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ATK (previously known as Atlético de Kolkata) is an Indian professional football club based in Kolkata, West Bengal, that plays in Indian Super League under licence from the All India Football Federation (AIFF). It was established on 7 May 2014 as the first team in the Indian Super League, and plays its home games at the Vivekananda Yuvabharati Krirangan; also known as the Salt Lake Stadium.

ATK Football Club
Official ATK Logo.png
Full nameATK
Founded7 May 2014; 5 years ago (2014-05-07) as Atlético de Kolkata[1]
GroundSalt Lake Stadium
Capacity85,000
OwnerKolkata Games and Sports Pvt. Ltd.
ChairmanSanjiv Goenka/Sourav Ganguly[citation needed]
Head CoachAntonio López Habas
LeagueIndian Super League
2018–196th
Current season
Active departments of ATK
Football pictogram.svg Football pictogram.svg
Football (Men's) Football Reserves (Men's)

The team is owned by Kolkata Games and Sports Pvt. Ltd. which consists of former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, alongside businessmen Harshavardhan Neotia, Sanjiv Goenka and Utsav Parekh. Initially for first three seasons Spanish La Liga club Atlético Madrid were also a co-owner, later Goenka bought the shares owned by Atlético Madrid. After the end of their partnership with Spanish giant, Atlético de Kolkata has been rechristened to ATK in July 2017.[2] The team's name and colours are derived from their former Spanish partner.

Under coach Antonio López Habas, Atlético hosted and won the first match of the Indian Super League. They won the inaugural season, beating Kerala Blasters 0–1 in the final. Two years later, under José Francisco Molina, the team won on penalties against the same opponent in the final. Currently, ATK holds the most ISL trophies along with Chennaiyin FC.

HistoryEdit

FoundationEdit

We don't want to compete. We just want to play. We want to bring football to Kolkata. Kolkata is the place for football besides Kerala and Goa. We want cricket to be as popular as it is but at the same time we want to develop football as well. I don't think two popular things can't go together. The standard of football has to be good and I am sure popularity will follow.

 – Co-owner Sourav Ganguly (former Captain of Indian National Cricket team) at the launch of the team, May 2014[3]

In March 2014, it was announced that the All India Football Federation, the national federation for football in India, and IMG-Reliance would be accepting bids for ownership of eight of nine selected cities for the upcoming Indian Super League, an eight-team franchise league modeled along the lines of the Indian Premier League cricket tournament.[4] On 13 April 2014, it was announced that Sourav Ganguly, Harshavardhan Neotia, Sanjiv Goenka, Utsav Parekh, and Spanish La Liga side Atlético Madrid had won the bid for the Kolkata franchise.[5] It turned out to be the most expensive franchise, being purchased for 180 million (around US$3 million).[5] On 7 May 2014, the team was officially launched as Atlético de Kolkata.[1]

Inaugural seasonEdit

 
Luis Garcia was the first marquee player of the league

The club signed their first player on 4 July 2014 with the acquisition of former Real Madrid midfielder Borja Fernández.[6] The team then went on to sign two more Spaniards: their first head coach, Antonio López Habas, and marquee player, former UEFA Champions League winner Luis García, on 8 July 2014.[7] Luis García was named the first marquee player of the season.

The first Indian signing by the club took place in round one of the 2014 ISL Inaugural Domestic Draft in which Atlético de Kolkata selected Cavin Lobo, midfielder for the city's I-League team East Bengal FC, with their pick. They were the biggest spenders in the draft with an expenditure of 39.1 million, their biggest signing being Sanju Pradhan for 7 million.[8] In the International Draft, four of Atlético de Kolkata's allotted seven picks were Spaniards, including defender Josemi, a UEFA Champions League winner with Liverpool in 2005.[9] On 6 September, the team bolstered their midfield with the acquisition of Mamunul Islam, captain of the Bangladesh national team, who stated that the move would help relations between East Bengal (Bangladesh) and West Bengal.[10]

The club played their first match on 12 October 2014 at home against Mumbai City FC in the opening Indian Super League match.[11] Fikru Teferra scored the first goal in team and league history in the 27th minute as Atlético de Kolkata went on to win 3–0.[11]

By finishing third in the league, the club qualified for the end-of-season play-offs, where they advanced via a penalty shootout past FC Goa in the semi-finals after a goalless draw.[12] At the final against the Kerala Blasters at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai, Atlético won 1–0 with an added-time goal by Mohammed Rafique.[13] At the end of season awards, García was named the Most Exciting Player.[14]

