Desmond Bulpin, the newly appointed Coach of Shillong Lajong Football Club, who took charge of the North-East Super Series as his first assignment and came up trumps, could not have asked for a better start with the Premier football Club from the North-East. A 3-0 demolition of United Sikkim Football Club preceded the edge-of-the-seat 3-2 thriller against top A-League Wellington Phoenix in the final of the Super Series.
From a spectators’ point of view, the team had a new look and a renewed sense of vigour in the field. The body language was bold, and what was a stand out characteristic was the never-say-die spirit of the team, with a will of never giving up.
Shortly after the stupendous win, Desmond spoke about the team, the “under-dog” like Win over the A-League side, and the Shillong Fans in particular. The following are excerpts from the interview.
1) Life in the North East.
Ans: The hospitality I have received has been very touching and generous and I am simply over-whelmed at the reception that I have got from the people and the fans in particular. I will remember this for the rest of my life.
2) The final against a much stronger opposing side like Wellington Phoenix.
Ans-I am very happy and extremely proud of my boys after winning the NE Super Series. It was a magnificent result and the boys were never awestruck nor bowed down against A-League side, Wellington Phoenix. It was also not an easy game to win and what was outstanding was the fighting spirit of the whole team.The juniors were also brought into the fray and they too did extremely well. I am just so much proud of every one of them.
3) Your thoughts on The Fans.
Ans: I was born in Scotland, and football there, very much like Shillong and the rest of the North-East, has a huge fan following. So I think apart from the scenic beauty, it is because of Football why Shillong is called “The Scotland Of The East”. I also feel that the existence of Tribes in Scotland and Shillong are also quite similar, when you compare their characteristics and behaviour trends.
Scotland is famous for its warrior spirit and so is the North East. I hope the fans will turn out for our first I-League home game as we need their support.I feel that the voice of the crowd will help the boys to be successful. I was very pleased when the fans were behind us in the final match against Wellington Phoenix FC,and I think that it was one of the contributing factors of the great win. They all showed their love and passion for the game not only on the field but also supported us greatly with their wishes and comments in Shillong Lajong FC’s Facebook fan page.
4) Expectations for the Up-coming Season.
Ans: All the boys are working very hard during their training sessions and have improved remarkably .They have quickly adapted to the style of possession and pressuring football,which is very important when the opposing team has the ball. Dempo, Prayag, Churchill Brothers etc, have a big budget and they buy expensive players just like Wellington Phoenix, whereas we are working with a tightrope budget and hopefully have done and signed all the right players, who we feel will suit the Club best.
The way forward for us is to press the ball and I must repeat the Fighting spirit from the terrace to the touchline to the player.If we can produce high tempo football and total commitment to the club, and if we can make JN Stadium our fortress, then I feel beating Us in our Home ground will surely not be a walk-in-the park for our opponents.
I hope the supporters are committed towards supporting us through good and bad times, and I am confident that we can surprise the I-League with some good results and I am really looking forward to a good season together. Together and united, nothing is impossible.