Football

ISL: Chennaiyin and head coach Gregory go separate ways

Chennaiyin FC's head coach John Gregory.

Chennaiyin FC's head coach John Gregory.   | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

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“The club would like to thank John for his services.”

Chennaiyin FC (CFC), on Saturday, announced that it has parted ways with head coach John Gregory by mutual consent. 

The club is yet to announce a successor for the Englishman.

In a joint statement, the CFC co-owners said: “The club would like to sincerely thank John for his services. He led us admirably well and delivered our second Indian Super League (Hero ISL) title. He, thus, also made us the first ISL club to qualify for the AFC Cup and oversaw our debut appearance in Asia while also reaching the 2019 Super Cup final. All of us at the club would like to wish John the very best in his future endeavours.

“This decision has been taken after a detailed discussion with John, and all parties involved believe this will be the right step for everyone associated with the club.” the statement further said.

Gregory arrived at CFC at the start of the 2017-18 ISL season and tasted immediate success, guiding the club to its second title. The following season, though, was far more disappointing for the Englishman as CFC finished at the bottom of the league. However, Gregory bounced back with a stellar Super Cup 2019 campaign which the team reach the final.

Under the 65-year-old, CFC made an underwhelming start to its 2019-20 ISL campaign and is currently eighth with just five points from six matches.

After claiming just one point from its opening four outings this season, Gregory, following a disappointing 3-0 loss to Bengaluru FC, had indicated that he was quitting. 

“...The whole club’s hurting at the moment. And none more so than myself. I’ve carried this club on my shoulders and it’s not easy. I’ve never worked so hard in my life than I have done in the last two and a half years. It’s a heavy load and it might be time for somebody else to take over,” Gregory had said after the loss to BFC.

In fact, at the pre-match against Hyderabad FC on November 25, when asked whether he can give us any assurance that he’ll stay with the team, Gregory said philosophically: “Football never [ceases] to surprise you. Who knows…”

Gregory’s final match turned out to be the one at home against Odisha FC which ended in a 2-2 draw on Nov. 28.

The Hindu has learnt that Gregory has left for London on Saturday, and the fact that the news was put up by the club online at around 5 a.m. showed the level of secrecy involved.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 11:06:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/isl-chennaiyin-and-head-coach-gregory-go-separate-ways/article30122227.ece

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