2015 seasonEdit

 
Hélder Postiga was the club's marquee player in the 2015 season

On 5 June 2015, the team acquired Canadian international forward Iain Hume, whose five goals had helped Kerala to the final of the previous season.[15] In the second season's domestic draft, Atlético de Kolkata had the first pick, choosing Pune F.C. goalkeeper Amrinder Singh for a fee of 450,000; their most expensive purchase was that of defender Augustin Fernandes for 2.6 million.[16] On 29 July, with García released due to his injury record, the team brought in Portugal international forward Hélder Postiga as their new marquee player; aged 32, he became the youngest such player in the league.[17] García's role as captain was taken on by his compatriot Borja.[18]

Postiga scored twice in Atlético's first game of the season, a 3–2 win at Chennaiyin FC, but was substituted later in the match due to injury, and missed the rest of the campaign.[19] Pelé, regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, watched the 2–1 win over Kerala at the Salt Lake Stadium on 13 October, Atlético's first home game of the season.[20] Hume scored two hat-tricks in November, in 4–1 wins against Mumbai City,[21] and FC Pune City.[22] The latter result made the team the first to qualify for the play-offs,[23] where they lost 4–2 on aggregate to Chennaiyin.[24]

2016 seasonEdit

In March 2016, it was reported that López Habas would leave the club due to concerns over his ₹23.5 million ($350,000) annual salary.[25] On 25 April, he left for Pune.[26] On 3 May, he was replaced by another Spaniard, former Villarreal manager José Francisco Molina.[27] Postiga returned to be the marquee again, but suffered another long-term injury early into the second game of the season. The club's ownership admitted that they had wanted a different marquee due to his record, but had been unable to sign one.[28]

Atlético de Kolkata finished in fourth place, taking the final position in the finals, and were drawn against first-place Mumbai in the semi-finals.[29] They hosted a 3–2 win in the first leg, with all goals in the first half, including two by Hume, and advanced with a goalless draw in the second leg.[30] In the final, away to Kerala on 18 December, Kolkata fell behind to a goal by their former player Mohammed Rafi, and equalised before half-time with a header by defender Henrique Sereno. The game went to penalties, with Hume having Atlético's first attempt saved by Graham Stack, but Elhadji Ndoye missed for Kerala and Debjit Majumder saved from Cédric Hengbart to win Kolkata the title.[31]

2017–18 seasonEdit

 
Irish striker Robbie Keane was ATK's marquee player for their fourth season

After the separation from Spanish club Atlético Madrid, most of the squad was not retained for the new season. On 14 July 2017, ATK appointed former England international striker Teddy Sheringham as their head coach for the upcoming season. While former Bengaluru FC head coach Ashley Westwood was appointed as the technical director for the club.[32] On 4 August, the team acquired former Irish international forward Robbie Keane as their new marquee player.[33]

On 24 January 2018, Sheringham was sacked by ATK after winning only three of his ten games in charge and appointed Ashley Westwood as their interim coach.[34] For the first time in four years the club could not make it to the playoffs, but avoided last place by registering a 1–0 win over NorthEast United FC in the final game, Robbie Keane netting the deciding goal.[35]

Robbie Keane was named the player-manager for the upcoming cup fixtures and they started their Super Cup campaign with a 4–1 win over I League club Chennai City FC, but failed to make it to the quarter-finals after a 3–1 defeat against FC Goa.[36]

2018–19 seasonEdit

After a forgettable season, ATK appointed Sanjoy Sen as their mentor to recruit national players. The former Mohun Bagan A.C. head coach roped in some of his own former players who he had the experience of working with, along with former ATK players Arnab Mondal and Cavin Lobo.[37] They mainly focused on more local players and it served as the main foundation for building the squad for the season. Former Manchester United F.C striker Steve Coppell was named as the head coach for the season.[38] Coppell had the experience of managing ISL clubs before such as Kerala Blasters FC and Jamshedpur FC.Under him the team finished 6th in the league winning 6 games.[39]

In the Super Cup the team reached the semi-finals.They defeated Real kashmir F.C 3–1 on their way to finish 4th.[40]

