ISL: Iain Hume explains Kerala Blasters exit & I-League offers

The forward has expressed his undying love for Kerala as he looks forward to a new beginning in the ISL

Iain Hume, referred dearly as 'Humettan' (brother Hume), has obviously left his footprints - that of a legend - in the hearts of the Kerala Blasters faithful.

After a memorable first season with the southern outfit, the former Canada international was back with the Blasters in the 2017-18 season of the Indian Super League (ISL). However, a knee injury forced him to sit out most of the season, though he still ended as the team's top scorer with five goals from 13 games.

Despite spending two seasons at ATK, Hume remains the all-time top scorer of Kerala Blasters with 10 goals to his name from his two stints at the club. He is also the top goalscorer in the ISL with 28 goals from 59 matches.

Leaving Kerala Blasters was a big call for the 34-year-old to make but one that had to be made, as he explained the same in an exclusive chat with Goal.

"After my injury, we sat down and had in-depth conversations with the coach David James and CEO Varun Tipuraneni, medical team and things were said in that meeting which were very positive. Promises were made and then they weren't.

"I went home, did the first two months of my rehab (rehabilitation) there, kept in touch with the fitness coaches and the medical team. And then from nowhere, I was sort of chasing a never-ending tree - I could never get to the top and I couldn't get anybody on the phone. They decided that they wanted to go down a different route.

GFX Iain Hume on Kerala Blasters exit

"It's disappointing but I understand that it's football. Maybe more (disappointing) for me that's happened twice with Kerala, I love the place and this doesn't dampen my feeling for the place and the people there. It's my own fault for obviously believing people," Hume quipped.

Moving on, he has joined FC Pune City for the upcoming ISL season, though the striker is likely to miss the first part of the campaign.

"I'm not going to go and cry about it. I was upset because I got injured and I was not told about their decision of going down a different route, which is fine. The only real outcome I could come to is (it happened) because of my injury which is hard to take because obviously I got injured while playing for them. But hey, I'm at FC Pune City now," the former Kerala Blasters player added.

It was, in fact, a match waiting to happen for Iain Hume who went on to reveal that he was very close to joining the Maharashtrian outfit last season.

"They (Pune City) have been interested for three years. We have had endless conversations for three years. After Antonio Habas came over to Pune (from ATK in 2016-17), he wanted to bring me with him from Kolkata. I was very, very close to coming (joining Pune City) last season. And then Kerala came. Mentally, it's one of those things I feel terrible about. I spoke to the Pune City management and I had told that it is just right to go back to Kerala at that time. 

Iain Hume FC Pune City ISL 2018-19

"We shook hands and I went back to Kerala. Things happened the way they did. FC Pune City had a great season, just missed out on the title. Sitting and watching it (Pune City losing to eventual runners-up Bengaluru FC in the semi-finals), you could see that it could have gone anyway. So now that's where we have come to. I am here," he reiterated.

Hume has played in England and Spain in between the first three seasons of the ISL. Nonetheless, we could have seen him play in India more often had he accepted offers from I-League giants East Bengal.

"After the first year away, I just wanted to go home for Christmas. East Bengal has contacted me a couple of times. They have contacted me again this summer, but I'm spending so much time away from home. I had the option after the first year at Kerala when I went back to England (Tranmere Rovers) to play for five months. The next few years I went to Spain (Ponferradina and Extremadura). So they are options and adventures that I wish had happened 10 years ago," he explained.

He further admitted, "(I) never really contemplated going to the I-League, but in the ISL I've made a home for myself and I've made a good name for myself and I'm pushing as hard as I possibly can to continue that."