Kolkata is also known as the city of joy but do you know? Kolkata also has another name, and that’s “Mecca of Indian Football” . The main reason behind this name is the consistently high fever of football in the city. Nearly every Indian is a big fan of football, but when it comes to the people of Kolkata, they are not just football fans. They celebrate football as a festival. Every afternoon, every ground in the land of Kolkata is occupied by young boys dedicatedly playing football, forgetting and celebrating every goal like a world cup.
Kolkata people have different football tournaments to celebrate. It’s not only about the World Cup; people here are enthusiastic about every football tournament. You will get a Messi or Neymar fan who is excited about League 1, and then you can meet a fan of Neuer who is eager for the next match of Bayern Munich. You can also see people debating whether Serie A is a more competitive tournament or the Premier league. You may see friends stopping to talk with each other on the night of the Real Madrid vs. Barcelona match. Then all these fans eagerly wait to see whose favorite club wins the Champions league.
You will never feel that Copa America and Euro Cup are tournaments organized in some other continents because people here are delighted about whose favorite player or favorite nation is lifting the cup.
After all, this comes from the Indian Super League. For the people of Kolkata, everything about football starts with Mohunbagan and Eastbengal, two of the oldest football clubs in the country. East Bengal – Mohun Bagan debates no particular date; it’s a daily fight. The game between the clubs is not just an ordinary football match but a prestige fight for their fans. You can feel the heat even if you sit in your home and watch the game on television. The people in the stadium are cheering out loud in support of their favorite club. The stadium becomes housefull on the day of the Kolkata derby. If you have any Bengali friends on your social media, your feed may get flooded with updates about what’s happening in the match. After the battle, you may see a fan crying just because his team lost a game, and you may see some crying their heart out because they won the derby after a long time. You can easily distinguish the players’ body language during other matches and the derby because they know that it’s not only a match but an emotion for millions. A single mistake by any player on the day of the derby is counted as a crime more felonious than any other crime if they have to conceive any goal for that one wrong move.
Now, after I have said so many things about the biggest rivalry in Indian Football, it’s time to tell you about the legacy of these two legendary football clubs.
Starting with Mohunbagan, the club was founded in 1889, which makes it one of the oldest clubs in Asia. The club began its journey of becoming legendary by defeating the East Yorkshire Regiment in the 1911 IFA shield final. This win was a significant motivational boost for the freedom fighters of India. It was the first time an Indian club won a match against a British club.
Anger is expressed in three ways;
The first one is Passive Aggression, where sometimes a person doesn’t admit that they are angry but are annoyed and expresses their Anger in silence, sulking, or by pretending that “everything is okay.”
The second type is Open Aggression, where a person expresses Anger and rage and may lash out at other people. They can be physically or verbally aggressive.
The third type is Assertive Anger which is a healthy way of dealing with Anger where a person communicates their feelings without hurting themselves and keeping others’ feelings in mind. They will be open to talking, listening, and finding solutions.
East Bengal, on the other hand, was founded in August 1920, 31 years of its arch-rivals’ foundation, and became affiliated with the Indian Football Association in 1922.
But the rivalry between East Bengal and Mohunbagan is not limited to football grounds only because this has become a fight of blood lineages where East Bengal represents the Bengali refugees who came from Bangladesh (East Pakistan) to India. Mohunbagan represents the original Bengali inhabitants of West Bengal.
East Bengal and Mohunbagan first played a derby match on 8th august 1921 in the coochbehar cup, and then this famed rivalry continued for more than 100 years.
East Bengal and Mohun Bagan’s legacy doesn’t stop at derby matches only; they are also the most successful teams in Durand Cup. Durand cup is the oldest football tournament in Asia and the fifth oldest national football competition worldwide. Inspiration for the name “Durand” comes from its founder Sir Henry Mortimer Durand, the foreign secretary of India from 1884 to 1894. The first Durant Cup match took place in Shimla in 1888. The two clubs of Kolkata, the most successful clubs of the tournament, have won 32 titles together, each of them winning 16.
But apart from East Bengal and Mohunbagan clubs, another football club is famous in Kolkata. The club was founded in 1891, making it one of the oldest clubs in the country.
Kolkata has one famous stadium inspired by Swami Vivekanand and popularly known as The Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, also known as the Salt Lake Stadium. The Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan is the fourth-largest football stadium in Asia regarding any stadium’s seating capacity. The stadium currently has a seating capacity of 85,000 people, and before its renovation, it was the largest football stadium in the world, with a seating capacity of 1,20,000.
The passion for football is immense in Kolkata. Many children in urban areas want to pursue football as their career but are unable because of a lack of opportunities, dirty politics, and other career pressures from family. Every ground in the city gets occupied every afternoon by all these young boys playing football with all their love and affection.
But not only football people of Kolkata are also passionate about nearly every sport starting from cricket to kabaddi.
The two mentioned iconic clubs of the city of joy are also multisports clubs now but are most famous for football. People are also very enthusiastic about cricket, especially regarding cricket, Sourav Ganguly is the only legend for the fans. But we can bet on the fact that Kolkata and Sports share a high-quality love story that can beat any of your Bollywood dramas.