End of an era: I-League champions Bengaluru FC part ways with coach Ashley Westwood
I-League champions Bengaluru FC announced on Tuesday they would be parting ways with coach Ashley Westwood by mutual consent.
Mumbai: Ending months of speculation, I-League champions Bengaluru FC announced today that it has parted ways with its successful head coach Ashley Westwood "by mutual consent".
The severing of ties between the club, winners of the I-League crowns twice in the last three years as well as the Federation Cup once (in 2014), has brought to an end "a successful three-year association", the club said in a media statement from Bengaluru.
"The Blues have also made the quarterfinals of the AFC Cup this season under Westwood and will look to go a step further when the continental competition resumes in September," said the release, referring to the club's 3-2 win over Kitchee of Hong Kong under the guidance of Westwood.
"The Englishman was at the helm of affairs since the club's inception in 2013 where the Blues went on to stun Indian football by winning the I-League in its debut season. 2014 too was a successful season where Bengaluru won the Federation Cup, finished second in the League and made the knock-out stages in the AFC Cup," the club said in its statement.
"It's been an extremely difficult time for the management of the club to part ways with Ashley Westwood. The decision hasn't been the easiest to take but like always, it is one made in the best interests of Bengaluru FC. We sat across the table with Ashley and arrived at a consensus together," said Parth Jindal, CEO of Bengaluru FC.
"We would like to thank Ashley for what has been a phenomenal three years with the club. His work ethic and desire to succeed during his tenure has been second to none and the role he has played in putting BFC on the football map will always be a part of the club's history," he added.
"I am extremely proud of my time and achievements during my tenure at BFC. I came to the country with a blank canvas, tasked with helping to build a club from scratch, improve Indian football and to try to produce some players to go on to represent the country," said Westwood in his statement.
"I feel with 3 major trophies, multiple 'Coach of the Year' awards and developing as many as 10 players to go on to represent India across different ages, I have achieved all of my objectives," the Englishman said.
"My time with BFC has been a memorable one and I'll never forget all that we achieved. I'm saddened to leave but I know I have left the club in a very strong position as Champions of India once again and safely through to the quarter finals in the AFC Cup. I wish the club all the best for the future," he added.
The club would now have to search for a new coach for its AFC Cup last eight in September.
The 29-year-old Son has compiled 107 goals and 64 assists in 280 appearances in all competitions since joining Tottenham from Bayer Leverkusen in August 2015.
The Norwegian, who took over from Jose Mourinho in 2018, will stay at Old Trafford until at least 2024, with the option of an extra year.
The 25-year-old Gray joins from Bayer Leverkusen, where he had been on loan from Leicester. The contract, till June 2024, includes the option for a fourth year.