Chennaiyin Football Club is an Indian professional football club based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The club competes in the Indian Super League (ISL), the top flight of Indian football. The club was founded in August 2014 during the inaugural season of the ISL. It has won the ISL title on two occasions, in the 2015, 2017–18 seasons respectively.

Chennaiyin
Full nameChennaiyin Football Club
Nickname(s)Marina Machans (sea blues)
Short nameCFC
FoundedAugust 28, 2014; 9 years ago (2014-08-28)
GroundJawaharlal Nehru Stadium
Capacity40,000 (36,000 seated)[1]
OwnerAbhishek Bachchan
MS Dhoni
Vita Dani
ManagerOwen Coyle[2]
LeagueIndian Super League
2023–24Indian Super League, 6th of 12
Playoffs: Knockout
WebsiteClub website
Current season
Departments of Chennayin FC
Football
(Men's)
Football
(Reserves
& Academy)
eSports[3]

The club is owned by Vita Dani, Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan and Indian cricketer MS Dhoni.[4] The team's name Chennaiyin FC means Chennai's football club in Tamil where the 'yin' suffix is similar to a possessive 's' in English.[5] The club's primary colour is blue ever since its inception and its logo is the Dhrishti Bommai, a representation of chasing away negativity and preserving positivity in the Tamil culture.[6]

Chennaiyin has played three ISL Finals winning it two times. The first final they played was the 2015 final which they beat FC Goa by 3–2 in Goa. In their second final, they played against Bengaluru FC at Bengaluru and won their second title by winning 3–2. During 2019–20 season Chennaiyin played their third final against ATK, which they lost 3–1.

History edit

Origin edit

When the Indian Super League was founded in 2014, the city of Chennai was one of the nine proposed cities up for franchise bidding.[7] However, on 11 April 2014 it was reported that Chennai's main bidder, a consortium led by Sunil Gavaskar would drop out due to commitments with the Board of Control for Cricket in India.[8] In August 2014, with two months before the 2014 ISL season, the Bangalore owners Sun Group dropped out due to disputes with the organizers.[9] Initially reports came out that the ISL organizers were looking for bidders for new owners for the Bangalore franchise before it was revealed that Ronnie Screwvala and actor Abhishek Bachchan would together bid for a Chennai team instead of a Bangalore franchise.[10]

Foundation edit

On 14 August 2014, it was reported that ISL officials were inspecting the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai for the proposed team.[11] Finally, the team was bid for by actor Abhishek Bachchan and Vita Dani. On 12 September 2014, Italian World Cup winner Marco Materazzi was hired as player-manager.[12] On 6 October 2014, former Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni became the joint co-owner of the club. The club officially launched their jersey on 9 October 2014 but had changed their home jersey's pattern in the 2018–19 Indian Super League season.

Marco Materazzi era (2014–2016) edit

On 15 October 2014, Chennaiyin won their first Indian Super League fixture with a 2–1 victory over FC Goa. The goals were scored by Balwant Singh, who became the first Indian player to score in the competition, and the former Brazil international Elano.[13] On 28 November 2014, the club brought Alessandro Nesta, who won the World Cup for Italy out of retirement.[14] The team finished its 14-game regular season in first place in the league. In the semi-finals, the team lost the first leg 3–0 to Kerala Blasters FC. In the second leg, they overturned the deficit by leading 3–0 in regular time. However, a 117th-minute goal by Stephen Pearson sent Kerala through to the finals.

For the second season of Indian Super League, they retained six players: Balwant Singh, Jayesh Rane, Dhanachandra Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Harmanjot Khabra and Abhishek Das.[15] They also signed Godwin Franco and Mehrajuddin Wadoo. On the last day of the transfer window, Chennaiyin FC announced that they had signed back Stiven Mendoza. The season started with the team losing the first two games. Though the team managed to score points by winning at Goa and Mumbai, they lost another three games on the trot. By the third week of November, Chennaiyin were placed last in the league table. However, the team won four consecutive games to qualify for the playoffs, finishing at 3rd place in the regular season. They won the second season of the ISL by beating FC Goa 3–2 in the finals.

