Kolkata is a die-hard soccer crazy city. If you are unaware of it, you might just check out the state of the city whenever any football match is scheduled to happen. And not any match – it has to be a match between arch rivals East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. This is surely going to drive the nerve out of the city at any given point in time. Speculations begin much before the day of the match and you will notice people in their favourite team jerseys running around and shouting slogans. It’s always like a festival here. Here is a list of five things you need to know about the craziness in the city revolving these two teams:
5. East Bengal Football Club: Owned by Vijay Mallya
East Bengal club was founded in the year 1920 after a rift before a match in that year. It is one of the most successful football clubs in India and had won many a titles in India and abroad as well. They have the colours of red and gold in their jersey and are owned by the Kingfisher Group chaired Vijay Mallya. A long-standing rivalry exists between east Bengal and Mohun Bagan because of which their matches are always termed the Kolkata Derby. The official home ground of the soccer club is Saltlake Stadium.
4. Mohun Bagan Athletic Club: One of the Oldest football clubs in Asia
This is one of the oldest football clubs in Asia, which was founded in the year 1889. It is also one of the successful teams in India after east Bengal. Although, they have an achievement which none in India have – that of winning the 1911 IFA Shield by defeating the East Yorkshire Regiment (a European team) 2-1, and that too on bare feet. They too have huge fan clubs in Kolkata like East Bengal and one of the highest in the country.
3. They Form the Biggest Fan Base Of Any Soccer Club In India
The supporters of these two teams are too passionate to even allow any criticism get into their ears. It’s not that only the players play the game in the field. The fans too have their share of the game. Dressed in team jerseys they travel to the stadium whenever there is a Derby match. Sometimes, matadors carry them to their destination too! Mohun Bagan has fan clubs known as ‘Sabuj Maroon Swapno’ and Mohun Bagan Club. There are thousands of members in these fan clubs. East Bengal too has numerous fan clubs. Together they form the biggest fan base of any football club in India. Also Read: Top 10 Soccer Clubs a Noob Should Know
2. The Kolkata Derby Match: The one to Look Out for Always
All football crazy Kolkatans eagerly wait for the Derby match to occur. It’s like a festivity here. People in Kolkata are already huge fans of soccer in general and when it’s their favourite teams performing then its supposed to be huge. The rivalry is an eighty-six year old one and FIFA lists it as one the classic derbies. The Saltlake Stadium holds a capacity of 1, 20,000 people and you will never see one seat empty. Tickets fly off as soon as the counter opens. The supporters become too passionate about their teams and get aggressive. The police then look after them. Its as noisy as you would expect in a World Cup match.
1. These two Rivals Can Never Be Friends: At least the Fans Won’t Allow
The rivalry between these two football clubs is something which will never end – take that from a Bengali. I have seen people supporting East Bengal to be satisfied if their club loses all the matches in a championship but manages to defeat Mohun Bagan. This goes for a Mohun Bagan fan too. This is the sort of rivalry you will expect here. The IPL hasn’t been able to do that with cricket yet, but in football the passion regarding clubs is the be all and end all here. You can relate it to a Real Madrid and Barcelona match too – it’s nothing short of it.