THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Mumbai City FC sign Peter Reid as Team Manager, Steve Darby as Assistant Manager

Mumbai City FC coach Peter Reid. (Photo courtesy: Mumbai City FC)

Peter Reid

Mumbai City FC announced that eminent English football manager, television pundit and former England defensive midfielder Peter Reid will be the team’s Manager while experienced football coach and former player Steve Darby will be Assistant Coach of the team in its inaugural Hero Indian Super League (ISL) campaign.

During his highly successful career as a Manager, Peter Reid has been at the helm of affairs at top football teams that include England Under-21, Manchester City FC, AFC Sunderland, Leeds United AFC, Coventry City FC, Thailand and Plymouth Argyle.

Speaking about his appointment as Manager of Mumbai City FC, Peter Reid said, “It’s a great opportunity to coach in the Indian Super League. I enjoyed working overseas with Thailand and am very much looking forward to this new challenge! We have a very competitive side, Friedrich is a great signing, you don’t win Germany caps by luck or play over 300 Bundesliga games!”

Well-known English football coach Steve Darby is recognized throughout Asia as a pundit for ESPN-Star Sports and was head coach of football club Kelantan in the Malaysia Super League most recently. He has also coached in India, Bahrain, Australia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam in the past. In 2011, he was appointed Manager of Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan AC and holds the distinction of being one among a small number of foreign coaches to understand Indian football and players well.

Commenting on his appointment as Assistant Manager, Steve Darby said, “It’s always good to be part of something new. A great combination of youth and experience is what every team aims for! To us, Friedrich and Čmovš provide experience at the highest level, and in Subrata Paul, Syed Rahim Nabi and Deepak Mondal you have nearly 250 Indian caps!”

Nishant Mehra, Technical Director, Mumbai City FC said, “Together, Reid and Darby will bring decades of top-notch football experience to Mumbai City FC, enriching us with their knowledge, understanding and headship as we look at being a formidable force in the forthcoming ISL. Highly experienced and proven leaders who understand Indian football, the duo will ensure our foreign and Indian players come together perfectly to perform as a cohesive squad.”

The Englishmen, who share mutual respect and high regard for each other, have worked together during the past while coaching Thailand’s national football team.

As a top defensive midfielder, Reid was regarded one of England’s most talented midfielders when he signed for Bolton Wanderers followed by Everton in 1982. At Everton, Reid played the most successful spell of his career, helping the squad win the English Football League twice apart from other domestic and European honours.

In 1985, Reid was voted PFA Players’ Player of the Year. He came fourth in the World Soccer Player of the Year award behind icons Michel Platini, Preben Elkjær and Diego Maradona. He also received his first senior England call-up that year and represented his country at the 1986 FIFA World Cup and 1988 UEFA European Championship. He won 13 caps in total.

Reid joined Queens Park Rangers in 1989, but moved on to Manchester City a year later to begin his managerial career. Under his leadership, Sunderland won the Football League’s First Division twice while the Thai national team won the T&T Cup. In 1996, he was awarded LMA Manager of the Year in England. The winner can come from any of the four professional leagues. To date only three have come from outside the Premier League, Reid being one of them.

Talking about the ISL, Reid said, “I’ve watched a few Indian national team games and was very impressed with some of the players. I am convinced the ISL will eventually help the national team rise up the FIFA rankings.”

After obtaining his UEFA A License in 1979, Steve Darby became an official FIFA Instructor for the Oceania region in 1981 and AFC Instructor 1998. Followed by this, he was National Development Manager for the Australian Soccer Federation from 1990 to 1995. Darby has spent the last 16 years coaching football clubs in India, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand.

Darby hopes the ISL will help raise the quality of football in the country in the coming years. “I have seen the effect the IPL has had on cricket and hopefully this will happen with football in India. India has great players I hope this leads to further opportunities for them,” Darby added.

Talking about the Mumbai City FC Squad, Darby said, “I have worked with Nabi before at Mohun Bagan, and believe he is one of the best all round footballers I have ever worked with. I have no doubt he could play English Championship level football. Subrata is a top keeper and he was outstanding in the AFC Asian Cup. Bobby Houghton thought he was one of the best keepers he had worked with. I commentated on the India games at the 2011 Asian Cup and I kept saying… Great save by Subrata!”