Fan clubs: ri­vals, not en­e­mies

Sportstar - - ISL DIARY -

It wasn’t just the play­ers who had an in­tense pre­sea­son camp ahead of the In­dian Su­per League. The fan clubs, ac­tive on What­sapp on a daily ba­sis, worked just as hard to make sure their teams got all the sup­port they could get dur­ing their matches.

That in­volved pre­par­ing gi­gan­tic ban­ners, ban­ter­ing with ri­vals on so­cial me­dia, pen­ning down new chants for their play­ers as well as ri­vals and prac­tis­ing these with full vigour.

Chen­naiyin FC fan club Su­per­ma­chans posted im­ages of creative fans toil­ing in rain and sun­shine to get the ban­ners and flags ready for the matches.

Ben­galuru FC fan club West Block Blues mo­bilised mem­bers through so­cial me­dia and camped in school to get their cheer­ing props ready.

The Ker­ala Blasters’ Man­jap­pada de­cided to cel­e­brate their off­field he­roes — the fish­er­men who worked tire­lessly to res­cue thou­sands of Ker­alites dur­ing the del­uge in Au­gust — along with their on­field stars.

It isn’t just about cel­e­bra­tions and fan wars though. Fan clubs such as the Su­per­Ma­chans also as­sist the team man­age­ment with their grass­roots pro­gramme and are ac­tively in­volved in so­cial work.

Most of these fan clubs also col­lected relief ma­te­rial from fans to send to Ker­ala while si­mul­ta­ne­ously pre­par­ing sledge songs and ban­ners against the Blasters. “After all, ri­valry is what makes foot­ball in­ter­est­ing. We are ri­vals, not en­e­mies, and we won’t shy away from help­ing each other off the field,” Ramiah, a Su­per­ma­chan, said. Who are we to ar­gue on that?

H. VIBHU

Off the pitch: It isn’t just about cel­e­bra­tions and fan wars. Fan clubs such as the Su­per­ma­chans also as­sist the team man­age­ment with their grass­roots pro­gramme and are ac­tively in­volved in so­cial work.

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