ATK – A Falling Giant?

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Our Article writer Ritaban Misra has written that-

ATK, previously termed as Atletico de Kolkata, was considered an ISL giant with the passage of first three seasons of Indian Super League, one of the two premier footballing leagues in India. But, right from the beginning of the fourth season i.e., 2017-18, it seemed they were nothing but their shadows of the past three seasons as two-time title holders failed to topple the group stages of the league.

The first three seasons seemed a fairytale for the ATK staffs and fans as they won the title twice and were in top 4 every time. But, things started turning around after that dream start as the slogan of ‘One City, One Team’ which made Sanjiv Goenka claim ATK is the only team of Kolkata, created a rift between the fans of ATK, who were mostly ardent followers of Kolkata Giants Mohun Bagan and  Quess East Bengal. The number of crowds which was fascinating in the first three seasons started to shrink at an increasing rate. It so happened that even by providing free tickets, the organizers couldn’t fill the stadium as half like the previous editions of ISL. A team’s performance also depends, however, small it may be, on the vocal support provided by their fans. This can one reason for this sudden downfall of ATK. 

ATK, as mentioned earlier, was previously known as Atletico de Kolkata which means they were in a partnership with Spanish giants Atletico de Madrid. But, due to some conflicts in the management, Atletico de Madrid decided to opt out from the process of investment. It seemed to have a huge impact on the performance of ATK as they stopped providing Spanish players and most importantly, the manager they provided in the past two seasons namely Antonio Lopez Habas and Jose Molina. The management allegedly wanted to throw out the Spanish mindset from the team and hired former English footballer Teddy Sheringham to inject in the English football style in the minds of the footballers. But, it hardly did any difference and in turn, demoted their position in the league with them languishing at 9th in a ten team league. Not only that, they changed their coach thrice in a single season, one more than they used in last three seasons.

This drastic fall of ATK came as a shocker for their management as well as their fans. It is expected to see ATK will turnaround soon with ISL – V is in its infant stages right now.


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