For the third season, of Indian Super League, they retained six players: Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Jayesh Rane, Dhanachandra Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Harmanjot Khabra, Thoi Singh and Abhishek Das.[16] Chennai signed John Arne Riise as the marquee player for the season. The season kicked off with a draw against Kolkata. Winning only three games through the season, the team finished in seventh place, just one point more than the last placed FC Goa. After a dismal season, it was announced on 6 March that Marco Materazzi and Chennaiyin parted ways on mutual consent.[17][18]

John Gregory era (2017–2019) edit

 
John Gregory led the team to ISL title in his first season

On 3 July 2017, the club announced the appointment of former Aston Villa Manager John Gregory as the head coach for the 2017–18 season.[19][20] He took charge in September and the club traveled to Thailand for pre-season.[21] Chennaiyin lost Gregory's first league game as head coach on 19 November against FC Goa.[22] The team won its next three matches against Northeast United FC, FC Pune City and ATK. Mumbai City FC brought Chennaiyin FC's winning run to an end with a battling 1–0 win at home inside the Mumbai Football Arena.[23] The blues then travelled to Sree Kanteerava Stadium, where they beat Bengaluru FC 2–1 in a tightly contested match.[24] Chennaiyin FC were held to a 1–1 draw when they faced Kerala Blasters at home in their next game. In spite of the draw, The Blues went top of the table with 13 points after seven games.[25] The team went on to win the finals against Bangalore on their home ground and became the champions for the second time.[26] Chennaiyin FC finished as runner-ups in AIFF Super Cup 2019 where they lost to FC Goa 2–1. Following Indian Super League glory in 2017–18, Chennaiyin became the first Indian club, representing the ISL, to play in the AFC Cup, as they drew 0–0 with Colombo FC in Sri Lanka on 6 March 2019. A week later, they won the second leg 1–0 in Chennai to progress to the 2019 AFC Cup group stage. Chennayin FC is the first ISL club to reach in Group stage of AFC Cup 2019 i.e. in Group E.[27] They played a tie of 0–0 to Minerva Punjab FC on 3 April 2019 and won 2–0 to Nepalese club Manang Marshyangdi Club on 17 April 2019 whereby Maílson Alves and Chris Herd were also accompanied by win against Abahani Limited Dhaka by 1–0 and goal scorer was Anirudh Thapa on 30 April 2019. On 19 June 2019 Chennaiyin FC faced a draw of 1–1 against Minerva Punjab F.C. where Mohammed Rafi secured a goal in the last minute of game. On John Gregory's 65th birthday the club announced that the coach's contract was renewed which will expire soon after the 2019–20 Indian Super League season. After losing the AFC Cup the club then made some shocking decisions by releasing their captain, Mailson Alves and Raphael Augusto as a preparation for the 2019–20 Indian Super League season. They also released some of the Indian players in their team which includes C.K. Vineeth, Mohammed Rafi, Halicharan Narzary, Isaac Vanmalsawma. They then signed Nerijus Valskis, Lucian Goian, Dragoș Firțulescu, André Schembri, Masih Saighani and Rafael Crivellaro to strengthen their squad. On 30 November 2019 John Gregory resigned from his post as head coach even though owner Mrs. Vita Dani tried in vain to get him to stay. Under his guidance Chennai won their second Indian Super League trophy.

Owen Coyle (2019–2020) edit

Owen took the charge of the club on 4 December 2019.[28] Under his guidance Chennaiyin faced 1–1 draw against Jamshedpur, won 3–1 against Kerala Blasters and lost a dramatic game 4–3 to Goa in the initial days of Coyle.[29][30][31] They lost to Odisha on 6 January 2020 and won a game against Hyderabad by 3–1.[32][33]

The Coyle era catapulted Chennaiyin FC to 4th from Bottom of the table (9th), thus earning them qualification for the playoffs.[34] He went on to guide Chennaiyin FC to the 2020 ISL final after beating FC Goa 6–5 on aggregate over the two legs of the semifinals.[35][36]

