ISL 2018-19: The value of gold in the land of mines - Jamshedpur FC
When Cahill signed up for Jamshedpur FC, people who take interest in Indian Football dropped their jaws in utter surprise! How can someone with the magnitude of TIM CAHILL join a club as Jamshedpur FC? It’s a competing club in the league, of course! But JFC, given its minimal marketing extravagance is mostly overshadowed with the likes of the Chennaiyin FCs, the Bengaluru FCs or the ATKs.
At the mark of the transfer, it was very interesting to see how a global player like Cahill adapts to a club like Jamshedpur who is still growing up in its infant years? But now with a month past the Cahill transfer, it feels that Jamshedpur FC looks like one of the most strongly bonded teams in the tournament.
This also sets an example for the rest of the teams and the also league on something which is on a long-term model. To build a connect of the club with its players and consequentially with the fans.
Last season when Steve Coppell was handed over the reins of the club the initial goal was to create a team who can compete. They struggled initially but Mr Coppell’s sternness brought JFC really close to a Semi-Final berth in its inaugural season. Apart from Coppell’s geniuses what aided this build-up process was also a culmination of three very important factors-1) The City 2) The Management and the 3) Players.
Jamshedpur is a city situated in the north of Jharkhand and is not necessarily well connected with the rest of the parts of India. For the players to catch a flight to go for the away games takes an hour long bus journey to the neighbouring city of Ranchi with the other alternative being travelling in a train, which in most times is not feasible.
Also, being a small city with very limited scope of recreation, players who spend around 6 months with the team tend to stay together among themselves for a longer time of the season in Jamshedpur.
Secondly, the city is more or less entirely owned by the TATAs. If you pick up a stone and throw at a building its almost unlikely that its a non-TATA employee’s. Almost all the employees who work for the company, the club, in the stadium or elsewhere works with the single mission of doing it for the TATAs. The support for the team comes naturally to the people and that vibe flows in the city whenever the team is in town.
One of the other contributing factors was some of the steps that were taken by the Management in the inaugural season of the league. At JFC, most of the people sitting at the top tier of the management have been serving the company for years and in the midst of all the innovation and experimentations happening, the management kept it very clear and in-line to the culture the city holds.
For example, the design of the logo and the jerseys with tribal arts and pre-match entertainments with local dances helped the local fans build a connection with the club in a much better way than any other team. A formula which most of the ISL teams have tried to replicate over the season and have failed miserably.
Trusting on the long-term vision of the team and the league, they renovated their own stadium and now have their own flatlets for the staff and the players.
The management also showed wide commitment by utilising the best facilities of the TATA Football Academy last season and now expanding it to a new state of the art facility in the coming years. The TATA family is also recognised to nourish one of the homely environments to its staff and players.
In his contract extension, Tiri mentioned “I am happy to announce that I will be playing for Jamshedpur FC again next season. The love and affection that I received from the fans towards me and towards my football has really touched my heart, Jamshedpur feels like home.”
In the past few months, there can be seen several instances where players have come out and showcased their love an affection for a club which is just a year old. Even Tim Cahill after his signing has been active on his Instagram to post videos and updates of the team and how well he is gelling in with his teammates.
He also went "Live" twice soon after he set his feet in Jamshedpur.
With that being said everyone would be hoping that the players show their class on the field. Even though nothing can be claimed before the first match, the team does look to boost a solid line-up for the season. With a new Spanish coach in Cesar Ferrando and a dominating Spanish bench, it will be really interesting to see how these players respond with each other on the field.
What JFC understands, is a gradual flow of processes. As the quote goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, JFC is certainly aiming for a long-term development of the club and its players. When most of the teams are failing to stand upright in hopes of making quick profits, which is, in this scenario inevitable, JFC fuels a fresh air of credibility among franchises, the teams and the league.