At the start of February, Indian Super League club Odisha FC announced the hiring of former Arsenal goalkeeper coach Gerry Peyton as their Interim Head Coach until the end of the season but he was replaced after five games with only one remaining to play.
Odisha FC announced at the start of February 2021 that Gerry Peyton, former Arsenal goalkeeper coach and Assistant Coach at the Indian Super League club until recently, would take over as Interim Head Coach until the end of the current season.
Now, however, he seems to be back as their assistant manager with Steven Dias listed as the interim head coach, appointed two weeks after that initial announcement.
Peyton’s replacement said that personal reasons were behind the change, however it came after Odisha lost to Mumbai City, making it four defeats and one draw for Peyton in charge.
“I’m very excited as well as a little nervous,” Dias said when he was appointed. “I discussed with the team about Gerry leaving because of his personal reasons. All the players, foreigners as well as Indian players, are supporting me. So it’s a good sign and we are ready for the next match.”
Peyton worked at Arsenal from 2003 to 2018, though he was never particularly popular with the fans. When you look at some of the club’s goalkeepers during that time and the way they progressed (or didn’t), that’s not exactly surprising.
“I have agreed to become the Odisha FC Interim Head Coach for the rest of the games, we have six games left,” Peyton said at the time he was promoted, albeit temporarily. “I am going to go with a lot of hard work that’s been done already by myself and Stuart (Baxter).
“I am going to carry on and try and win as many games as possible with the young players, with the team that we have, and the way we have been playing. My job is to make sure that we show fight, resolve, and pride every time we step onto that pitch.
“Hopefully, we can give the fans a lot of good things to be proud of as we have been grateful for their support so far.”
The club sacked former Head Coach Stuart Baxter after he made offensive comments in a post match interview. Baxter said “one of my players would have to rape someone or get raped himself if he was going to get a penalty”.
Odisha issued a swift condemnation of the comments and announced his termination with immediate effect the next day.
The 11-team league finished at the end of February but does not have promotion or relegation.
Odisha are finished bottom of the table, five points below Kerala Blaster with 12 points from 20 games.
Mumbai City topped the table on goal difference from ATK Mohun Bagan, with both on 40 points. Mumbai, who are managed by former Barcelona assistant manager Sergio Lobera, had a +4 advantage over their rivals.
About Odisha FC
Initially called Delhi Dynamos FC, Odisha FC was only founded in July 2014, changing their name at the end of August, 2019.
They play in the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, the 8th largest state in the country.
Odisha FC, in both its iterations, had a total of six coaches before Peyton took temporary charge, including Roberto Carlos, the legendary Brazilian left-back who managed the Delhi Dynamos in the 2015 season when they reached the semi-finals of the Indian Super League for the first time.
Carlos was reportedly unhappy with the management at the club with money, as it tends to be, the core issue.