Chennaiyin FC is an Indian Super League football franchise based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu which began to play in October 2014 during the inaugural season of the Indian Super League.
The franchise is owned by Vita Dani, Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan and Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Its player-manager is Italian World Cup-winning defender Marco Materazzi, and its marquee player is former Brazilian international midfielder Elano Blumer. The team’s name Chennaiyin FC means Chennai’s football club in Tamil where the ‘yin’ suffix is similar to Apostrophe s in English. The team’s logo is the Dhrishti Bommai is a representation of chasing negativity and preserving positivity in the Tamil culture.
When the Indian Super League was founded in 2014, the city of Chennai was one of the nine proposed cities up for franchise bidding. However, on 11 April 2014 it was reported that Chennai’s main bidder, a consortium led by Sunil Gavaskar would drop out due to commitments with the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Then, in August 2014, with two months before the 2014 ISL season, the Bangalore owners Sun Group dropped out due to disputes with the organizers. Initially reports came out that the ISL organizers were looking for bidders for new owners for the Bangalore franchise before it was revealed that Ronnie Screwvala and actorAbhishek Bachchan would together bid for a Chennai team instead of a Bangalore franchise. Then, on 14 August 2014, it was reported that ISL officials were inspecting the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai for the proposed team.
On 21 August 2014, for the ISL international player draft Prashant Agarwal CEO of Kshatriya Sports and Playon Skills, who is an Indian origin football expert based in London, UK and has a technical tie-up with Italian clubInter Milan represented the Team Chennai. Prashant Agarwal and his team picked Bernard Mendy, Cristian Hidalgo, Gennaro Bracigliano, Bojan Djordjic, Eduardo Silva Lerma, Bruno Pelissari and Jairo Suárez as their 7 international players, for INR 2.34 Crore for all 7 players at an average value of INR 33.43 Lakhs per player. On 12 September 2014, Italian World Cup winner Marco Materazzi was hired as player-manager.The club officially launched their jersey in the presence of co-owners Abhishek Bachchan and Vita Dani at a press conference on 9 October 2014. They also announced that the Ozone Group, a real estate developer would be their principal sponsor for the tournament.
On 15 October 2014, Chennaiyin won their first Indian Super League fixture with a 2–1 victory at FC Goa. The goals were scored by Balwant Singh, who became the first Indian player to score in the competition, and the former Brazil international Elano, who was the first marquee player to score. On 28 November 2014, the club brought Alessandro Nesta, who won the World Cup for Italy alongside Materazzi, out of retirement. The team finished its 14-game regular season in first place in the league.
In the semi finals, the team lost the first leg 3-0 to Kerala Blasters. In the second leg on 16 December 2014 they managed to overturn the deficit by leading 3-0 in regular time. However in extra time a 117th-minute goal by Stephen Pearson sent Kerala through to the finals.
For the second season of Indian Super League, they managed to retain six players namely, Balwant Singh, Jayesh Rane, Dhanachandra Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Harmanjot Khabra and Abhishek Das. They also signed Godwin Franco and Mehrajuddin Wadoo.Nike signed as the official kit sponsors for 2015 season.