ISL 2018-19: Kerala Blasters part ways with David James
There had been widespread discontent among the club's fanbase about the Englishman's methods, and that was not without reason. The Blasters are on an 11-game winless run, after winning 2-0 against ATK in the opening game of the season.
James took over as head coach after Rene Meulensteen was sacked midway through the 2017-18 season, for a similar run of results when the Blasters just could not buy a win. There were also reports of a mutiny within the squad against the Dutchman.
Kerala currently find themselves in 8th place in the ISL Standings, having only mustered nine points from 12 games, with six draws and five losses following their winning start to the season.
The club's fans even staged a boycott of their last two home games, hoping that the management would make the required changes to the club, to get results back on the right track.
James has been the subject of widespread ridicule, ever since Dimitar Berbatov's Instagram post mocked his tactics. The Bulgarian star even called James the 'worst wannabe (sic) coach ever'.
Kerala Blasters' CEO Varun Tripuraneni said, “The club would like to thank David for his efforts towards the team and wishes him all the very best in his career.”
James also spoke after the decision had been made, saying, “I’d like to thank the management, players and all staff for their support during my stint with the club. I wish them the very best for the future. The fans here have been amazing and I’d like to thank them too for a memorable experience.”
According to the Malayalam news agency Manorama News, the club has appointed Thangboi Singto as the stand-in head coach till a further decision is reached.
Singto has been with the club since the beginning of last season, having played an integral role in the recruitment of the club's Indian players.
With their chances of playoff qualification this season almost non-existent, this will give the Blasters the opportunity to rebuild their squad with fresh ideas ahead of the start of the next season.
James leaves India having left a mark, albeit not in the way he would've wanted to. "Chip the ball to striker's chest" will always remain an integral part of Indian football conversations in the years to come.