2019–20 seasonEdit

CrestEdit

On 7 July, the team's jersey and logo were unveiled by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the Nabanna building, temporary headquarters of the state's secretariat.[41] The logo features a hybrid Bengal tigerphoenix, with the latter element being symbolic of perpetuity, due to the footballing heritage in Kolkata.[42] Five stars above the crest symbolise the five owners of the club.[42] The shield is striped with tigers' stripes.[42]

StadiumEdit

 
Yuva Bharati Krirangan (Salt Lake Stadium)

The 85,000-capacity Salt Lake Stadium is the home ground of Atlético de Kolkata. The multi-purpose stadium, located in Salt Lake City (Bidhan Nagar), in the outskirts of Kolkata, is the largest stadium in the country. The Salt Lake Stadium is owned by the West Bengal State Government. Salt Lake Stadium, officially known as Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK), is the largest stadium in India by seating capacity. Before its renovation in 2011, it was the second largest football stadium in the world, having a seating capacity of 120,000. Prior to the construction and opening of Rungrado May Day Stadium in 1989, it was the largest football stadium in the world. The stadium hosted the final match of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, alongside hosting other matches of the tournament.

Atlético de Kolkata played their first two seasons at Salt Lake Stadium, but in the 2016 season, they had to move to Rabindra Sarobar Stadium due to the unavailability of Salt Lake Stadium, which was shortlisted as one of the venues for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup. During the first season Atlético de Kolkata has achieved an average home attendance of 45,172 per match and most attended game of the season with 65,000 people.[43]

 
Salt Lake Stadium during Atlético de Kolkata vs FC Goa match on 10 December 2014

During the second season, 405,659 people attended the home matches of Kolkata (most by any club in that season) with an average of 50,707 per match, and they held the most attended game of the season for the second year in a row with 68,340 people.[44] During the third season, an average of 11,703 people per match attended the home matches of Kolkata.

The fourth season saw a formidable decline in the average attendance in the home matches of Kolkata due to the low capacity of Rabindra sarobar stadium. The lowest attendance count was 3,165 whereas the highest was 32,816. In their nine home games ATK managed to pull an average attendance of just 12,629.

Year GP Cumulative High Low Mean
2014 8 316,195 65,000 21,550 45,171
2015 8 405,659 68,340 35,437 50,707
2016 8 93,627 12,575 10,589 11,703
2017–18 9 113,661 32,816 3,165 12,629
2018–19 9 160,804 41,202 5,321 17,867

SupportersEdit

Atlético de Kolkata, and the ISL in general, were initially announced with a mixed reception among football fans in Kolkata. Some locals feared that it could overshadow the development of players at the city's two long-established I-League clubs, while others saw the new franchise as a way to unite both sets of I-League supporters, who would be drawn together further by the involvement of Ganguly, who is idolised across the state.[45]

Ahead of the second season, the franchise accredited the ATK Fans Fraternity (ATKFF), whose ₹800 membership includes a home season ticket and an official jersey. The fraternity offered 4,000 memberships in an exclusive part of the stadium. Firstpost journalist Pulasta Dhar described it as a "brilliant" deal which could be replicated in order to help all ISL clubs fill their stadia.[46]

Atlético Madrid have also engaged with the ATK support: in September 2015, their striker Fernando Torres sent a video message to the fans in India.[47]

Ownership and financesEdit

The Kolkata Games and Sports Pvt. Ltd. is a consortium established to oversee the administration and operations of ATK of the Indian Super League. The consortium is made up of former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, businessmen Harshavardhan Neotia, Sanjiv Goenka, and Utsav Parekh.[3]

The club's initial sponsors were Indian telecommunications corporation Aircel, while its partners were Kolkata-based underwear brand Lux Cozi and insurance firm Apollo Munich.[48] In October 2015, Kolkata-based Birla Tyres agreed a deal to be the principal sponsors for the club's second and third seasons.[49]

PlayersEdit

Current squadEdit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1   GK Dheeraj Singh
2   DF Boris Singh Thangjam
4   DF John Johnson
6   DF Ricky Lallawmawma
7   MF Komal Thatal
8   MF Carl McHugh
10   MF Edu Garcia
11   FW David Williams
13   GK Avilash Paul
14   DF Agus Garcia
15   FW Balwant Singh
16   MF Jayesh Rane
17   MF Pronay Halder
18   MF Dario Vidošić
No. Position Player
19   MF Javi Hernández
20   DF Pritam Kotal
21   FW Roy Krishna
22   FW Jobby Justin
23   MF Michael Soosairaj
24   DF Salam Ranjan Singh
25   MF Michael Regin
26   MF Sehnaj Singh
28   DF Ankit Mukherjee
29   GK Arindam Bhattacharya
30   DF Anas Edathodika
33   DF Prabir Das
65   DF Sena Ralte