Chennaiyin were beaten 3–1 by ATK with the game played behind closed doors, due to the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic in India.[37] Nerijus Valskis, who scored in the final for Chennaiyin, topped golden boot tally consequently, he was awarded ISL golden boot.[38]

Csaba László (2020–2021) edit

Csaba László took the charge of the club on 30 August 2020. He had an average season with three wins and 11 draws. On April 10, 2021, he parted ways with the club.[39]

Božidar Bandović (2021–2022) edit

Chennaiyin FC appointed Bozidar Bandovic as their manager for the 2021–22 season following the 0–5 defeat to FC Goa - the heaviest loss endured by the club in its history, the club said in a statement. "Bandovic was in charge of the first team for 16 matches - winning five, drawing four and losing seven. The team's assistant coach Syed Sabir Pasha will take over in the interim. Over the years, we've lost and won. But as a club, losing like this is something we cannot stand by and watch. And for now, we have full confidence in Sabir to see the season through," co-owner Vita Dani stated.[40]

Stadium edit

Chennaiyin FC play their home matches at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai nicknamed the Marina Arena. The stadium is located at Sydenhams Road, Park Town behind the Chennai Central suburban Railway station and Ripon Building. The stadium is named after Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister and earlier hosted cricket Test Matches between 1956 and 1965.[41]

Support edit

 
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the club's home ground.

Chennaiyin has a considerable fan base with an average attendance of over 20,000 over the first three seasons.[42][43]

Chennaiyin FC is one of the very few clubs in India to have multiple active fan groups. The B Stand Blues (BSB) and the Supermachans are the two fan groups of Chennaiyin FC. Both the fan groups are very famous among the Indian football scenario and they are constantly active on and off the season. Their support to the team is so dedicated and they also carry out CSR activities.

 
BSB cheering for Chennaiyin in 2017

Both these fan groups have worked so hard to spread the football fan culture in the state. They even travel to some away games to extend their support to the club. The most famous away trip is the 2017-18 ISL finals against Bengaluru FC, where there were hundreds of fans from both fan clubs despite the game happening in a different state. Both fan clubs ended up conquering the stands of Kanteerava when their club had conquered it on the field.

Opponents generally find the Chennaiyin crowd intimidating. Indian captain Sunil Chhetri himself has acknowledged this fact, as he's usually been on the receiving end when he travels to the Marina Arena in BFC colours. In addition to this, Chennaiyin also has a huge fan following all over the state of Tamil Nadu. Their social media following is among the top in Indian clubs.

Rivalry edit

Since both Chennaiyin FC and Bengaluru FC are two dominant clubs from South India, the rivalry between these two clubs' fans is visible both on ground and on various social platforms. The matches between both the clubs create sparks among both the clubs and especially the fans. The meetings between the two teams are known as the Southern Derby.[44]

Kit manufacturers and shirt sponsors edit

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor Back sponsor Chest sponsor Sleeve sponsor
2014–15 TYKA[45] Ozone Group[46] Reliance Digital -
2015–16 Haier[47] Volvo
2016–17 Puma[48] TVS Tyres Himalaya Men Lloyd
2017–18 Performax Apollo Tyres[49] Jio Nippon Paint[50]
2018–19 Gyproc
2019–20 DafaNews[51] SSVM
2020–21 Acko[52]
2021–22 Nivia[53] Acko BatBall11
2022–23 Parimatch News Dream11
2023– MelBat Polyhose NueGo

Players edit

First-team squad edit

As of 11 June 2024[54]

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   IND Samik Mitra
3 DF   ENG Ryan Edwards (captain)
6 DF   IND Ankit Mukherjee
7 MF   IND Ninthoinganba Meetei
8 MF   IND Mohammed Rafique
10 FW   SCO Connor Shields
11 FW   IND Rahim Ali
14 MF   IND Alexander Romario Jesuraj
22 DF   IND Sachu Siby
23 FW   IND Sweden Fernandes
29 FW   IND Irfan Yadwad
No. Pos. Nation Player
30 MF   IND Ayush Adhikari
33 DF   IND Bikash Yumnam
37 MF   IND Jiteshwor Singh
47 FW   IND Vincy Barretto
51 GK   IND Prateek Kumar Singh
71 MF   IND Farukh Choudhary
MF   IND Jitendra Singh
DF   BRA Elsinho
DF   IND Laldinpuia
FW   NGA Daniel Chima Chukwu
FW   COL Wilmar Jordán

