Connect with us

Bengaluru FC

Ex-Man United youngster, Ashley Westwood, has led Bengaluru FC to the I-League in their debut season

Bengaluru FC Ashley Westwood

Bengaluru FC manager: Ashley Westwood

In a remarkable story, and a new sense of hope for Indian football, newly formed club Bengaluru FC have won the country’s top division, the I-League, in their debut season.

Football has never received the platform the country’s most popular sport, cricket, has with a lack of interest, sponsorship, infrastructure and quality. But Bengaluru FC were a fresh change for Indian football, bringing in a professional set-up off the field, quality football on the field and quite spectacularly, die hard passionate support in the stands. More recently the club have also taken to improving the future of the sport, setting up a system to promote grassroots football.

Led by Indian team captain Sunil Chhetri, who has played for the likes of Sporting Clube de Portugal & Kansas City Wizards (MLS) while failing to secure a work permit to play with QPR, Bengaluru FC took the league by storm and surprised many as they toppled the Goan hold of football in the sub-continent. More remarkably, the Bengal clubs like East Bengal and Mohun Bagan (who play their home matches at the Salt Lake Stadium, the second largest capacity football stadium in the World) who are traditionally the most successful football clubs in India, are yet to win the I-League; the league in its current format debuted in 2007, replacing the old national league.

But more importantly, a new club needed a figurehead to organise every aspect of the team and ensure the set-up replicates those we seen in Europe. And Bengaluru FC’s Ashley Westwood did exactly that. The man who has been guided by Sir Alex Ferguson in his younger days, did an incredible job with this young crop of players. He controlled every aspect of the club, from the tactics to their diet and even incorporated sports science into their assessment.

Ashley Westwood became the youngest manager, at 37, to win the I-League, after previously only managing Kettering Town for 4 months in a caretaker’s role. The effect he has had on the team, the sport and the fans is immense. This title is a testament to his abilities.

Bengaluru FC were helped by their foreign stars as well, and they have been the more popular players among the squad. Sean Rooney (from Australia) has formed a formidable understanding with Robin Singh, prompting fans to suggest they too have a Robin and Rooney in attack. John Johnson who played one Premier League game as a teenager for Middlesbrough is also in the squad and was actually Coach Westwood’s team-mate at Northampton Town. Fans have jokingly suggested “John Johnson for England” ahead of the World Cup. Not quite, but he has been solid, partnering with ex-Reading man, Curtis Osano in the back four. John Menyongar is the other foreigner, who plays a Pirlo-like role in midfield. Incredibly calm and smooth on the ball.

But alongwith Sunil Chhetri, captain of the club, and Robin Singh, there are a whole host of Indian starts on show. Sam Hanghal is still only 21 while the likes of Beikhokhei Beingaichho, Pawan Kumar, Thoi Singh and Robin Singh himself are still below the age of 23 while Rino Anto and Darren Caldeira are in the peaks of their career.

The JSW Group owned side had an objective of improving the sport in the country, and specifically the city, they’ve done just that.

The title was won with one game to spare as Bengaluru FC won 4-2 away to Dempo. A comfortable 3-0 lead was made nervy when Dempo struck twice in 5 minutes. But a stoppage time goal from Sunil Chhetri, that saw him equal Baichung Bhutia’s goal-scoring record, was enough to earn them all three points, and a maiden title.

Bengaluru FC will now look towards a heroes’ reception when they return to the Bengaluru, something previously not seen in the region. More importantly, the sky seems to be the limit for the club, with possible AFC Champions League participation next season.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Muhammad Aaqib ElNiño Shamim

    April 24, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    Another good article. I just have a doubt. I guess Westwood was a Manchester United academy product and was shipped out to Crewe Alexandra. He’d never played for United’s first team. So, I guess he wasn’t ever guided by SAF, was he?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Tactical Analysis1 day ago

Tactical Analysis: Juventus 2-3 Lazio | Simone Inzaghi exposes Juventus’ 4-2-3-1 weaknesses

Cheuk Hei Ho writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Italian Super Cup final that finished Juventus 2-3 Lazio

Tactical Analysis1 day ago

Tactical Analysis: Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City | Attacking Patterns & Transitions

Kaushik Goswami writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Premier League opener that finished Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City

Talent Radar3 days ago

Premier League’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

William Sinsky brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Premier League this season. It’s back. The...

