How can we promote football when the officials are rigid towards the main elements of this game, Fans.
On the 19th of November, Chennaiyin FC opened their 2017-18 Indian Super League (ISL) season against FC Goa. The match was highly hyped up by the media for both the teams now had new coaches, new ideologies and new beginnings both for the team and the fans. Chennaiyin FC have had one of the most boisterous fan bases in BSB (B-Stand Blues) and Supermachans. With two fanbases for one club, one might be confused but what we are sure of is the fact that they bring so much charisma on match days and are worthy of being called the 12th men for their team.
So what went wrong? Like most other fan bases in the ISL, the Chennaiyin FC fans prepared so much for the game. Corteo, scarves, flags, banners, chants, pyros, you name it and they had it with them. The only problem was the security present at the gates who labelled them Terrorists. The Supermachans who had organised and made a lot of banners were denied entry to bring them in which was shocking. The only banners that made it into the stadium were the ones that they could bring it in on an earlier time.
They were denied entry for a long time into the stadium and even once they did enter, they were mistreated by the guards. The guards didn’t let them hold banners over their heads as well. We spoke to Jenisha Rani, an ardent fan of Chennaiyin FC, also a core member of the Supermachans who has been in the heart of this incident and here’s what she had to say: “There’s been no respect for fans and we’ve dealt with these security measures the last few years and this time, it’s very bad. When we went to the stadium with flags and banners, we were called terrorists, we’ve been waiting eagerly for a year for the season to begin to go out there and being called a terrorist is very sad.”
Any Club official is replaceable, fans are not.
The problems did not stop once they got into the stadium. The security guards caused a lot of problems inside as well. “We usually unfurl banners during half-time and we weren’t allowed to do that. I really don’t understand how holding a banner up is dangerous. What’s sad is the fact that this fan culture happens in every other club. Other clubs have drums, smokes, flags and banners and we’re the one who aren’t allowed to do this. We’ve been called hooligans before and we’re happy being called hooligans but calling us terrorists is stepping out of the line”.
— Chennaiyin FC Fans (@Supermachans) November 20, 2017
Jenisha’s words are the echoes of thousands of other Chennaiyin FC fans who want what is best for their club. People think Chennai does not have a footballing culture and these fan clubs are going all out to prove that the belief is wrong. Their only question is, if the other clubs are allowed to do the same, why aren’t we allowed to?
With another home game beckoning for Chennaiyin FC against the Highlanders, these fans are raring to go and no matter what problems comes their way, they will make sure that their voices are heard through the television screens at home.