FC Pune City
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Football Club Pune City (FCPC) was an Indian professional football club based in the city of Pune, Maharashtra, which last played in the Indian Super League under licence from FIFA (AIFF). The club was formed in 2014 with a philosophy to provide stimulus to the growth and development of football in the state of Maharashtra and to participate in the inaugural season of the Indian Super League. The team was owned by Rajesh Wadhawan Group, its promoters Mr. Kapil Wadhawan and Mr. Dheeraj Wadhawan and actor Arjun Kapoor. The club got dissolved in 2019 due financial and technical difficulties.
|Full name||FC Pune City|
|Capacity||9,110 (11,900 maximum)|
|League||Indian Super League|
|Departments of FC Pune City|
|Football (Men's)||Football Reserves (Men's)||Football Women (Women's)|
The philosophy behind the inception of the club was to promote and develop the game of football in the city of Pune right from the grassroots levels onwards. FC Pune City aims to be the club which players passionately aspire to be a part of and a club to whom fans pledge their loyalties.
FC Pune City (Football Club Pune City), commonly known as Pune City is a professional football club based in Pune. On 13 April 2014, it was announced that Salman Khan and the Wadhawan Group had won the bidding for the Pune franchise. Later due to issues of sponsorships and endorsements, Salman Khan opted to move out from FC Pune City. Serie A’s ACF Fiorentina came on board as technical partners while Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan joined in as the co-owner of the club in its first year of existence.
Season 1 (2014)Edit
After successfully winning the bid for Pune franchise, The Rajesh Wadhawan Group on 30 July 2014, the revealed its identity. Club CEO Gaurav Modwel launched the team name, logo and brand identity at an event. More importantly, they also announced their head coach in Franco Colomba and marquee player in French football legend David Trezeguet.
The club bolstered its squad with the signing of Kostas Katsouranis in September 2014, as he became the first player in Indian Super League to have played in the FIFA World Cup 2014. John Goossens was among other notable signings for the club. For pre-season, the club travelled to Florence.
The team played their first ever Indian Super League match on 14 October 2014, away to Delhi Dynamos FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi in a 0–0 draw. On 18 October 2014 at DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai with an attendance of 28,000, FC Pune City suffered their first loss of the ISL with a 0–5 scoreline to Mumbai City FC.
They found comfort in their homes in their first ever home game on 26 October 2014 at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex. FC Pune City beat FC Goa 2–0 in front of a packed stadium to mark their home debut with a win as Kostas Katsouranis and Captain David Trezeguet scored a goal each.
In their second home fixture, the club suffered a 1–2 defeat against Kerala Blasters despite David Trezeguet scoring the first goal for FC Pune City in the 15th minute. Playing their third home game on the trot, the club showed great spirit against NorthEast United FC as John Goossens’ 88th-minute header gave FC Pune City a 1–0 win, second in three matches at home.
On 7 November 2014, the club took on Atlético de Kolkata in Kolkata. FC Pune City registered a 3–1 win which ended ATK's unbeaten run. Dudu Omagbemi scored the first goal, Kostas Katsouranis scored the second goal, picking up the Hero of the Match award while Davide Colomba scored the third goal with a deflected free kick.
During the match, John Goossens suffered a serious injury after a collision with his team's goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya. This injury brought a premature end to Goossens’ stint with FC Pune City for the rest of the season.
After the high against ATK, FC Pune City managed just one win (Mumbai City FC), with three draws (Chennaiyin FC, NorthEast United, Atlético de Kolkata) and four losses (Chennaiyin FC, FC Goa, Delhi Dynamos & Kerala Blasters) which pushed the team down to sixth place, missing out on qualifying for the knockout stage.
Season 2 (2015)Edit
In 2015, the club announced English football legend David Platt as the new head coach. A few weeks later, Adrian Mutu was announced as the marquee player alongside Ivory Coast and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Didier Zokora. FC Pune City opened their season in some style registering an emphatic 3–1 win over Mumbai City FC in the Maharashtra Derby on 5 October 2015 at home. Turkish midfielder Tuncay scored twice while Israil Gurung scored once in the win.
The third game they played was against Delhi Dynamos FC on 14 October. FC Pune City lost the game 1–2 with Kalu Uche being the sole scorer for FC Pune City. This game saw Jackichand Singh and Eugeneson Lyngdoh making their ISL debut.
Playing their fourth consecutive home game, the David Platt managed side registered a 1–0 win over defending champions Atletico De Kolkata. Jackichand Singh's goal in the second minute of the match was enough to put the home side on top of the table at the end of the match.
