofentse Nato 2014–2015 24
9 Spain Javi Lara 2015–2016 23
10 India Baljit Sahni 2014–2015 21
Top Scorers for the club
Rank Player Appearances Goals[48]
1 Canada Iain Hume 30 18
2 India Arata Izumi 11 5
3 Ethiopia Fikru Teferra 12 5
4 South Africa Sameegh Doutie 26 5
5 Republic of Ireland Robbie Keane 7 4
6 Portugal Hélder Postiga 12 4
7 Spain Javi Lara 23 4
8 IndiaCavin Lobo 6 2
9 EnglandRyan Taylor 10 2
10 SpainLuis García 13 2

Kit manufacturers and shirt sponsors[edit]

Period Kit Manufacturer Shirt Sponsor
2014 Umbro Aircel
2015–2016 NIVIA Birla Tyres
2017–Present CESC

Honours[edit]

Domestic[edit]

Isltrophy.pngIndian Super League

Champions (2): 2014 ISL , 2016 ISL

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  4. ^ "Indian Super League sees interest from 30 franchise bidders". Business Standard. Retrieved 22 April 2014. 
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  28. ^ Bali, Rahul (16 December 2015). "Indian Super League: Atletico de Kolkata 2–1 Chennaiyin FC: Edel brilliance sees Machans progress to the final". Goal.com. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  29. ^ Sarkar, Dhirman (5 March 2016). "Why are Atletico de Kolkata looking for a new coach?". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  30. ^ Nickels, Jepher Christopher (25 April 2016). "Indian Super League: FC Pune City name Antonio Lopez Habas as head coach". India Today. Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  31. ^ Sen, Rohan (3 May 2016). "ISL: Ex-Villarreal boss Jose Molina roped in as Atletico de Kolkata coach". India Today. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  32. ^ "ISL: Helder Postiga ruled out of action for next three matches". One India. 17 October 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2016. 
  33. ^ Premachandran, Dileep (17 December 2016). "Indian Super League final preview: Kerala Blasters v Atletico de Kolkata". The National. Retrieved 20 December 2016. 
  34. ^ Bera, Kaustav (10 December 2016). "ISL 2016: Atletico de Kolkata 3-2 Mumbai City FC - Iain Hume brace helps Rojiblancos clinch thriller as Diego Forlan sees red". Goal.com. Retrieved 20 December 2016. 
  35. ^ Sarkar, Dhiman (18 December 2016). "Atletico de Kolkata crowned ISL 2016 champions after beating Kerala Blasters FC". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 20 December 2016. 
  36. ^ "Sheringham, Meulensteen roped in as coaches for ISL4". espn.in. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  37. ^ "Robbie Keane: Veteran striker joins Indian champions Atletico de Kolkata". 4 August 2017. Retrieved 21 September 2017 – via www.bbc.co.uk. 
  38. ^ "ISL: ATK sack coach Teddy Sheringham". 
  39. ^ Tony, Antony (13 December 2015). "12th Man Awes Blasters". New Indian Express. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  40. ^ "Can football really rival cricket in India? Yes, says Michael Chopra". bbc.com. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
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  42. ^ Dhar, Pulasta (27 August 2015). "Atletico de Kolkata's brilliant fan membership deal is something other ISL clubs should replicate". First Post. Retrieved 17 December 2015. 
  43. ^ Bilgi, Sumedh (11 September 2015). "Video: Torres calls Atletico de Kolkata fans for support". Goal.com. Retrieved 17 December 2015. 
  44. ^ "Under 18 squad". Hero I-League. Retrieved 10 March 2017. 
  45. ^ "The official Website of the Hero Indian Super League". www.indiansuperleague.com. Retrieved 3 December 2016. 
  46. ^ "Kerala were made to rue their missed opportunities as Kolkata popped up with the only goal of the final in the dying moments". goal.com. 20 December 2014. Retrieved 18 December 2016. 
  47. ^ "The Sourav Ganguly co-owned outfit won their second Indian Super League title at the expense of Kerala Blasters..." goal.com. 18 December 2016. Retrieved 18 December 2016. 
  48. ^ "Goalscorers". worldfootball.net. 

External links[edit]