Scot Robertson shaping the Real Kashmir story

Scot Robertson shaping the Real Kashmir story

David Robertson has moulded a cohesive unit in Real Kashmir, who are eyeing a spot in the I-League first division.

Real Kashmir Football Club have taken the I League Second Division by storm this season. Unbeaten in the eleven matches they’ve played so far, the Kashmiri side have braved odds through sheer grit and determination.

Much of this change is down to the never-give-up spirit instilled by their Scottish coach David Robertson, a former Aberdeen, Rangers and Leeds United defender, roped in by the club in 2017. Robertson was tasked with building Real Kashmir, a club established in 2016 in Srinagar, from scratch. The Scot had other offers but the challenge to try something new lured him to Kashmir.

“I’ve had a couple of opportunities. I could have gone to China or Uganda just before I came here. This was like a fresh start,” Robertson said. “The clubs that I was offered to coach before were established. This is brand new. It’s been fantastic and I have had so much support from the owners. Last year we played six games in I-League (second division), we just missed out on goal difference. This year we knew exactly what we needed. I just want to see how far we can go.”

Aside from being stunningly beautiful, Kashmir has been racked by terrorism. But Robertson, who made the place his second home, is not bothered by it. “To be honest I didn’t really do too much homework. I was just thinking about the club. I had never been to India before. I thought everything in India was hot. The second I arrived in India in January, it was snowing and I thought I was still in Scotland. I love the place, the mountains, it’s beautiful,” he said.  

“You hear about conflict and sometimes there are curfews but I can walk the streets with no problem at all. We go to city centre, residency roads. People are always nice to me. I think a lot of it is hyped up by the media. Hopefully, this will give the whole of Kashmir a lift and others something else to write about.”

Robertson fondly recalled his time with Rangers. He was a key part of the team that qualified for the Champions League in 1992-93. Rangers also completed the club’s fifth domestic treble then.

“That season I played 54 games. It was a long season. We won the domestic title. We won the league, the league cup, and Scottish Cup. We beat Leeds United 2-1 on home and away to qualify but just fell short (later). It was a fantastic season. It was a great achievement. That Rangers team was great but probably not the best. Many times we were two-nil down but we’d come back. We knew that we can win. To be honest, I was fortunate to be part of that fantastic team. You can have great players but if you don’t have a team it will be very difficult,” he said.