In their next match against Chennaiyin FC, FC Pune City were handed a 1–2 defeat with Kalu Uche reducing the home team's lead in the 75th minute. Back home, in an exciting match, FC Pune City came down from a goal to win 3–2 against Kerala Blasters. Mohammed Rafi scored a goal in the first minute for Kerala Blasters, the fastest goal ever in the history of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL). He scored his second in the 30th minute but it was Kalu Uche’s brace for the hosts (16th and 23rd ). In the 72nd minute, Tuncay scored the winner for the home team.
This remained the last win for the Didier Zokora-led side. They managed three draws and five losses in the next eight matches putting them in the 7th place.
Season 3 (2016)Edit
Before the start of the season, the club announced its take over of I-League club Pune FC's academy and their home-grown talent alongside making a significant investment to upgrade the existing infrastructure by creating top-end training facilities. As a part of developing an eco-system, the club not only boosted its preparations ahead of the upcoming season, but also put up a planned approach of turning the club into a football powerhouse.
Two weeks in to the season, FC Pune City's Academy product Md. Ashique Kuruniyan got a training stint at La Liga club Villarreal and play for its third team on loan.
For season three, FC Pune City brought in Barcelona and Iceland legend Eiður Guðjohnsen as their marquee player. But during a pre-season training session, Guðjohnsen picked up an injury to end his stint with the club even before it could start. Former Liverpool midfielder Momo Sissoko was roped in as the new marquee player as ISL winning coach, Antonio Habas joined the club as the new head coach.
The season didn't start as well as expected as FC Pune City registered just two wins (2–1 against FC Goa, 2–1 against ATK) in eight matches, losing their season opener against Mumbai City FC by 1–0 and two other games and drawing three other fixtures. With just two wins (1-0 against Mumbai City FC, 4–3 against Delhi Dynamos) in their next 6 fixtures and three losses and a drawn game put the club in sixth position, missing out on yet another chance to qualify for the knockout stages.
Season 4 (2017-18)Edit
FC Pune City announced their participation in the inaugural Indian Women's League 2017. Starting from 28 January 2017 until 14 February 2017, the League had five other teams participating alongside FC Pune City in the final round to be held in New Delhi.
The women's team in the last one year had won the Late Lance Naik Mohan Goswamy Memorial All India Tournament 2016 in Uttarakhand, Guru Tej Bahadur Football Tournament and Mayor's Cup in Pune and remained unbeaten in the Pune District Football Association (PDFA) Women's League on their way to winning the title. In fact in both Guru Tej Bahadur Football Tournament and PDFA Women's League this side didn't concede a single goal.
In July 2017, they beat United Poona SA 3–0 in the finals of WIFA Women's Championship 2017. A brace by Senorita added to Muriel Adam's goal ensured the win for the outfit in the all-Pune finals played at Cooperage, Mumbai.
In May, FC Pune City announced a strategic alliance with Mizoram's Chanmari Football Club.
Established in 2011, Chanmari Football Club is based in Aizawl and participates in the Mizoram Premier League. The partnership will entail close co-operation between the first teams, academies, youth development, training support and scouting projects. However, the most significant aspect of the arrangement would be the opportunity for Chanmari FC players to represent FC Pune City at some stage in their careers.
As a part of the association, FC Pune City will help the Aizawl-based club build a youth structure providing them with coaches and training equipment. This partnership will enable Chanmari F.C. to set up youth teams and thereby benefit local Mizoram players to train from a young age in a professional environment.
A few months later in June, FC Pune City's U-19 team won the 121st U-19 IFA Shield tournament in its debut season.
A 3–0 win over home team and multiple time champions Mohun Bagan capped their glorious run in the century-old tournament that concluded on Sunday. FC Pune City U-19 team was placed in Group B along with U-19 teams of Tata Football Academy, Mohun Bagan, Minerva Punjab. In their run to finals, FC Pune City U-19 team beat Tata Football Academy 1–0. Mohun Bagan 1–0, Minerva Punjab 3–1 before handing AIFF U-19 side 6–5 defeat in penalty shootout in the semifinal.
Come July, the first ever player draft in Indian Super League took place. FC Pune City went into the draft with an eye on acquiring young talent for the coming season.
Signing the likes of Kean Lewis, Isaac Vanmalsawma, Nim Dorjee Tamang and Wayne Vaz as well as retaining the services of the goal-keeper Vishal Kaith, FC Pune City aim to better their ISL record starting November 2017.
