European Club Supporters’ Groups : A Fast Growing Culture in India


Football fans are idiots. Or, to rephrase that sentence using less incendiary language: when it comes to football, intelligent people act stupid. And yes, that probably includes you.

After all, you remain hooked on a sport that has, over the past decade, become as competitive as a F1 warm-up lap – while at the same time taking ever-larger chunks out of your salary. Smart people would stand up to such exploitation. Football fans prefer to revel in their “hardcore” commitment. They would attend as many games as possible (home and away), regardless of cost or distance.

But in India, such loyalty is hard to find due to the quality of the game played here, mainly. People are more attracted towards European football or particularly one club. So, What does a football fan do when he or she wants to chant, cry and down a pint in celebration with others of the same feather? And wave the club banner and flag, hurl obscenities at the opposition, embrace strangers at the final whistle and together sing the club anthem loud enough?

The answer can’t be Anfield or Old Trafford. So, the supporting groups are formed. In India, in almost every big city, you can easily find one or more fan group of the 4 giants of EPL. Real Madrid and Barcelona fan clubs are growing at a steady pace too.

Why Should You Go There?
If you are a supporter of a particular club, this is the perfect go to place for you. You will hang out with the people who has the same taste; You will raise your scarf while singing the anthem before the game; you will have a raise a pint of beer for celebration; You will cry together after a heart breaking loss and if it’s a joint screening with your rivals, you will taunt them throughout the game. If you are lucky, you will shut them or you have to stay quiet.
It’s almost becomes like a family- Going out to watch the game in the weekends together, sometimes football tournaments or casual hangouts.

These aren’t just arbitrary gatherings at footie friendly pubs or sporadic matches on dusty pitches. It’s serious business, where the main requirements are unwavering passion for the club, and not just during the good times, and the ability to wriggle out of family commitments on match nights. As the things are getting serious, the fan clubs are trying get the Holy Grail- The Official Fan Club status and coming up with their own goodies and merchandises.

Being part of the group allow you to share your love for football and the club, share the highs and lows. You become a part of family bound not by blood but by your passion for the club.

Allow me to share few of my experiences :

As a Liverpool fan staying in India, the biggest game of the season is United home or away. Anthems and occasional chants were a regular thing. But the United group came with a taunting chant about Suarez in local language and we fired back with Mata immediately. We won that day and taunted them on our way back home. That feeling was amazing.
When Brendan Rodger’s winning side lost to Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea on April 27 in an EPL fixture, my fellow Scousers in Kolkata felt the same agony. We cried and tried to console each other. We couldn’t even eat, we just went to bed. That was tough, but isn’t that the beauty of football?

Season is less than one month away. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your scarfs, flags and join in.