Home blues for Chennaiyin
There’s a lack of cohesion in the Chennaiyin FC team’s play, the moves in the transfer market haven’t worked out and the uneasiness has spread to the fans.
Fans are integral to any sport. Their support through thick and thin sets them apart from the casual watchers. The moral support aside, fans also contribute greatly to a team’s coffers — especially in wellestablished sports.
Indian football does not fall under that category, yet. Be it the Ileague or the Indian Super League (ISL), fans are valued — surely — but the financial gains from gate receipts do not determine the daytoday running of a team.
That said, every team in the ISL now has a widely recognised fan club. Sometimes more. From stadium banners to enthusiastic matchday chants to arranging longhaul away trips to support their team, everything is worked out by them. And Chennaiyin FC, the defending champion, has two of them — the Supermachans and the Bstand Blues.
Going into the fifth season of ISL, a lot was expected from the team and the fan clubs. But nine games into the season, Chennaiyin is yet to find its stride. There’s a lack of cohesion in the team’s play, the moves in the transfer market haven’t worked out and the uneasiness has spread to the fans.
The first home game of the season, against FC Goa, came on the back of a 10 loss to last season’s beaten finalist Bengaluru FC. Fans organised marches into the stadium before kickoff, you could hear the sound of drums reverberating all around and banners were put out in support of the team. A great atmosphere, even though the team eventually lost 31.
Compare that atmosphere to the one in the game against Mumbai City FC and you’ll be surprised at the difference. Fans still came out, albeit in much smaller numbers, and stood by their team. But you could hear the frustration in their chants and despair in their voices when the team lost yet another game at home — a third defeat in as many matches.
The team has four points this season and all of them came away from home. John Gregory, the head coach, spoke of his players being “nervous to play at home”. The next home game is on November 29 and if
Hoping for a turnaround: Chennaiyin FC players during a training session at the SRMC ground in Chennai. The team is yet to win a game at home this season.