It is very common for a college lad to go “Gaga” over his favourite football team playing in the English Premier League or the La Liga. But a 20 year-old engineering aspirant from Bengaluru, chose a rather different path.
Football in India has been receiving enormous support in the past few months compared to all these years of existence and a major part of this fever is because of Bengaluru FC’s incredible success in the AFC cup 2016. We saw history being framed at Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bangalore, when the whole city was rushing through the gates to see an Indian club take on the defending champions of the AFC Cup. It was not just “An Indian Club”, the stereotype we have created for Football in the country, but they were the proud lions of the “Bengaluru FC” team.
Check out: This is how Bengaluru FC made History !
What we witnessed in the stadium that day was something that we haven’t seen in years together in India. A full packed stadium, ever-enthusiastic crowd, some people just watching football for the first time in their lives. Who started the Bengaluru FC fever? Who was the reason that the entire city was rushing to see history being made? Of course, the team. But we owe this Football fever to one of the best football fans in this entire universe, The West Block Blues (WBB).
Not everyday we see a house-full stadium at Sree Kanteerava. No matter what, you can always see the West Block Blues supporting the guys from their home stand, singing BFC chants and lifting the sports aura. We got in touch with one of the Bengaluru FC evangelists, Karan, someone who prefers to live for his home team than the famous english clubs and this is how it all spanned out:
How did your journey towards supporting Bengaluru FC begin?
I kept track of BFC matches in the first season through social media. My friends and I decided to go to the stadium for the game against Dempo which was the first game at Kanteerava. We had heard about the West Block A stand and we were completely soaked into the atmosphere even before the game started. I made sure I wouldn’t miss any game after that.
Out of all the clubs in the world, why did you start vouching for BFC?
The amount of pride I get in supporting a club from my own city is second to none. Bengaluru is a beautiful city and BFC is just another example for it. Right from the logo to the videos that the club releases, each and every minute detail is completely relatable to each one of us.
The style of football played by the team is very different to what we see in India. They have raised the bar and the standards set by them are commendable. The players and the staff get along well with the fans and the humble relationship is hard to find.
How does it feel to be part of one of the biggest fan brigades in the country (West Block Blues)?
West Block Blues is not just a community of football fans, it’s a huge family that unites the city of Bengaluru. West Block is as diverse as our city. People from all over the country, from different age groups join in to celebrate the spirit of football. I’m fortunate to be a part of WBB and it’s the best thing that has happened to me over the past few years.
There should be not one but many heroes behind the operations and success of the West Block Blues. Can you tell us more about the community?
The success behind the growth of WBB can be contributed to the following team. Samyukth, Shivam, Ritesh, Joe and Nitin who organize our ticketing each game. Vijay and Varsha have done an amazing job with our chants. Ajith and Subramanya are the best guys we have. They take up the entire responsibility of all our banners and flags. Rakesh, Abhijith, Harsha, Anirudh, Nitin and Neep help us with promotions and plan our activities. The entire West Block is held together by Waseem Ahmed, who has dedicated all his time and effort for our growth. This is just a small part of the family which includes hundreds of unseen faces who contribute towards our success in many ways each day.
Your most favourite BFC moment
Defeating the defending champions of AFC Cup, Johor 3-1 at home in front of a a sell out crowd on a weekday!
How far do you think BFC will go this season?
It won’t be a surprise if we go on to win the I-league and reach the last stages of AFC Cup this season. Even though we haven’t got the expected results in the past few games, I’m sure the team is capable of getting back on track in the coming fixtures.
Do you play football? If yes, how often?
I play football whenever I get enough time, once or twice a week.
Why do you think that building a fan club and extending support to the teams is important?
Football is a beautiful game and the impact that the fans have on the game is a lot more compared to other sports. The fans are a morale booster for the club and the players deserve our support through thick and thin. The team is as good as it’s fans are, and we at West Block give our best each game irrespective of the result.
Football in India has gained importance. With BFC making it to the finals last year, the support has increased. What do you have to say to this?
The football culture in Bengaluru was revived after so many years thanks to BFC. There was a time when we Indians had to support clubs playing in other countries, stay awake at odd hours to watch their matches. With the increased popularity of Indian football, we have our own clubs to support, our own derbies and rivalries to look forward to. As the saying goes, “It is better to support a club inland than to support a club in England.”
It is clearly evident that sports plays a very important role in your life. You have extended your support for BFC by spreading their goodness, selling tickets each game. Why do you do this? What drives you?
A game at the fortress is not just about BFC or about football. It is about thousands of people getting together at a place, putting behind all their worries and chanting their lungs out and go home with a smile on their face. We have had lots of people coming to our games without the basic knowledge of football but they get completely involved within the first few minutes. The happiness they experience throughout the match drives us to get more friends for the next match and so on.
How have you supported BFC till today? (About what you have done to spread the BFC fever)
I try my best to get at least 3-4 new people for each match. The tough part is to bring someone who has no idea about football to the stadium. But after the first game, they start asking me about the next game and book their ticket in advance. Sporting BFC merchandise on a regular basis is another easy way to promote the club. Away trips to support the club is one of the best things to do as a fan. Our chants are very popular and I try my best to teach everyone the chants before they come to the match.
Have you watched a Bengaluru FC match, yet? If you haven’t been to one, then it’s time you head to Sree Kanteerava stadium this weekend to catch “The Blues” in action. We bet you’ll be coming for more of their matches in the future.
You can grab your tickets for the match on PLAYO. Keep supporting our Bengaluru boys! Spread the Football fever!
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