Shillong Lajong overtake East Bengal and Mohun Bagan to become India's number one money-making club
What's the story?
The recently concluded ISL Indian players' draft pick saw I-League clubs being raided by the ISL teams. Shillong Lajong performed brilliantly beyond expectations and were understandably one of the clubs whose players were going to be in high demand. As expected, seven players of the Meghalaya side were bought at high prices by the ISL clubs.
According to data from Khel Now, the seven Lajong players that were transferred to ISL clubs during the draft have so far fetched the club a cumulative sum of about ? 3 crores. That can be put into context with the money that the lowest spenders in the draft, FC Goa, parted with.
FC Goa spent only ? 2.59 crores in the draft, much lesser than what I-League club Lajong procured from sales. Northeast Indian football has been a conveyor belt of football talent for years, but only now have the region and clubs like Lajong started to make big money from player sales.
In case you didn't know...
Shillong Lajong have also become the first Indian club to break the ? 1 crore barrier in terms of revenue from player transfers this year. The Reds amassed a record revenue of about ? 1.5 crores by virtue of selling their players to ISL clubs, suggesting that the club's working model is among the best in Indian football.
Shillong Lajong are known for their impetus on producing Academy graduates from Northeast India which also led the club to a fifth-placed finish in the I-League last season. They have been playing in the I-League since the last six years and have churned out many talented youngsters for club and country.
The heart of the matter
Shillong Lajong are one of the best-run clubs in the country and the huge transfer revenues that the club have generated is a testament to their philosophy of promoting home grown players.
Lajong lost brilliant players such as Chinglesena Singh Kosham, Rupert Nongrum, Samuel Shadap, Pritam Singh Soreisam, Bipin Singh, Nim Dorjee Tamang and Isaac Vanmalsawma in the draft pick, but that has not deterred the club hierarchy one bit to build a team again as they are ready to invest the money in developing young players from the Northeast region.
Larsing Ming, the owner of Shillong Lajong, has also confirmed the purchase of a 31-acre land in Shillong where the building of the club's residential academy has been planned. Despite losing the spine of their team, Ming is confident about his team's chances in the next year's I-League and is ready to put the money received from player sales back into the club.
The footballing scene in the Northeast is at its all time peak at the moment with this news about Shillong Lajong being India's highest money-making club being just another feather in the cap of Northeastern football. Despite losing seven of their big-name stars to the riches of the ISL, Shillong Lajong have a number of exciting talents coming up and are ready to spring a few surprises next season.