'Spurned offers to stay with EB'

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 23.03.10

Calcutta: A day before the core committee of East Bengal meets to discuss the future of under-fire coach Phillippe de Ridder, the Belgian on Monday said that he could have renewed the contract “three or four weeks back” but wanted certain clauses to be incorporated and hence the delay.

According to sources, the officials and the Belgian are holding regular discussions on how to go about it. In fact, they had a meeting on Monday night itself. De Ridder, although he refused to confirm that, gave enough hints to suggest he would not be leaving the club if everything went right.

The Belgian, in fact, spurned an offer from a Chinese club to stay with the red and gold brigade beyond the 2009-2010 season. “I said no because I want to stay with East Bengal and make them the best in India. We can do it. We just have to make certain intelligent signings,” he said.

Under the scanner after the club’s 10-match winless streak — the latest loss came against Air India on Sunday — De Ridder is now asking for calm in the club. “It’s time to rally around each other. The boys are tired after playing day in and day out and hence our performance is getting hampered. We have to understand that.

“Look, this team does not have good bench strength. Thus most of the players are featuring in almost every match. And when they get injured, the replacements are just not there.” De Ridder has a point since this is a squad he actually inherited from Subhas Bhowmick, who was given the boot after East Bengal lost 3-5 to Mohun Bagan in an I-League match on October 25.

“I think I have something with East Bengal. Every time there is a problem in the club, it is invariably I who will be at the helm. Last time (2005-06), the club were down and after I took over we won the Super Cup and were runners-up in the National League. This time, we won the Federation Cup when nobody gave us any chance,” he said. East Bengal, meanwhile, will host Al Qadsia of Kuwait in an AFC Cup match on Wednesday.