Arsenal are a club that plays beautiful football, has rich history. Amid some tough times in the recent past, the Arsenal fans have stood by their team and are undoubtedly one of the most passionate supporters.
There has been a significant growth in Arsenal’s fanbase in India in the recent years. From the early 2000s people in India, who watched football, started supporting the club but the emergence of social media has helped them to unite and form fans club in respective parts of India. Arsenal launched the Arsenal Supporters’ Club programme earlier this year and that has seen inclusion of many fans club from India to be registered officially by Arsenal.
Former Arsenal footballer, Fredrick Ljungberg of Sweden (R) along with a host takes part in an interactive session with the team fans during the launch of Arsenal Football Club kits in Bangalore on August 12, 2014.
So far, 9 fan clubs from 9 cities of India have been officially registered by Arsenal. While Arsenal Mumbai and Arsenal Bangalore were the first two supporters’ clubs that joined the fraternity, but recent years have seen the rise of 7 more organisations of passionate Arsenal fans across India.
The supporters’ clubs launch their membership campaign so that willing Gooners can join the fan club. The supporters’ clubs organize many events. Some of them are:
- Live screening of Arsenal matches.
- Intra and Inter club football tournaments.
- Social activities like Blood Donation camp, donations to charity etc.
- Marathon events(Be a Gunner, Be a Runner event).
- Online competitions, like quiz and other trivia programmes in the social media.
- Fans’ meet.
The Arsenal Supporters’ Clubs in India:
Arsenal Mumbai Supporters Club: Based in Mumbai, this is one of the earliest formed supporters’ club of India. They have a huge fan following and regularly organize screening and other programmes.
Arsenal Bangalore Supporters Club: Another old fans club from India, based in Garden City of Bengaluru. They also have a massive support and they are active with their events. The screening programme is regular and they also organize other events. They are followed by more than 90,000 fans worldwide in facebook.
Arsenal Bengal Supporters Club: One of the most emerging supporters’ club of Arsenal. Based in the city of Kolkata, Arsenal Bengal have come a long way in a short time. They organize many online competitions and charity works while the match day screening is pretty regular as well. The intra club tournament is also very popular and people from Bengal are passionate about their beloved Arsenal. They recently showed their love for Thierry Henry as the legend arrived in the City of Joy and won The King’s heart.
Arsenal Delhi Supporters Club: Present at the capital, the Delhi based fan club is growing fast and well. The atmosphere in the screening is electrifying and fans take part in many other events as well.
Arsenal Chennai Supporters Club: A fan club based in Eastern coast in the city of Chennai, this fans club has won the hearts of Robert Pires when he arrived. Passionate Gooners support their team with all the emotions and they organize regular screening programmes.
Arsenal Hyderabad Supporters Club: A club based in Hyderabad, growing in statures. They have more than 200 members and they enjoy matches in local screening places.
Arsenal Nagpur Supporters Club: The home of Gooners in Nagpur. They are a family that watch Arsenal together and host many football events.
Arsenal Pune Supporters Club: Their philosophy is based on equality and they provide the best for their registered supporters in the city of Pune.
Arsenal Kerala Supporters Club: The home of Kerala Gooners. The ever crazy fans from the western coast of India have more than 300 members and they organize many social events. The screenings mainly take place in Kochi.
Photo by Ronnie Macdonald