Kolkata: Two-time ISL champions Atletico de Kolkata has been rechristened to ATK, expanding to 'Amar Tomar Kolkata (Yours and Mine Kolkata), after the end of their partnership with Spanish giants Atletico Madrid, principal owner Sanjiv Goenka said on Saturday.
It may be officially registered as Atletico de Kolkata, but after their dissociation with the Spanish team who have not "invested a penny", the Kolkata franchise it seems is not keen on expanding their team name.
Goenka never expanded ATK at the team's first media interaction ahead of season four, while the official media statement also mentioned the team name as ATK'.
"The name of the team is the name of the team. We are ATK. The full form is Atletico de Kolkata but it's also 'Amar Tomar Kolkata' (which means yours and mine Kolkata)," Goenka said on the eve of the Indian Players' Draft that will be in Mumbai.
Surprisingly, however, ATK will continue to don the red- and-white stripes, the Atletico Madrid colours, also unveiled at the team's first media interaction ahead of season four, and on the eve of the Indian Players' Draft.
"Atletico de Madrid and ATK have come to an agreement that they will not be part of ATK going forward. I don't know why there's still a speculation. We have had a good relationship and we continue to be friends.
On the investments front, Goenka said he would buy ATK's 25 per cent stakes becoming the principal owner of the side which is also co-owned by Utsav Parekh, Harsh Neotia, and former India captain Sourav Ganguly.
"Let me be very up front. Atletico de Madrid have not invested a penny till date. It was anyways funded by us not them.
"There are two aspects — one is financial and the other is technical. As far as finances are concerned, Atletico de Madrid have not invested a penny with ATK. They had 25 per cent which they would sell to us. To me," Goenka specified as team's principal owner now.
"So it does not make a difference whether they are there or not. We have with us a competent technical team."
Moving on from their Spanish partnership, ATK will have a distinct English flavour this season with former Manchester United forward Teddy Sheringham as head coach and I-League winning coach Ashley Westwood as technical director who were also unveiled as the media interaction.
"Teddy and Ashley bring in experience, success and strategy along with vision. You will see the team as we along. You will see our performance.
Sheringham was one of the stars of the Manchester United side that won the Champions League in the 1998-99 season. He also won three English Premier League (EPL) titles, one FA Cup, an Intercontinental Cup and an FA Charity Shield with United, scoring 31 goals in 104 appearances.
The former England striker began his career with Millwall F.C in 1982 at the age of 16, scoring 93 goals in 220 matches. He also played for Tottenham Hotspur.
"I am extremely thankful to the ATK management for giving me an opportunity to be a part of Indian Super League by being the head coach of this fantastic team," Sheringham said in a statement.
"My focus would be to understand methods and tactics of each player and align them to get optimum output and also lend them my field expertise. I hope to have a great run in here"
ATK have already retained goalkeeper Debjit Majumder and defender Prabir Das from the previous season.
Asked if the challenge would be bigger with ISL becoming a 10-team league with the addition of Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC, Goenka said they're ready.
ATK always had their pre-season camp in Spain but this time it's likely that it would be held in England.
"Let's finalise Indian players in the draft tomorrow. It's all done. We will announce it systematically and very soon," Goenka said.
Goenka also rejected talk of a tug of war between ATK and I-League heavyweights Mohun Bagan and East Bengal.
"They are 'Dadas' (big brother), we are 'Bachchas' (baby). Mohun Bagan and East Bengal are great clubs with great legacies. We have grown up watching, idolising them," Goenka said.
Having failed to make the ISL sticking to their demands, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal will be looking to show their strength in the I-League, in an unofficial war with the ISL franchise.
But Goenka said they are not in competition with the Big Two.
"We don't compete with anyone. ATK has its own base, Mohun Bagan is Mohun Bagan, East Bengal is East Bengal.
With inputs from agencies.
Published Date: Jul 22, 2017 17:19 PM | Updated Date: Jul 22, 2017 17:19 PM