The 6th Season of Indian Super League has already kicked off and we are here with all the information you need to know about one of the most successful ISL Team – ATK. This is the team profile of ATK that contains their history and overall performance to date.
ISL Team – ATK
Brief Information on ATK
Full Name: ATK (previously known as Atletico De Kolkata)
Founded on: 7th May 2014
Home Ground: Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (Salt Lake Stadium), Kolkata, West Bengal
Head Coach: Antonio Lopez Habas
Affiliation: Indian Super League
Official Website: http://atkfc.in/
How ATK was found?
Early in 2014 when it was announced that the national football federation of India, AIFF along with IMG-Reliance was going to accept the bids for the football franchise in India for the Indian Super League which was in line with the Indian Premier League the major cricket T20 league in the world, the partners of Kolkata Games and Sports Pvt. Ltd decided to bid for the Kolkata team along with the Spanish La Liga side Atletico Madrid. The Kolkata franchise was bought for ₹180 million and thus it became the most expensive franchise of the ISL.
Introduction to ATK
ATK is the Kolkata franchise of the Indian Super League. The franchise was established on 7th May 2014 and was the first team to be registered in ISL. The partners of the ATK are Kolkata Games and Sports Pvt. Ltd. in which the former Indian Cricket legend Sourav Ganguly, Harshavardhan Neotia (Businessman), Sanjiv Goenka (Businessman) and Utsav Parekh are partners. Atletico de Kolkata (which is now ATK) was partially owned by the Spanish La Liga football side Atletico Madrid for the first 3 seasons, and later on, the shares that were owned by Atletico Madrid were bought by Sanjiv Goenka in 2017. In July 2017, Atletico de Kolkata was renamed as ATK after the end of the partnership with Atletico Madrid.
Former Valencia and Bolivia manager Antonio Lopez Habas was appointed to be the head coach of the team. ATK plays all its home games at Kolkata’s Salt Lake City Stadium, which can accommodate around 85,000 fans and is considered to be one of the biggest soccer stadiums in the world.
In the inaugural season, Real Madrid’s former midfielder Borja Fernandez was the first player signed by ATK on 4 July 2014. Later on, the club signed Antonio Lopez Habas as their first head coach, and Luis Garcia as their marquee player who was former UEFA Champions League winner.
Cavin Lobo was the first Indian signing by the club that took place in the first round of the ISL Inaugural Domestic Draft. With an expenditure of ₹39.1 million, they were the biggest spenders in the draft. Sanju Pradhan was their biggest signing for ₹7 million.
In the inaugural season, ATK finished 3rd in the league which made them qualify for end-of-season play-offs. They played their semi-finals against FC Goa and won in the penalty shootout after a goalless draw. In the finals, ATK clashed with Kerala Blasters at DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai and defeated Kerala Blasters by 1-0 with the added time goal by Mohammed Rafique in the 90+5 minute. This made them win the inaugural season of ISL and Lusi Garcia was named as the marquee player of the season.
The team signed Iain Hume on 5 June 2015, a Canadian international forward whose five goals in the previous season helped Kerala Blasters to reach the finals of ISL 2014. In the domestic draft, the team went on to sign Amrinder Singh goalkeeper of Pune FC for ₹450,000. Augustin Fernandes became the most expensive player for the team when they signed him for ₹2.6 million.
ATK had to release Garcia due to his injury record which made them buy Portugal international forward Helder Postiga as their new marquee player.
With a win of 7 games, 2 draws, and 2 defeats ATK was the first team to qualify for the play-offs. They faced Chennaiyin FC in the play-offs where they traveled to Chennai and lost their leg by 3-0. In the second leg, ATK won by 2-1 but lost the semi-finals on an aggregate score of 4-2.
In March 2016, there were reports that Lopez Habas would leave the club due to concerns over his annual fee of ₹23.5 million. In April, he left for Pune and was replaced by the former Villarreal manager Jose Francisco Molina. Postiga returned to be their marquee player once again after a season-long injury spell he suffered in the previous season on his first match for ATK, but again suffered a long-term injury in the second game of the season.
Later the club went on to finish in fourth place, taking the final spot for the play-offs and were drawn against Mumbai City FC who were at the top of the table. Out of the two legs of the semi-finals, the first leg was hosted by ATK where they won 3-2 against Mumbai City FC and a goalless draw in the second leg made them proceed to the finals.
ATK clashed with Kerala Blasters for the second time in the finals, where the game ended in a draw by 1-1 and was headed to the penalty shootout. ATK won by 4-3 in the shootout to clinch the title for the second time.
After the separation from the Spanish giants Atletico Madrid, ATK failed to retain most of its squad members for the new season. For the 2017 season, ATK appointed former England International and Manchester United striker Teddy Sheringham as their new head coach. Furthur the club went on to sign Robbie Keane the former Irish international forward as their marquee player, and also appointed Ashley Woodward former Bengaluru FC head coach as the club’s technical director.
By only winning 3 games out of the 10 games played Teddy Sheringham was sacked on 24 January 2018, and Ashley Woodward was appointed as their interim coach for the rest of the season. ATK for the first time in four years did not qualify for the playoffs as they finished 9th in the table.
For the upcoming fixtures in the Indian Super Cup, Robbie Keane was named as the player-manager and went on to win 4-1 over Chennai City FC an I-League club but failed to qualify for the quarter-finals as they lost 3-1 against FC Goa.
After a tough season, former Mohun Bagan A.C head coach Sanjoy Sen was appointed by ATK as their mentor to recruit national players. Sanjoy roped some of his former players who he had worked with, along with ATK’s former players Calvin Lobo & Arnab Mondal.
In the 2018 season, ATK focused more on signing local players as it served the main foundation for building the squad for the season. Steve Coppell a former Manchester United striker was named as the club’s head coach for the season where he had the experience in managing ISL clubs such as Jamshedpur FC and Kerala Blasters. Under him, the team finished 6th in the season by winning only 6 games.
In the Indian Super Cup, ATK reached semi-finals by defeating Delhi Dynamos by 4-3. Unfortunately, they didn’t qualify for the finals as they had to taste defeat against Chennaiyin FC by 2-0 and had to settle for 4th place.
Team Details of ATK
The current squad of ATK for the 2019-2020 season is as follows:
Head Coach: Antonio Lopez Habas
Goalkeepers: Dheeraj Singh, Arindam Bhattacharya, and Lara Sharma
Defenders: John Johnson, Anil Chawan, Augustin Iniguez, Pritam Kotal, Ankit Mukherjee, Anas Edathodika, Prabir Das, Boris Singh Thangjam, Ricky Lallawmawma, Salam Ranjan Singh, Sena Ralte, and Sumit Rathi
Midfielders: Komal Thatal, Carl McHugh, Edu Garcia, Jayesh Rane, Pronay Halder, Javier Hernandez, Michael Soosairaj, Sehnaj Singh, Dario Vidosic, Raghav Gupta, Michael Regin, Cavin Lobo, Hitesh Sharma, and Ashish Pradhan
Forwards: Balwant Singh, David Williams, Jobby Justin, and Roy Krishna (Captain)
Key Players: Roy Krishna, Dheeraj Singh, Komal Thatal, Edu Garcia
As per the last game, ATK holds the top position in the 2019-2020 season.