FC Pune City also signed the golden boot winner of the previous year's ISL, Marcelinho. Forward Emiliano Alfaro joined the ranks too from NorthEast United FC. Bolstering the midfield, FC Pune City signed Marcos Tebar from Delhi Dynamos FC and brought back Jonathan Lucca from last season who alongside Diego Carlos and Robertino Pugliara form the midfield. Rafa Lopez and Damir Grgic have also been roped in to strengthen the defence.
Season 5 (2018)Edit
As always, the FC Pune City pre season began with hosting a successful Corporate Super Cup. Starting from 9 June 2018 until 22 July, the Corporate Super Cup saw more than 20 teams participating, with Team FIN IQ winning the CSC 2018 trophy.
The club also announced the retention of Adil Khan, Emiliano Alfaro, Marko Stankovic, Diego Carlos, Rohit Kumar, Lalchhuanmawia, Gurtej Singh & Kamaljit Singh, as well signing new players like Alwyn George, Shankar Sampingiraj, Gabriel Fernandes, Keenan Almeida, Nikhil Poojari, Jonathan Vila and Martin Diaz to fill in for the departures of Jonatan Lucca and Rafa Lopez Gomez. The Stallions also signed one of India's notable strikers, Robin Singh, ex- Manchester City and Leicester City center back Matt Mills and Hero Indian Super League top goalscorer, Iain Hume. The Stallions also signed Spanish coach Miguel Angel Portugal, who had Hero Indian Super League experience having coached Delhi Dynamos the previous season. With the core of the previous team still in place and with the added reinforcements, the Stallions were ready to begin their season 5 campaign.
The Stallions began their pre season at Goa, participating in the AWES Cup. A good place to test out the new manager's tactics in a competitive space, the AWES cup were tested with fire, crashing out of the tournament in the group stages after a poor showing.
FC Pune City also conducted the Orange Army Cup again this season, a tournament to bring together the supporters on European clubs in Pune to come together under the FC Pune City banner. The tournament was a major success, with the Orange Army team emerging victorious.
The Stallions launched their brand new avatar on 22 September 2018 at West End mall, Aundh, Pune. The new jersey was made by Six5Six, a Gurgaon-based company, and the jersey launch event was a major success, with thousands of people flocking at the mall to see the Stallions in their new armour.
Before the season began, the Stallions announced the signing of Ashutosh Mehta, who joined as a replacement for an injured Keenan Almeida. A wing back who has previously played at ATK and Mumbai City FC, Ashutosh came in with a wealth of experience.
FC Pune City started their season 5 campaign with away games at Delhi Dynamos and Mumbai City FC. Diego Carlos scored FC Pune City's first goal of season 5 of the Hero Indian Super League. The season did not start as expected, with FC Pune City registering only one win and two draws in their first nine games. As a result of this poor showing in the beginning of the season, the club decided to part ways with coach Miguel Angel Portugal and appointed Technical Director Pradyum Reddy as the interim coach. The Stallions decided to loan forward Emiliano Alfaro to ATK for the remainder of the season. This paved the way for Iain Hume to play for FC Pune City, as he recovered from his knee injury before the December break.
FC Pune City appointed Englishman Phil Brown in the winter break. Phil Brown boasted quite the experience in England, and was looking to manage clubs abroad.
The Englishman's first match as FC Pune City head coach was a 2–1 away win against Chennaiyin FC. This was followed by a draw against ATK at home and resounding victory over Jamshedpur FC at Jamshedpur. FC Pune City finished their Hero Indian Super League season 5 campaign with a 2–1 win against Mumbai City FC. The Stallions finished their season in seventh place, missing out on a direct qualification to the Hero Super Cup. Marcelo Pereira was the club's highest goalscorer, with 6 goals.
Meanwhile, the FC Pune City U-18 had a historic run in the Hero Elite League. The club appointed ex player Mehraj Uddin Wadoo as the head coach of the U-18 team, and the young Stallions took the League by storm. The boys reached the Final of the Elite League, where they lost to Minerva Punjab U-18 team. The run to the final was a 13-game unbeaten run.
FC Pune City and Mumbai City FC are the only 2 clubs in the Indian Super League from a single state, which created an elite rivalry between the two, one that is now renowned as the Maha-Derby.
The high level of intensity promised during a Maha-Derby never failed to meet fans expectations and their incessant need to defeat their respective rivals kept the fans on the edge of their seats.
On 26 August 2016, it was announced that FC Pune City had purchased the Pune F.C. Academy and rebranded it under their name. At the same time, the team unveiled their youth development plans which included fielding teams in the Youth League U18 and U15 leagues, as well as the Subroto Cup and Pune Football League.
FC Pune City have a large focus on promoting youth talent. With respect to their Grassroots programme, FC Pune City provide their junior, women's and developmental teams with state of art facilities, well-maintained training grounds, and everything necessary to help with their training needs.
