I-League: East Bengal rope in former Southampton man Richard Dryden as assistant coach
East Bengal made a statement move at the fag end of last season when they brought back Trevor Morgan for a second stint. And now it seems that the the Red and Gold hierarchy has given him more power to tuen their fortunes around by allowing him to appoint his own assistant coach ahead of next season. That assistant coach seems to Morgan’s fellow Englishman Richard Dryden.
Dryden enjoyed a long career as a player which spanned over 2 decades which saw him represent the likes Southampton in the Premier League along with spells at clubs like Birmingham City and Stoke City. After retiring from football in 2007, Dryden took his first shot at management as an assistant manager at Tamworth that same year in the sixth tier of English football.
The 47-year-old’s first break in the managerial front, however, came when he was given the reins of Conference north side Worcester City where he worked for three seasons before being sacked. Dryden then went on to take different positions Darlington and York City. He was, in fact, appointed the caretaker manager for a brief period at Notts County last season.
The news comes as surprise to many as even after assigning Trevor Morgan as their new coach in April, reports suggested that he will have no power of choosing his coaching staff. The former Indian champions had already extended the contract of their legendary defender Sammy Omollo to stay on as assistant coach whilst roping in Debjit Ghosh as their new goalkeeping coach.
Speaking to the local media the new East Bengal coach said, “Yes, I am bringing Richard with me who will be assisting me in East Bengal. We will get a local goalkeeper coach as well as a local assistant coach to help us. But I will not appoint any physical trainer.”
Morgan was one of the most succesful foreign coaches in the history of the Red Golds and led them to the the AFC Asian Cup semi-finals in 2013. However, he left after disagreements with the top brass of the club in 2013. Since then, the Red and Gold have been a mere shadow of the prolific side that Morgan had built them to be, failing to win win any major trophies in the Indian footballing calendar in the last two season.
The Englishman now seems determined to make East Bengal a real force in the Indian footballing map once again and leaving no stones unturned in order to achieve so. Morgan guided East Bengal to triumphs in the Calcutta Premier League for three years in a row between 2010 and 2013.
He also guided the team to two Federation Cup wins whilst also helping them reach the semi-finals of the 2013 AFC Cup. The I-League, however, remains a trophy that has always eluded the 59-year-old.
The East Bengal pre-season camp is set to kick of on 2nd July with Morgan hoping for a residential camp at Kalyani in the first weeks of the coming month.