Out on loan edit

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
DF   IND Bijay Chhetri (at Colón until 31 December 2024)

Personnel edit

Current Technical Staff edit

As of 11 June 2023[55]
Role Name Refs.
Head coach   Owen Coyle [56]
Assistant coach   Sandy Stewart
Goalkeeping coach   Rajath Guha
Sports scientist   Atharva Tere

Medical edit

Position Name
Team doctor   Ashay Jadhav
Head physio   Rajiv Kumar
Masseur   Nitin Patel
  Raju Salve

Management edit

Position Name
Team manager   Arihant Jain
Head of football operations   Pratham Basu
Kit manager   Parthiban Manogar
Youth team manager   Senthil Kumaran
Reserve and Academy coach   Santosh Kashyap[57]

Board of directors

Position Name
Co-owners   MS Dhoni
  Abhishek Bachchan
  Vita Dani[58]

Top goalscorers edit

Here is the list of top goalscorers across all competitions.

Rank Player Name Matches Goals
1   Jeje 77 25
2   Stiven Mendoza 25 17
3   Nerijus Valskis 31 17
4   Lallianzuala Chhangte 53 12
5   Elano Blumer 26 12
6   Anirudh Thapa 102 8
7   Maílson Alves 57 8
8   Rafael Crivellaro 27 8
9   Raphael Augusto 69 7
10   Bruno Pelissari 25 7
11   Bernard Mendy 39 5
12   Mohammed Rafi 21 5
13   André Schembri 18 5
14   Dudu Omagbemi 13 5
15   Thoi Singh 84 4
16   Iñigo Calderón 32 4
17   CK Vineeth 18 4
18   Esmaël Gonçalves 16 4
19   Rahim Ali 41 4
20   Eli Sabia 79 3
21   Gregory Nelson 38 3
22   Dhanachandra Singh 30 3
23   Davide Succi 13 3
24   Vladimir Koman 11 3
25   Dhanpal Ganesh 43 2
26   Mirlan Murzayev 19 2

In Bold: Players currently playing for Chennaiyin FC

Honours edit

League edit

Cup edit

Other Domestic tournaments edit

AFC club ranking edit

As of 5 February 2023[60]
Rank Team Points
246   Solomon Warriors 1,255
247   Mumbai FC 1,255
248   Chennaiyin 1,254
249   Kerala Blasters 1,254
250   Al-Ain FC 1,254

Continental record edit

Season Competition Round Club Home Away Aggregate
2019 AFC Cup Play-off round   Colombo 1–0[61] 0–0[62] 1–0
Group E   Minerva Punjab 0–0 1–1 2nd
  Manang Marshyangdi Club 2–0 2–3
  Abahani Limited Dhaka 1–0 3–2

eSports edit

The organizers of ISL introduced eISL, a FIFA video game tournament, for the ISL playing clubs, each represented by two players. Chennaiyin FC hosted a series of qualifying games for all the participants wanting to represent the club in eISL. On 20 November the club announced the signing of the two players. They won the inaugural eISL on 20 March 2022, following 2022 Indian Super League Final

Roster edit

Channaiyin FC eSports FIFA roster
Players Coaches
Handle Name Nationality
saranshjain7 Jain, Saransh India
Navinh29 H, Navin India
Head coach
  • Vacant

Legend:
  • (I) Inactive
  • (S) Suspended
  •   Substitute
  •   Injury / Illness
  

Latest roster transaction: 19 November 2021.

See also edit

References edit

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Further reading edit

Footnotes edit

  1. ^ a b For first three seasons, ISL was considered as just a tournament, but not as league. Before fourth season, AFC recognised ISL as an official top tier league along with I-League and from 9th season it's considered as only top tier league.

External links edit