In the past year, each of FC Pune City's Grassroots teams have won a trophy, that includes, the U-11, U-14, U-16 and U-18 teams as well as the women's team. The U-11 team won the Adidas Uprising tournament, the U-14 team won the SRPF tournament, the U-16 team won the Goa Elite Super Cup and the U-18 team won the IFA Shield beating Mohun Bagan in the finals. FC Pune City was the only ISL team participating in the tournament.
The FC Pune City crest is also inspired by Shivaji. The fort within the shield, the horses and the flag are borne out of a team with a strong defensive and offensive line-up. The color Orange is synonymous with Shivaji, whilst the purple color and the flower are identities that has been pivotal in the all-round symbolism of the club.
FC Pune City plays their home matches at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Balewadi, Pune. The pitch at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex is of natural grass and its capacity for the Indian Super League Matches is 9210.
FC Pune City owns 2 training facilities in the city of Pune. The Senior Team trains at the state of the art FC Pune City Training Facility which is situated at Dharawli, Pirangut whilst the Youth Teams train at the Training Pitches in Mamurdi. Both facilities have natural grass pitches.
The development squads of FC Pune City train at the St. Vincent's High School football ground.
- As of September 2020
- As of March 2017
- Players who have represented their nations at the highest level.
Kit manufacturers and shirt sponsorsEdit
|Period||Kit manufacturer||Shirt sponsor|
|2015—2016||Adidas||Fair and Handsome|
- As of 27 August 2019
|Year||ISL Regular season||Finals||Super Cup||League Top Scorer(s)|
|2014||14||4||4||6||12||17||16||6th||DNQ||Did not exist||Kostas Katsouranis||4|
|2015||14||4||3||7||17||23||15||7th||DNQ|| Kalu Uche
|2017-18||18||9||3||6||30||21||30||4th||Semi Finals||Round of 16||Emiliano Alfaro||9|
|2018-19*||18||6||4||8||24||30||22||7th||DNQ||Round of 16||Marcelinho||6|
*Last professional season
Head coach's recordEdit
- As of 27 August 2019
|Franco Colomba||Italy||22 June 2014||20 December 2014||14||4||4||6||12||17||28.57|
|David Platt||England||2 June 2015||20 December 2015||14||4||3||7||17||23||28.57|
|Antonio López Habas||Spain||25 April 2016||15 September 2017||14||4||4||6||13||16||28.57|
|Miguel Martinez Gonzalez (Caretaker)||Spain||3 October 2016||3 October 2016||1||0||0||1||0||1||0.00|
|Ranko Popović||Serbia||25 September 2017||31 May 2018||18||9||3||6||30||21||50.00|
|Miguel Ángel Portugal||Spain||1 June 2018||26 October 2018||3||0||1||2||1||6||0.00|
|Pradyum Reddy (Interim-Manager)||India||26 October 2018||24 December 2018||9||3||1||5||10||15||33.33|
|Phil Brown||England||24 December 2018||27 August 2019||7||3||3||1||14||13||35.68|
Controversies and Shut DownEdit
Before shutting down in 2019 several Pune City Players, including Indian international Ashique Kuruniyan and Canadian Iain Hume, came out with a statement that claimed that they hadn't received their salary from the management for the entire season. After this, the All India Football Federation got involved and sought out the salary due issues with the players and the club.
In 2019, Pune City tried to sign a player from Chennai City FC illegally. Pune City tried to sign Spaniard Néstor Gordillo from Chennai City FC without the knowledge of Chennai City, all while the player still had a contract with Chennai City. All India Football Federation came down heavy on Pune City as they were handed a two window transfer ban, a fine of 50 lakhs(INR) and a two-year ban from participating in any AFC tournaments. Within months of the incident the club was dissolved and the stakes were sold. Subsequently, the new owners shifted base from Pune to the southern city of Hyderabad as Hyderabad FC.
- Basu, Saumyajit. "Stars embrace soccer through Indian Super League". Times of India. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
- Deshpande, Nikhil (9 October 2014). "Hrithik Roshan to be Pune City FC Co-owner". Sportzwiki. India. Retrieved 9 October 2014.
- "Salman Khan denies owning ISL team - Times of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
- Chakrabarty, Shamik; Vasavda, Mihir (14 April 2014). "Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Salman Khan, Ranbir Kapoor line up for football league". The Indian Express. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
- "FC Pune City takes over Pune FC's academy and outlines its plans for Football development". Indian Super League. 26 August 2016. Retrieved 26 August 2016.