Indian football legend Bhaichung Bhutia on Friday welcomed ATK Mohun Bagan's decision to retain the iconic greeen and maroon jersey and said the merged entity now must rope in professional people to run the show without any "interference". Bhutia was referring to East Bengal's tie up with Quess Corp, who had a 70 per cent stake but made a premature exit, something that is mired in controversy as the Bengaluru-based investors still hold the sporting rights.
"The important thing now is to get professional people and let them run the show. If the directors are trying to run it and keep interfering with the coaches and management then I think it's not going to work," Bhutia told PTI. "They have made the first step, now it's time to get professional and let them run the club which I'm confident Mr Sanjiv Goenka would do it. Being a successful businessman, he knows how to get the right people at the right place," said Bhutia, a former advisor of ATK during their early years.
In the first board of directors meeting of ATK Mohun Bagan Private Limited, it was unanimously decided to retain the iconic green and maroon jersey, while there will be a slight change to the boat emblem with addition of ATK to it. Terming it as a very welcome step, the former Mohun Bagan forward urged the new entity to reach out to its fans. "Now it's up to the club how they would reach out to the fans. They have taken the first step."
The name of the club will, however, be changed to ATK Mohun Bagan and Bhutia was not sure whether fans would accept it wholeheartedly. "I don't know how the fans would react and take it. But keeping Mohun Bagan colours was very important for the identity. They have kept the logo which is also a very welcome sign," he said. "East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are two iconic clubs and they are known for their colours. Imagine what would happen if tomorrow Manchester United completely take out the red colour, never use them...The colours are part of the legacy so it's a very good step."
Bhutia said "it's nothing new" to add a prefix Mohun Bagan's name. "Earlier they were McDowell Mohun Bagan. It's very difficult to say from the fans' perspective but it's a welcome thing that they have kept the colour and the logo." It now remains to be seen whether there would be the much-anticipated Kolkata derby in the next ISL with East Bengal yet to get any investors and their sporting rights still with Quess.
"The derby charm is completely at a different level altogether. I'm sure East Bengal sooner or later will get into it," said Bhutia, who is an East Bengal legend and currently helping his former club in getting sponsors. "If there's promotion and relegation they will play after a few seasons but it's well and good if there's an investor coming in. I will definitely try and help in whatever way possible," he signed off.