The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel of the Indian Super League
Premier League stars have been finishing their careers abroad much more frequently of late. Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, and Bastian Schweinsteiger all did tours of duty in the United States. Now Championship veterans are following suit. Indian Super League club ATK, formerly Atletico de Kolkata, has been mining the English second tier for players to entertain the 85,000 strong at the Salt Lake Stadium.
Why Football rather than Premier League stars? Obviously the going rate is slightly less but the real connection is Teddy Sheringham. The former Manchester United and Tottenham star took over ATK's managerial reins after departing Stevenage. His key signing was Robbie Keane. The Irishman had grown tired of MLS and sought a new challenge. But Sheringham has also brought some familiar players from English competitions to play for him.
We did say familiar names. Jaaskelainen played 15 seasons for Bolton Wanderers before short spells at West Ham and Wigan. He joined the Trotters in 1997 from Finnish side Vaasan Palloseura and did not leave until 2012. Now 42, he does double duty as the goalkeeper coach. Jaaskelainen made the move to India when Wigan released him following their relegation from the Championship last summer.
The 24 year-old was born in Manchester. He was a product of the United academy. After a loan spell at Birmingham City in 2014 he signed a permanent deal with Rotherham United. Thorpe found it tough to get into the Rotherham team so accepted a loan to Bradford City. He spent last season on loan at Bolton, helping the Wanderers to the League One title. He left Rotherham's employ when his contract expired in the summer. While looking for a new club, Teddy Sheringham told him he knew a club at which he could get an excellent curry.
The 33-year-old was persuaded to sign for ATK in December by former Tranmere Rovers teammate Iain Hume, himself on the Super League side's roster in 2015/16. Taylor spent last season playing for Port Vale. He's also been with Wigan, Newcastle, and Hull.
The 24 year-old began his career with Coventry City. He made over 100 appearances for the Sky Blues before joining Swindon Town in 2016. He left the Robins after just one season. ATK snapped him up in July.
The Wales international is the ATK's latest acquisition, joining on a free after mutually parting ways with Birmingham City in December. Cotteril was linked with various Championship clubs, including Sunderland and QPR, but found India a more appealing destination. The former Swansea City, Sheffield United and Doncaster Rovers winger is a decent coup for the club. He also provides new Wales manager Ryan Giggs with the opportunity to pad his frequent flyer miles during scouting trips.
The 35 year-old midfielder joined ATK in July but has unfortunately been ruled out for the rest of the season through injury. The former Southport, Morecambe, Stockport County, Coventry City, MK Dons and Portsmouth journeyman was released by Pompey at the end of last season. After being ruled out for the year, he was replaced by former Hull defender Ryan Taylor.