Paul Groves knows the game in England as well as anyone. As a player he turned out more than 700 times for clubs ranging from Burton Albion to Blackpool, and from Scunthorpe United to Stafford Rangers. Now, though, he has a new footballing landscape to survey after being appointed as the new coach with the reigning Indian Super League (ISL) champions Chennaiyin FC.
Groves, who is revered at Grimsby Town after playing 454 times for the club over two spells (one of which saw him take on the role of player-manager), got the nod for the job from former Aston Villa boss John Gregory.
Gregory oversaw a title winning campaign last time of asking and he has boosted his coaching options with the appointment of Groves. He already has the very capable sports scientist Dr Niall Clark in his ranks as well as former India international Syed Sabir as an assistant coach. And he says he is delighted to have been able to recruit a classy coach such as his newest addition to the ISL.
Head coach Gregory, who took charge of Villa for four years between 1998 and 2002, said:
“Paul had an excellent playing career and has gone on to be a top-class coach. He is a respected figure in the English game and I am sure we will benefit greatly from his technical and tactical knowledge.”
For his part, Groves says he is excited at the prospect of delivering new and effective coaching methods to his new club. Groves, who last worked as the first-team coach at Birmingham City during their campaign season, replaces the outgoing Mark Lillis.
“I’m looking forward to working with John and Niall again and excited about working in India for the first time. Chennaiyin FC has a great mix of foreign and Indian players and the squad is shaping up well for the coming season. I’m looking forward to helping the club defend the ISL title and progress as far as possible in the debut AFC Cup campaign.”
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland assistant coach Austin MacPhee is being linked with a switch to ISL outfit FC Pune City. The Hearts assistant coach is said to be on the shortlist for the job, along with ex-Rangers chief Paul Le Guen. MacPhee, who is aged 38, is currently working as Craig Levein’s assistant at Tynecastle and is also very much part of Michael O’Neill’s Northern Ireland backroom staff.
Pune City recently signed winger Gabriel Fernandes and defensive midfielder Shankar Sampingiraj to boost their squad for the upcoming 2018-19 season. Gabriel who last played for East Bengal in the I-League enters the ISL with City after a gap of more than two years. Sampingiraj joins the outfit following some impressive displays for Bengaluru FC leading up to a well-earned international call for the Indian under-23 team.