Fan clubs: rivals, not enemies
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?
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.