ISL 2018-19: ATK rope in former Crystal Palace first team coach Ben Garner as new assistant coach
ISL side ATK have roped in former Crystal Palace youth coach and first team coach Ben Garner as their new assistant coach. After working with the Eagles, the 38-year-old Englishman sailed his ship with English Championship side West Bromwich Albion as their assistant head coach.
ATK's previous assistant coach Wally Downes took charge of managerial duties of League One side AFC Wimbledon on 4th December 2018. The Kolkata-based franchise club haven't filled the void since then. In the ensuing two matches, ATK held Northeast United FC 0-0 and lost to Bengaluru FC 0-1 away from home marginally.
Ben Garner started his professional head coaching career in 2005 when he became the youth coach of Crystal Palace Football Academy. There he nurtured players like Victor Moses, Nathaniel Clyne, and Wilfried Zaha who are both Premier League and national team regulars. He was promoted as the first team coach at the onset of 2012-13 season, and didn't disappoint the club authorities a bit as the Eagles got promoted to the Premier League.
Ben Garner parted ways with Crystal Palace on 2015 and embarked his career with West Bromwich Albion. In September 2016, he was promoted as the assistant head coach and steered the club to a 14th place finish, escaping relegation. However, he had a dismal 2017-18 season with the Throstles and parted ways on December 2017 itself. West Bromwich Albion eventually got relegated to the Championship after finishing in the bottom of the pile.
Ben Garner isn't unfamiliar with Indian football totally. On September 4 2016, ISL club Delhi Dynamos crossed swords with West Bromwich Albion as a part of their pre-season warm-up friendly in England. Ben Garner was in-charge of managing then EPL side who went on to pip Delhi Dynamos 1-0.
It will be interesting to see how he forges a partnership with current ATK manager Steve Coppell, who previously managed a plethora of English clubs like Manchester City, Brentford, Brighton & Hove Albion, Reading, and Bristol City before finding solace in India through ISL.