ISL 2018: Kerala Blasters parts ways with David James

David James has been sacked after Kerala Blasters lost 6-1 to Mumbai City FC at the weekend.

David James was unable to turn around Kerala Blasters' fortunes.   -  ISL/SPORTZPICS

Almost a year after Dutchman Rene Meulensteen was sacked as the head coach of Kerala Blasters FC, the Kochi-based Indian Super League club announced on Tuesday that its current coach David James was leaving.

“Kerala Blasters and David James have decided to end their association on a mutual consent,” said a statement from the Blasters.

“The club would like to thank David for his efforts towards the team and wishes him the very best in his career,” said Varun Tripuraneni, the Blasters’ CEO, through the release.

“I would like to thank the management, players and all the staff at Blasters for their support and friendship. I wish them all the best for the future,” James, the former England World Cup goalkeeper, has been quoted as saying in the release.

“I am grateful to the supporters who stood by me… thank you too, for making it a memorable experience.”

Going by the Blasters’ previous record, James’ departure did not exactly come as a surprise. Englishman Peter Taylor, in the second edition, and Meulensteen, last year, had quit in similar circumstances after a string of disappointing results.

And with the fans too losing their patience and boycotting matches – Kochi’s Nehru Stadium was three-fourths empty for the last two Blasters’ home matches with just about 8000 spectators turning up – after a series of poor results, it was clear that James would be asked to go especially after the team’s 6-1 loss to Mumbai City FC a couple of days ago.

The Kochi club has won just one of its 12 matches this season, had drawn six and lost five, and is now in the eighth spot in the 10-team league.

James, the Blasters’ marquee player and head coach in the ISL’s inaugural season, had guided the team to the runner-up spot that year, its best-ever finish in the league. He was back as head coach in Kochi after Meulensteen’s departure early this year.

The ISL has now taken a break for Christmas and will resume early next year.
It was not clear whether the Blasters would hand over the reins to assistant coach Thangboi Singto or bring in a new coach.

“With the break now, we will take the next few days to plan our next course of action,” Varun Tripuraneni told Sportstar.