Other players under contractEdit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
  MF Cavin Lobo
  MF Hitesh Sharma
  MF Malsawmzuala

Out on loanEdit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
  GK Debjit Majumder (on loan to Mohun Bagan until 31 May 2020)
  MF Sheikh Faiaz (on loan to Mohun Bagan until 31 May 2020)

Current technical staffEdit

More:List of ATK managers

As of 15 January 2019
 
Antonio López Habas is the current head coach of ATK.
Position Name
Head Coach   Antonio López Habas[50]
Assistant Coach   Manuel Cascallana[51]
  Sanjoy Sen[52]
Goalkeeper Coach   Ángel Pindado[53]
Physiotherapists   Luis Alfonso Martinez
  Avinandan Chatterjee
  Noel Augustine
Physical Trainer   Alvaro Ros Bernal
Team Doctor   Rafi Bhati
Masseur   Mohammed Kashif
  Shaikh Siraj
Video Analyst   Nachiket Patil
Player Recruitment Head   Sujay Sharma
Team Manager   Avishek Bhattacharjee
Kit Manager   Anirban Biswas

ManagementEdit

As of 8 July 2018
 
Sanjiv Goenka is the chairman of ATK
Position Name
Director (Technical Area)   Subrata Talukdar[54]
Director   Saharsh Parekh
Director   Subhrangshu Chakraborty
Director   Sunil Bhandari
Position Name
Owner   Kolkata Games and Sports Pvt. Ltd.[55]
Chairman   Sanjiv Goenka[56]
CEO   Raghu Iyer[57]
CFO   Vinay Chopra
Managing Director   Sudip Ghosh
Head of Advisory committee   Anjan Chowdhury
Finance Controller   Somshuvra Ghosh
Operations Executive   Rhitam Chatterjee
Operations Coordinator   Shubham Ghosh
Head of Business Operations   Rohit Katyal
Infrastructure Operations Manager   Rahul Dutta
Liaison Officer   Saptarshi Chowdhury
Social Media Manager   Raunak Ghosal
Digital Content Executive   Sagnik Kundu
Academy Director   Joydeep Chakraborty
Grassroots Incharge   Ashish Sarkar
Fan Engagement Manager   Saptarshi Bakshi

Statistics and recordsEdit

As of 10 April 2019[58]
Season League Stage Finals Super Cup* Top Goalscorer
Played Won Drawn Lost GF GA Pts Pos Player Goals
2014 14 4 7 3 16 13 19 3rd Champions[59]  –   Fikru Teferra 5
2015 14 7 2 5 26 17 23 2nd Play-offs  –   Iain Hume 11
2016 14 4 8 2 16 14 20 4th Champions[60]  –   Iain Hume 7
2017–18 18 4 4 10 16 30 16 9th Did not qualify Round of 16   Robbie Keane 8
2018–19 18 6 6 6 18 22 24 6th Did not qualify Semi-finals   Manuel Lanzarote 7

* Super Cup was announced in the 2017–18 season onwards.

Former playersEdit

***All of these players have represented their respective countries at the highest level***

Name Country
Fikru   Ethiopia
Luis García   Spain
Ofentse Nato   Botswana
Apoula Edel   Armenia
Valdo   Cape Verde
Iain Hume   Canada
Hélder Postiga   Portugal
Dejan Lekić   Serbia
Stephen Pearson   Scotland
Henrique Sereno   Portugal
Robbie Keane   Ireland
Martin Paterson   Northern Ireland
David Cotterill   Wales
Njazi Kuqi   Finland
Jussi Jääskeläinen   Finland
Andre Bikey   Cameroon
Kalu Uche   Nigeria
Eli Babalj   Australia

Kit manufacturers and shirt sponsorsEdit

Period Kit Manufacturer Shirt Sponsor
2014–2015   Umbro   Aircel
2015–2017   NIVIA Birla Tyres
2017–present   NIVIA CESC

HonoursEdit

DomesticEdit

Winners (2): 2014, 2016

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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  53. ^ "Introducing our new Goalkeeping Coach Ángel Pindado to our ATK Family!".
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External linksEdit