Tactical Analysis3 days ago

Tactical Analysis: Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona | Real’s Pressing Excellence

Om Arvind writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Spanish Super Cup second leg that finished Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona...

Talent Radar4 days ago

Serie A’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

Simone Torricini brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Serie A this season. The Under-20 World...

Tactical Analysis4 days ago

Tactical Analysis: Manchester United 4-0 West Ham | Fluidity and exploitation

Ryan Quinn writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Premier League game that finished Manchester United 4-0 West Ham Following the signings...

Talent Radar1 week ago

Eredivisie’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

Mosope Ominiyi brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Eredivisie this season. Justin Kluivert // Ajax...

Talent Radar2 weeks ago

Primeira Liga’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

Jose Miguel Saraiva brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Primeira Liga this season.

Scout Report2 weeks ago

Scout Report: Ainsley Maitland-Niles | Arsenal’s Versatile Prospect

Mosope Ominiyi provides a detailed scout report on Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Arsenal’s versatile prospect. Arsene Wenger announced that along with 17-year-old winger...

Specials2 weeks ago

Lazio’s Golden Age: The Sergio Cragnotti Era

Football News 24/7  Sam McKeever has a look back at Lazio’s golden era in the 90’s under the ownership of Sergio...

Opinions2 weeks ago

Analysis: Why Nemanja Matic could be Manchester United’s most important signing

Kaushik Goswami has a look at why Nemanja Matic could be Manchester United’s most important signing. Having already lured Romelu...

Opinions3 weeks ago

Monaco’s Moves: Why the Football World should pay attention

While the football world is focused on the players being sold by Monaco, Alex Lynch has a look at how...

Scout Report3 weeks ago

Scout Report: Joel Pereira | Manchester United’s Agile Goalkeeper

Mateus Carvalho provides a comprehensive scout report on Joel Pereira, Manchester United’s agile goalkeeper. At the end of the last season, José...

Talent Radar3 weeks ago

Talent Radar: CONCACAF Gold Cup 2017 | U-23 Team of the Tournament

Football News 24/7  Jose Miguel Saraiva gives us his U-23 Team of the recently concluded CONCACAF Gold Cup featuring the...

Opinions3 weeks ago

Blindside Movements And Mental Overloads: Breaking Down Maurizio Sarri’s Tactics

Cheuk Hei Ho breaks down Maurizio Sarri’s tactics at Napoli looking at how the Italian giants use passing, blindside movements,...

Opinions3 weeks ago

Bayern Munich: What’s their game plan?

Alankrith Shankar writes a detailed article of how we can expect Bayern Munich to set up in the 2017-18 season....

Scout Report3 weeks ago

Scout Report: Juan Foyth | Estudiantes’ Ball-Playing Defender

Kaustubh Pandey provides a detailed scout report about Juan Foyth, Estudiantes’ ball-playing defender. Argentina has, since time immemorial, been a...

Scout Report4 weeks ago

Scout Report: Dayot Upamecano | RB Leipzig’s Precocious Talent

Mateus Carvalho provides a detailed scout report about Dayot Upamecano, RB Leipzig’s precocious talent. RB Leipzig is a source of...

Scout Report4 weeks ago

Scout Report: Philip Billing | Huddersfield’s young midfielder

Patrick Mills provides a detailed scout report about Philip Billing, Huddersfield’s young midfielder. Against the odds, Huddersfield Town, one of the...

Opinions4 weeks ago

Amin Younes: How the German international has redeemed his career

Alex Lynch charts the progress of Amin Younes from his days at Gladbach to his current success at Ajax Besides...

More on Outside of the Boot