The Scotsman was recently appointed as the head coach of the Men of Steel after his heroics with Chennaiyin FC last season.
Jamshedpur FC are putting together a very promising unit ahead of the upcoming edition of the Indian Super League. They have made some very impressive signings, that include the likes of Golden Boot winner Nerijus Valskis and Nigerian international Stephen Eze. However, their most decisive addition could prove to be that of head coach Owen Coyle.
Coyle’s heroics in his very first season in Indian football are well-documented. The 54-year-old had taken over Chennaiyin FC when they were rock-bottom and helped script a miraculous turnaround, with the Marina Machans storming into the playoffs and then defeating league leaders FC Goa to reach the final. As a result, it comes as no surprise that Jamshedpur made little haste in getting in touch with the tactician in order to convince him to get on board.
“I got in touch with Owen very much early in life. So, when I saw him growing the way he was, one thought was that this could be the right coach for you. We saw him take the club right from the bottom of the table, the same team which was playing, right up to the final. The man management skills that Owen has, I think they are unparalleled,” Jamshedpur FC CEO Mukul Choudhari said on Khel Now’s Beyond The Scores podcast.
“He showed tremendous mental strength as far as how he could motivate those players, how he could get them to do the best. You know how Valskis was doing in the first 6-7 games and then the way he was scoring later. Of course, (Rafael) Crivellaro was there, both of them teamed up fantastically well. But, the man behind the whole thing, getting everybody to give their best was Owen. I think we realized it and therefore we touched upon it much before.”
Jamshedpur have some incredible facilities and outstanding infrastructure that makes them an appealing destination for players as well as coaches. Choudhari stated that the sporting structure in place is a huge attraction for players and also revealed that it even was a big factor in Coyle’s arrival at the ISL outfit.
“Whoever has been to Jamshedpur and seen our infrastructure is really amazed, infact, that is one reason why most of the players also come here because you are actually helping them. If you have good infrastructure to practice, it reduces the injuries and many other things. It could help you be a better player.”
“From that perspective you ask me, for every player, it is an aspiration to come here. Even Owen, when I was speaking to him, this was the biggest pitch for him, saying that, ‘You have your own ground, you have your own people, you decide when to do your practice and you have lights so you can decide, it’s completely at your disposal.’ So, if you want to do a good job in football, you can’t get a better place than this and that’s what works.”
The Men of Steel also possess a wealth of highly-talented youngsters and helping them develop into top players is a key aspect of their philosophy, an idea that is also vitally shared by the coach.
“We were sharing our thoughts and philosophy and that’s where it helped. He agreed to do things we were wanting to do because we were always looking at developmental aspect and that development was very key to our hearts. That’s where, it touched him also, saying you know, ‘We have our academy setup and our own infrastructure.’”
“If you want to really grow in football, these are things which are very critical and that’s what got him thinking. Of course, at the same time, the brand Tata is behind the whole thing. So, one explains what one wants to achieve in life and we had more sync in our thoughts and that worked for us.”
As mentioned above, Valskis followed the tactician to move to Jamshedpur. The striker enjoyed a tremendous debut campaign in the ISL and played a vital role in Chennaiyin’s run to the final, by netting 15 goals and providing six assists. Mukul Choudhari said that getting both the deals over the line was indeed difficult, but their meticulous planning in addition to being straightforward while speaking to their targets made the difference.
“It was not easy but it is about touching them at the right time. At the same time, it was also being honest and upfront in terms of what you can do. Also, sharing with them you mean business and how important the sport is for you, which is basically what we shared with Owen and Valskis and that is what helped us.”
“We have our eye on excellence and getting up there, maybe playoffs is our target and beyond playoffs, getting there in the final is something one is looking at and one was working in that direction. It didn’t start now, it started in February last year or a little early. It was important that we start preparing early, getting in touch with the right people and therefore getting whatever we could,” Mukul Choudhari concluded.