Defending ISL champions Atletico de Kolkata are set to end their association with Spanish club Atletico Madrid, and will now just be known as ATK, short for Amar Tomar Kolkata (Yours and Mine Kolkata), principal owner Sanjiv Goenka announced on Saturday.
The ISL's most successful team's disassociation with Spain coincides with their English makeover, with Teddy Sheringham coming in as head coach and Ashley Westwood as technical director.
So after three seasons with Spanish coaches -- Antonio Lopez Habas in 2014 and 2015, and Jose Francisco Molina in 2016, ATK are heading into a new direction.
Among the two names, it's hard to look past Westwood as possibly having the biggest impact on the club. Westwood won three titles in India with Bengaluru FC, including two I-League trophies. His role is to "look into the technicalities on and off the field coordinating with coach and players seamlessly." This essentially puts him in charge of the tactical aspects of ATK's game, using his knowledge of the Indian players and the conditions.
Sheringham, who has only a year of experience in management -- Stevenage in the fourth tier of English football -- will be the drill master and bring his experience as a player into the training sessions. With a longer league, coaches will be more important while man-management will play second fiddle.
ATK's previous two coaches were more of the pragmatic breed. Winning was more important, and they weren't afraid to sit back when they didn't have the ball. When they did have the ball, the presence of Borja Fernandez, a midfield general and a no-nonsense forward - Fikru Teferra in 2014 and Iain Hume in 2016 - saw them attack with pace; getting the ball where it mattered with quick passes. All this, while keeping the defence tight. Compact and efficient was their mantra.
Westwood will bring in a similar mentality. However, his teams like to keep the ball and dominate proceedings. During his three years at BFC, his focus was more on the physical aspects and nutrition of the players. His team was physically fit, so getting the ball back and asserting authority on the game was his style. "All Indian players now understand that if you come to our club and learn more about fitness and nutrition then you have a good chance of becoming an international -- at least you will become a better player," he had told ESPN in an interview in 2015. ATK players will need to adapt to this discipline.
Westwood was never a naturally gifted footballer, but he negated that with his mental side of the game. That approach rubbed on his coaching career. His belief in players like Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Amrinder Singh and Rino Anto benefited BFC immensely. It's fair to expect the youngsters at ATK to be given more chances.
It's hard to say what Sheringham's impact would be, but it's more likely to be in the attacking department. Before his one-year stint with Stevenage, he was West Ham's "attacking coach" and that helped the premier league club score a lot of goals during the period of his appointment; even earning striker Diafra Sakho the Premier League player of the month award. Not to forget he was one of England's most feared strikers at his time. Undoubtedly, his experience playing at the highest level will be his most valuable asset.
Westwood's brain can help Sheringham tame the beast that is ATK. The Kolkata side were not the free-flowing attacking champions last season, but that might change with the combination of the two Englishmen.