28 Dec “Band of Brothers” – A stranger’s tale
“I had been following Chennaiyin FC from the first season. I’d keep tabs about all the matches but I could manage to come to the stadium and watch only a few every season until season 3. I was never that hardcore fan who had the club thoughts sitting in the back of my mind every moment. I liked the sport. I wanted to see a team representing my city play and that was it.
Before the start of the 4th season of the ISL, I had moved to Bangalore to pursue my Master’s degree. Just prior to the tournament, I went through a bad patch personally after a break-up. Just when I thought things were beginning to become miserable, the came across the news of Chennaiyin coming to Bengaluru for an ISL game. With just 500 rupees to see me through that month, I was in dilemma but decided that if I could be a part of something exciting for a few hours, then I would do that.
With a couple of friends from Chennai, we entered the Kanteerava Away Stand and found a group of boys chanting loud. The players weren’t even out for practice and they were all so loud and full of energy. I had no clue who they were but I joined them nevertheless. The atmosphere around them was infectious.
Unreal celebrations broke out after Jeje’s opener, and I began chanting with these boys, trying to pick up the lyrics here and there. At halftime, I spoke to a couple of boys from this group and learnt a few of their popular chants.
Then BFC equalized. BFC fans ran towards us, some had their shirts taken off and started waving at us. Chants of “Fuck off, CFC” started resonating and I was getting naturally angry but what calmed me was how the group responded. They began shouting, “Let’s go Chennai. Let’s go!” – Clearly, there was a difference in class that I could see.
Then at 87 mins, Dhanpal Ganesh rose, buried a header, shut the rowdy crowd up and put Chennaiyin into the lead. We won. It was crazy, obviously. I had been oblivious to the rumbling rivalry between the teams and fans until that day. Chennaiyin meant more to me from that day last December.
The game ended and the players recognized the loud support they had received for 90 mins from the lower stand. They ran towards us. It meant a huge deal for each player and you could see their emotions. I had a headrush and ran in front to celebrate as Dhanpal Ganesh came over to “HI-5″ the fans. Then the moment I am still remembered happened. The Bengaluru Police who were there the entire game had watched guys run circles around us without their shirts on, listened to the chants we had to endure but couldn’t take it that we were celebrating a victory without breaking law. A constable struck me on my back and hand with his Lathi. The mob rose to take him away and then we were told off but that was how I introduced myself to these bunch of boys.”
Recovering from a break-up, not much money in my pocket but those three hours probably went down as one of my most favorite memories for life. We went back home and began searching on the internet about these “bunch of boys” who made my day.
Finally, I landed on the right page, contacted B Stand Blues, got added into a group where they discuss, organize and have all their fun. The rest, as they say, is history.
I traveled from Bangalore to be with BSB for the KBFC game. Watched the Finals with these boys and ever since I shifted back to Chennai, I’ve been a regular and a proud season ticket holder for this season.
Funnily enough, a game, a football team and a bunch of mad supporters have given me a new perspective of things and given me an extended family. We’ve seen highs and lows together and to see how each member stays united inpsite of many differences from age, work or ‘status’ makes this bunch extremely special. At BSB, you’re blue. A proud one just like everyone else. BSB is inclusive and I’ve felt warm and welcome.
From total strangers leading lives heading in opposite directions to a bond beyond a band of brothers, this is special and you won’t know unless you are a part of it.”
– Account of Mohan G – Season Ticket Holder Chennaiyin FC – B Stand Blues.