After a successful stint in Indian football as the head coach of East Bengal from 2010-13, Trevor James Morgan had returned to club football in India after a gap of one year. He was training players who had signed with IMG-Reliance in 2013, ahead of the ISL, during that time.
He joined Kerala Blasters FC as their assistant coach in the inaugural Indian Super League (ISL) season back in 2014.
Morgan worked alongside David James at the South Indian club and almost led them to the title. Unfortunately, Blasters lost to ATK in the final. Morgan stayed back at Kerala Blasters for one more season and had even worked as the club’s interim manager for a brief period of time during the second season.
Speaking about his experience in Kerala, Morgan told Goal, “It was great working in Kerala. The players who came at that time, the marquee players and the marquee managers, I think that raised the overall standard of the Indian game. I got to work with some really good foreign players.”
Kerala Blasters have reached the finals on a couple of occasions in the last six seasons however, they have suffered a heartbreak each time. Morgan was asked to share his thoughts as to why the club, which enjoys a fervent support in the Indian Super League (ISL), hasn’t found success on the field yet.
“The simple answer is that they fail to get more points than the other teams, that’s it. I think Kerala is mad about football. I have been fortunate to work in Kolkata which is mad about football and then Kerala which another huge football place. The support we got in the first couple of years was absolutely fantastic.
“But it’s again about the players you bring in, the change of manager. It is a difficult thing in ISL as it has a very small season and after maybe four or five games, when the team does not do well the first thing they do is remove the coach. The coach had brought in 90 per cent of the players and when a new coach comes in he has to play the rest of the season with those players who he did not select. So it is very difficult.
He also stated that unlike in Europe where a coach is more likely to get 30-40 games in order to shape the team according to how he wants it, in ISL, all you get is 4-5 games where the margin for error is very less. However, it seems that Kerala will finally have some stability as Vicuna is believed to have signed a two-year contract with the club which should give him the required time to implement his philosophy.
“I’ll once again say it is about stability. When you employ coaches, give them time. You can’t change things instantly. In Europe you get 38 or 40 games, if you have a bad spell, you can rectify it. But here you don’t get that time.
“I don’t think it is a problem with the ISL. That is the way the league is. It is really down to the people who own the club. They have to have faith in the person they are employing. Maybe longer-term contract will help the clubs. Give the coach two or three years so that they can build something.”