The day Bengaluru FC celebrated their fans

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Image Courtesy: © BFC

The day Bengaluru FC celebrated their fans

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Aniruddh Pr

06/03/2016

On Friday, May 27th, certain enthusiastic fans, the West Block Blues, gathered outside puma social club in Bangalore, chanting, bouncing, and waving Bengaluru FC’s flags in the air. The mood was celebratory and of pure joy contrary to the emotions a year ago. They were in an ironic situation one season ago as they were beaten to the title in the last few minutes of the final game of the season by Mohun Bagan, in their own backyard. But all that was forgotten on that day as Bengaluru FC had taken back what they believed was rightfully theirs. In addition to this, they had progressed to the quarterfinals of the AFC Cup for the first time in their history a few days back. To celebrate a great season, the club had thrown a party to their beloved fans for being boisterous and backing the team through thick and thin.

The celebrations were organized by Puma, the official sponsors of BFC. The usual and faithful West Block faces were present on that day along with many other eager fans. They were made to wait for an hour before they were let inside the club as the gaffer and the captain, along with midfield maestro Eugeneson Lyngdoh, had a commitment to an event organized by Puma. But that did not stop the fans from chanting for almost the whole time they waited. Soon the wait was over, and they were led into the club by the officials, RSVPs were checked and it was time to party as each one of them was offered two drinks of their choice for free!

To the joy of the fans, the whole team and the staff were present there. The fans presented a guard of honour to the players, singing 'Oh when the Blues, Go marching in' slowly as the players were led to the podium. The scenario was simply magical and showed that they were not just a club, but a family.

It also turned out that one of the players among the ranks was celebrating his birthday. It was none other than the paaji, Amrinder Singh, BFC's goalkeeper! The ecstatic fans even sung a happy birthday song to him followed by, 'No paaji, no party,' indicating the party mood they were in.

Then the players were ushered to the podium for an interactive session with the fans. The Gaffer, Sunil Chhetri, John Johnson, Curtis Osano and Eugenson were in the spotlight and each one lent their thoughts on the fans and how amazing they were. Then came the most interesting session, a questionnaire by the fans and this time they did not go easy on the team as they do when they lose. All sorts of questions were fired at them.

The gaffer was asked to comment on his relationship with Mumbai FC coach Khalid Jamil to which the gaffer had a humorous reply. "I gave him my address and phone number, waited for him alone in my room but disappointingly, he did not show up," said the gaffer. The fans roared in laughter and the chants came out unanimously in form of applause,

Ashley Westwood's BFC,

We are on our way to glory,

Built the team from scratch, he did,

Our kids will have a story!

The laughter did not die there as C K Vineeth and Rino Anto, both from Kerala, were jokingly paired by the fans and to the duo’s embarrassment, the players joined along as well! Sunil Chhetri finished the embarrassment with finesse, just like his goals, by sharing an insight that both Vineeth and Rino shared the same room!

Later, questions about their favorite teams were asked by the younger ones, to which they got answers from Manchester City (Gaffer), Barcelona (Sunil Chhetri) to Middlesbrough (Johnson). Some of the fans, also proud followers of Manchester United, were not hesitant to boo Ashley, on a lighter note, when he answered Manchester City. Rino and Vineeth shouted Liverpool at once, when they were asked who their favorite teams were. Coincidence?

(Also, read about Bengaluru's I-League title triumph - We took back what is rightfully Ours)

The crowd also had banter against Kolkata when they became impatient and booed as soon as they heard Mohun Bagan in Rino Anto’s speech. It showed the rivalry between Bengaluru and the West Bengal teams! They sang constant reminders for Kolkata fans, letting them know who the Champions of India were.

It was also learnt from Sunil Chhetri that Osano and Amrinder had successfully replaced Robin Singh as the party animals. "They can say no to a practice session but not to a party," said the beaming captain.

Amidst all the bigger players present, the crowd did not forget to interact with the younger lot of the team – Udanta, Malsawmzuala, Daniel Lalhlimpuia, who scored the winner in the AFC cup round of 16, Siam Hangal, and many others. Some of them shied away but others were eager to answer their favorite teams, favorite goal, and moments with the team. Also, there were two homegrown players present in the squad, Shankar Sampingiraj, Vishal Kumar, and NS Manju. The crowd even got, Manjanna as they chanted, to lend his thoughts in the local language, Kannada.

Awards based on twitter polls were also presented to the players. Rino Anto bagged the player of the season and Eugenson won the goal of the year award for his equalizer against East Bengal. The evening was wrapped up with pictures being taken with the players and Osano was also seen downing a bottle of beer with a fan amongst loud cheers. Some of the players left the club as early as 7 in the evening but some of them stayed back for a game of Foosball with the fans.

All in all, it was a fitting end to a perfect season but sadly four days later, it was announced that Ashley and the club has parted ways through mutual consent. An uncanny event which coincided with the somewhat similar disappointment that took place exactly on May 31st a year ago. 

(Also, read about Ashley Westwood's decision to leave Benagluru FC)

(All Images Courtesy: © BFC)

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