Like two spirits coming together: Barreto on Bagan-ATK merger

Kolkata: Players in action during an Indian Super League (ISL) match between Chennaiyin FC and ATK at Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata, on Feb 16, 2020. (Photo: IANS)

Kolkata, July 11 (IANS) Legendary former Mohun Bagan striker and former ATK assistant coach Jose Barreto said that the merger of the two clubs is a great combination. Kolkata giants Bagan’s merger with the three-time Indian Super League (ISL) champions means that they will now play in the league as Mohun Bagan-ATK.

The iconic green and maroon colours of Bagan have been retained, as is their badge with the exception that ‘ATK’ has been added to the name. Barreto said that the extra letters shouldn’t make much of a difference.

“Feeling relieved about the logo and the colours of the shirt are there. I don’t think so the name ATK will affect it in any way. The logo and the colours are something that we fans are emotional about. We are happy with the decision of the management, the board of directors at ATK Mohun Bagan,” he is quoted as saying in a press release by the ISL.

“I don’t think supporters could think of going to the stadium and see Mohun Bagan with different colours. You can’t imagine a Mohun Bagan fan putting the green and maroon shirt away and calling any other colour the club shirt. It would be difficult for them.

“See, Mohun Bagan has come with a huge history. All these years, they have conquered a lot. And ATK, during their time as well, has been a club that has been successful. ATK has always fought and remained within the championship race.

“I think it’s a great combination. It is like two spirits coming together is what I feel. It’s going to be great having ATK and Mohun Bagan together. It’s going to make a huge difference. ATK now comes in with the whole crowd of Mohun Bagan behind them. And for Mohun Bagan, they have the spirit of ATK with them, a great combination.”

ATK players who have been retained for the season will now play for the Mohun Bagan supporters as well. Barreto however expects them to thrive under the added pressure.

“Players like it. It is something that we don’t mind. We love to be adored. We like people to appreciate what we are doing,” he said.

“Players who are going to come into ATK Mohun Bagan this coming season will see something different. Yes, there will be people in the stands but there are going to be people who will worship you and you are going to be treated as a star.

“The adulation among supporters in Kolkata, you can’t find it anywhere. Changing people’s lives is a reward for players. I think it is something we love. The coach, Habas and the technical staff, all are going to feel something different and I am sure the supporters will really make it special.”

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