|Full name||Chennaiyin Football Club,சென்னையின் எஃப்.சி|
|Founded||28 August 2014|
|Ground||Marina Arena, Chennai|
|Capacity||40,000 (ISL) |
|Owner||Abhishek Bachchan |
|League||Indian Super League|
|2018–19||Regular season: 10th of 10|
Finals: Did not qualify
Chennaiyin F.C. is a professional football club based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. They compete in the Indian Super League under licence from the All India Football Federation (AIFF). The club was founded in August 2014 during the inaugural season of the Indian Super League. Chennaiyin won the 2017–18 Indian Super League season, also having won it previously in 2015 season, making them the joint highest winners (2) of the league along with ATK.
The franchise is owned by Vita Dani, Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan and Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Its manager is former English midfielder John Gregory. The team's name Chennaiyin FC means Chennai's football club in Tamil where the 'yin' suffix is similar to a possessive 's' in English. The team's logo is the Dhrishti Bommai, a representation of chasing away negativity and preserving positivity in the Tamil culture.
When the Indian Super League was founded in 2014, the city of Chennai was one of the nine proposed cities up for franchise bidding. However, on 11 April 2014 it was reported that Chennai's main bidder, a consortium led by Sunil Gavaskar would drop out due to commitments with the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Then, in August 2014, with two months before the 2014 ISL season, the Bangalore owners Sun Group dropped out due to disputes with the organizers. Initially reports came out that the ISL organizers were looking for bidders for new owners for the Bangalore franchise before it was revealed that Ronnie Screwvala and actor Abhishek Bachchan would together bid for a Chennai team instead of a Bangalore franchise.
On 14 August 2014, it was reported that ISL officials were inspecting the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai for the proposed team. Finally, the team was bid for by actor Abhishek Bachchan and Vita Dani. On 12 September 2014, Italian World Cup winner Marco Materazzi was hired as player-manager. Then, on 6 October 2014, the Former Indian cricket captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni became the joint co-owner of the club. The club officially launched their jersey on 9 October 2014 but had changed their home jersey's pattern in the 2018–19 Indian Super League season.
Marco Materazzi era (2014–2016)
On 15 October 2014, Chennaiyin won their first Indian Super League fixture with a 2–1 victory at FC Goa. The goals were scored by Balwant Singh, who became the first Indian player to score in the competition, and the former Brazil international Elano. On 28 November 2014, the club brought Alessandro Nesta, who won the World Cup for Italy out of retirement. The team finished its 14-game regular season in first place in the league. In the semi finals, the team lost the first leg 3–0 to Kerala Blasters. In the second leg, they managed to overturn the deficit by leading 3–0 in regular time. However, a 117th-minute goal by Stephen Pearson sent Kerala through to the finals.
For the Second Season of Indian Super League, they managed to retain six players namely, Balwant Singh, Jayesh Rane, Dhanachandra Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Harmanjot Khabra and Abhishek Das. They also signed Godwin Franco and Mehrajuddin Wadoo. On the last day of the transfer window, Chennaiyin FC announced that they had managed to sign back Stiven Mendoza. The season started with the team losing the first two games. Though the team managed to score points by winning at Goa and Mumbai, they lost another three games on the trot. By the third week of November, Chennaiyin were placed last in the league table. But, the team won four consecutive games to qualify for the playoffs, finishing at 3rd place in the regular season. They won the second season of the ISL by beating FC Goa 3–2 in the finals.
For the Third Season, of Indian Super League, they managed to retain six players namely, Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Jayesh Rane, Dhanachandra Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Harmanjot Khabra, Thoi Singh and Abhishek Das. Chennai signed John Arne Riise as the marquee player for the season. The season kicked off with a draw against Kolkata. Winning just three games through the season, the team finished in seventh place, just one point more than the last placed FC Goa. After a dismal season, it was announced on 6 March that Marco Materazzi and Chennaiyin parted ways on mutual consent.
John Gregory (2017–present)
On 3 July 2017, the club announced the appointment of former Aston Villa Manager John Gregory as the head coach for the 2017–18 season. He took charge in September and the club traveled to Thailand for pre-season. Chennaiyin lost Gregory's first league game as head coach on 19 November against FC Goa. The team won its next three matches against Northeast United FC, FC Pune City and ATK. Mumbai City FC brought Chennaiyin FC's winning run to an end with a battling 1–0 win at home inside the Mumbai Football Arena. The blues then travelled to Sree Kanteerava Stadium where they beat Bengaluru FC 2–1 in a tightly contested match. Chennaiyin FC were held to a 1–1 draw when they faced Kerala Blasters at home in their next game. In spite of the draw, The Blues went top of the table with 13 points after seven games. The team went on to win the finals against Bangalore on their home ground and became the champions for the second time. Chennaiyin FC finished as runner-ups in AIFF Super Cup 2019 where they losed to FC Goa 2–1. Following Indian Super League glory in 2017–18, Chennaiyin became the first Indian club, representing the ISL, to play in the AFC Cup, as they drew 0–0 with Colombo FC in Sri Lanka on 6 March 2019. A week later, they won the second leg 1–0 in Chennai to progress to the 2019 AFC Cup group stage. Chennayin FC is the first ISL club to reach in Group stage of AFC Cup 2019 i.e. in Group E. They played a tie of 0–0 to Minerva Punjab FC on 3 April 2019 and won 2–0 to Nepalese club Manang Marshyangdi Club on 17 April 2019 whereby Maílson Alves and Chris Herd also accompanied by win against Abahani Limited Dhaka by 1–0 and goal scorer was Anirudh Thapa 30 April 2019. On 19 June 2019 Chennaiyin FC faced a draw of 1–1 against Minerva Punjab F.C. where Mohammed Rafi secured a goal in the last minute of game. On John Gregory's 65th birthday the club announced that the coach's contract was renewed which and it will expire soon after the 2019–20 Indian Super League season . After losing the AFC Cup the club then made some shocking decisions by releasing their captain, Mailson Alves and the club's legend, Raphael Augusto as a preparation for the 2019–20 Indian Super League season. They also released some of the Indian players in their team which includes C.K. Vineeth, Mohammed Rafi, Halicharan Narzary, Isaac Vanmalsawma. They then signed Nerijus Valskis, Lucian Goian, Dragoș Firțulescu , André Schembri , Masih Saighani and Rafael Crivellaro to strengthen their squad.
Stadium and attendance
Chennaiyin FC play their home matches at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai nicknamed the Marina Arena. The stadium is located at Sydenhams Road, Park Town behind the Chennai Central suburban Railway station and Ripon Building. The stadium is named after Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister and earlier hosted cricket Test Matches between 1956 and 1965.
Chennaiyin FC has considerable support base with average attendance of over 10,000 over the first three seasons. Most recently, the team declared the stadium’s L1 stand of block H as an away stand.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
- As of 3 August 2019
|Head Coach||John Gregory|
|Assistant Coach and Youth Development Coach||Konstantinos Rostantis|
|Assistant Coach||Syed Sabir Pasha|
|Goalkeeping Coach||Karanjit Singh|
|Sports Scientist||Dr. Naill Clark|
|Chief Technical Officer||Amoy Ghoshal|
Kit manufacturers and shirt sponsors
|Period||Kit manufacturer||Shirt sponsor|
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