With only four days until the 2017-18 Indian Super League starts, excitement for the new season is at fever pitch – and all eyes will be on newcomers Jamshedpur FC.
Founded in May 2017 and operated by the Indian steel magnate Tata Steel, the Jharkhand outfit won the rights for one of two places for expansion slots for the upcoming season (the other being awarded to Bengaluru FC).
The team will be managed by experienced English manager Steve Coppell, who led Kerala Blasters to a second place finish in the 2016 regular season and runners-up in a final loss to ATK.
Coppell also served as a manager of Manchester City in 1996, with his last stint in English football came in 2014, where he served as Director of Football with Portsmouth. Jamshedpur FC will also be looking to Coppell’s playing experience in preparation for the 2017-18 campaign, winning the FA Cup with Manchester United in 1977
While this ISL season has no requirements for marquee players, most clubs continued to make big-name signings, and Jamshedpur FC was no exception. Jamshedpur secured the signing of long time Premier league defender and Cameroon international Andre Bikey, who was famous for his stints with Reading, Middleborough and Burnley. Bikey moved to India in 2015 and this is his fourth club in just as many seasons. Jamshedpur also signed seven more international stars, the most notable being defender Jose Tiri, who used to play for Atletico Madrid B.
In their breakthrough season, Jamshedpur FC will hoping for a decent campaign and most importantly get to know the league and try to focus on developing their facilities at the top level. The club will play at the 60,000 seater national stadium in Jamshedpur and will look to attract new spectators to the ISL.
While a debut season trophy itself can be important and crucial to club development, it’s also worth noting that first season is often a learning experience and next one could be the breakthrough for this club.