Indian Super League (ISL) club Chennaiyin FC have replaced manager John Gregory, who departed last week, with another Brit, Owen Coyle, for the remainder of the season, the club announced on Tuesday.
The 53-year-old Scottish coach, who has previously managed Burnley and Bolton Wanderers in the Premier League, was last seen coaching Scottish club Ross County. However, he left mid-season with the club struggling at the bottom of the league table. Coyle's claim to fame was when he got Burnley promoted to the Premier League in 2009.
“I am incredibly proud to join Chennaiyin FC as head coach. It will be my immense privilege to join a club with so much success already in its early history with two ISL titles. I believe we possess a squad with great potential and the hunger to do well, complemented by an ardent fan base always backing us. I can't wait to get started," Coyle said after the announcement.
Chennaiyin, two-time champions, have not been able to get going this season, much like the previous season. With five points from just six matches, they are languishing in the ninth position in the ISL table. Gregory, their previous manager, had decided to step down in the interest of the club despite being backed heavily by the management. Now, the same management would be hoping that Coyle will help resurrect the season.
Interestingly, it has been learnt by The Bridge that Coyle was not the original choice for Chennaiyin. In fact, the league had rejected the first name that the Abhishek Bachchan co-owned side zeroed in on. As a result, the club had no other option but to go back to a British manager with some repute, as per the league guidelines.
As has been seen multiple times in the past, several clubs have suffered because of this. The fact that any international player or manager has to be 'approved' by the league before a club can sign them has raised many questions in the past. For a coach, if he has AFC/UEFA pro license, then he should be eligible. If a club deems him fit enough to lead them, then he should be fit enough to lead them, no?