2020–21 Hero Indian Super League (ISL) season will be the 7th edition of the top professional football league in India. The season will start from 20th November 2020 and is expected to end by March 2021 without any COVID interruption. This year’s season will be hosted behind-closed-doors across three venues in Goa due to the ongoing pandemic in India.
The Venues: GMC Stadium Bambolim, Tilak Maidan Stadium, and Fatorda Stadium
Defending Champion: Atlético de Kolkata FC (Will be competing under the new name ATK Mohun Bagan this season
Runners Up: Chennaiyin FC
League Shield Winners: Goa FC
Last Season standing of North East United FC: 9th
North East United FC (NEUFC)
The biggest festival of Indian Football is coming back. The carnival of football will be celebrating its 7th year. The Coronavirus pandemic might have tamed the preparations and arrangements a bit but the fans can’t wait for ISL to be back. Even though it will be played behind closed doors, but the fans are ready. Social media is heating up. The banter game is firing up. Controversies surrounding the new merger of SC East Bengal and ATK Mohun Bagan is red hot. On the North-Eastern part of India, the Army of Highlanders is up and ready with their flags colored in Red, White, and Black. One of the most passionate and exciting fan base of North East United Fc, The Highlanders Army along with the whole of North East will be looking forward to their new season.
Even though North East United FC doesn’t have a great track record of ISL league matches, but the underdogs have produced some iconic matches throughout the history of ISL. This year with their new coach Gerard Nas and some exciting transfer, they will be looking to go all the way up to get their hands on the throne for the first time in their history.
Gerard Nus is a 35 years old Spanish Coach. After the disappointing season of 2019-20 with the former coaches of NEUFC, Robert Jarni (sacked mid-season) and Khalid Jamil, they finished in 9th position. The management brought in Gerard Nus with high hopes. Former Liverpool youth team Manager (2010) and Spanish Top side Rayo Vallecano’s Sporting Director (2017); Gerard Nus have an extensive managerial and coaching history. He also worked with Ghana National Football Team (2014,2017), Melbourn Heart (2013-14) and many others.
During an interview with NEUFC Instagram page he said that during his time with Rafa Benitez he learned a lot about attacking football. He now wishes to deploy a new attacking dynamism to the team. His objective will be to fight for every fixture and hopefully get their hands of the trophy this year.
Major Transfer News
The most exciting signing of this season will be definitely be Australian Defender Dylan Fox from Central Coast (Australian A League) who has experience of playing more than 50 A-League matches. The club will be looking at a solid defensive backline with another new defensive signing the Belgian Footballer Benjamin Laboot.
A proven Guinean International Idrissa Sylla will be joining the forward ranks. The addition of last years I-League winner and defender Gurjinder Kumar will be expected to join new signings Dylan and free kick specialist dright back Ashutosh Mehta in the back line. Both of them are very physical and tactically sound player. It will be an exciting watch.
After graduating from the North East United FC Academy and playing for Fateh Hyderabad FC and Stadium FC, Nikhil Deka will be returning home to join the regular keeper Subhasish Roy Choudhury and Gurmeet Singh.
4 young Indian prospect will be joining NEUFC this season to strengthen the team - Britto PM (MF), Imran Khan(MF), Sanjiban ghosh (GK) and Nabin Rabha (DF). Sanjiban Ghosh is expected to give tough competition to regular Subhasish.
The 30 year old Ghanaian International Kwesi Appiah is joing the club on a one year deal. He will join Suhair V.P from Mohun Bagan who also joined this year, in the forward line.
On 21st Sep, Uruguayan Professional Federico Gallego signed a contract extension, which will keep him in NEUFC for another year. He is the top assist provider for NEUFC.
The Coach Gerard Nus is trying out new formation and techniques at Goa. The Highlanders are ready.
With the Great Kolkata Derby coming to ISL, this year derby watch will be exciting. NorthEast United play the Eastern Derby or East Indian Derby against neighbouring club ATK who will now play as ATK Mohun Bagan. NorthEast United have won three matches, drawn two matches and lost five matches till date against ATK. The two clubs represents two football crazy regions of India and also have a huge fan and supporter base.
Home stadium and Fans
Generally NorthEast United FC play at their home matches at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati, which have a capacity of 35,000. Bollywood actor John Abraham is the major share holder and owner of the club.
According to Wikipedia, the unofficial supporters group of the club is the Highlander Brigade. The fan club can be traced back to its roots where it was merely a WhatsApp group formed out of a handful of followers of a Facebook page "NorthEast United FC Fans".