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Top 5 Indian clubs who went out of the top flight

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These clubs have given the national team some of its greatest players of all time.

Indian football is going through a rough patch and there is a big cloud of uncertainty surrounding the future of the sport in the country. With all the restructuring that's to be done, the governing body, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) must be very cautious as it can have an effect on the development of the sport in the country.

Amid all the tension going on Minerva Punjab and their owner, Ranjit Bajaj who is always in the middle of every controversy had thoughts of shutting operations after consistent negligence from AIFF over a lot of issues. Thing got escalated as NEROCA FC also followed Minerva's lead and tweeted out their disappointment and revealed that they might also shut their operations in future.

Although the Warriors were later given permission to host their first home game at the Kalinga Stadium before moving to Goa, one can just remember about other clubs who were forced to shut down their operations due to varied circumstances.

5. Mumbai FC

Meagre budget, passionate fans and the drama of relegation hanging on their head, Mumbai FC were one of the most iconic clubs in Indian football. Their passionate set of fans known as the Yellow Brigade raised a great atmosphere at the Cooperage ground.

Mumbai FC was one of the nurturers of top talents in the I-League

Mumbai FC had their fair share of struggle throughout their 10 years of existence in both first and second division. Even in their time of distress through the years the club from Maharastra stayed true to their beliefs of providing chances to the local talent and helping them flourish and several reputed players now have developed through the ranks of the club back then.

The club also saw the iconic rise of Khalid Jamil who steered the club to safety from relegation on a number of occasions with a restricted budget. However, Khalid Jamil left the club in 2016 and the Mumbaikars were relegated, finishing last with only 13 points in the league and decided to shut down.

4. Mahindra United

One of the few corporate clubs in Indian football back in those days. Mahindra United were a club with considerable achievements in their time of existence and gave a hard time to the clubs from Goa and West Bengal.

Formed back in 1969 as Mahindra and Mahindra allied Sports Club, the outfit had a considerable budget to build their team. However, the Mumbai-based club did not get enough returns from their investment and became defunct back in 2010.

Mahindra United became the first club in the history of Indian football to win the Federation Cup and National League in 2006 and complete the domestic double in a season. Despite winning the league, Federation Cup, Durand Cup and even the IFA Shield- the club, unfortunately, was disbanded in 2010.

3. DSK Shivajians

Referred to as one of the oldest clubs from Maharashtra, DSK Shivajians were founded back in Shivajians Sports Club back in 1987 and also gained the "legacy club" tag for their rich history of promoting football from the youth levels in the western part of the country.

However, things changed completely when the club got taken over by Shirish Kulkarni and DSK group back in 2010 which changed its name and also intended to play in the top flight of the country. DSK Shivajians missed promotion from the second division to I-League in 2013 by a whisker. The Pune based outfit entered the top division of the country in 2015 via corporate entry and with the power of immunity in their first season, they finished ninth. In the following season, there was ample amount of improvement through the club as the club managed seventh-placed finish under the tutelage of English manager Dave Rodgers.

However, the success of playing in the top division was shortlived as there were financial constraints with a lot of blame game among the DSK group members resulting in huge debts from their investors as the owners were alleged of monetary scams. The circumstances led to an unfortunate shut down of the senior team, however, they have continued to nurture talents in their academy.


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2. Salgaocar FC

One of the most successful and iconic club from Goa, a state which holds a rich history in Indian football. Salgaocar were a highly decorated club and were title contenders on almost every season they featured. They were the first club from Goa to win the National Football League back in 1999.

In their rich history, the Goan outfit won several accolades, topping the long list with winning the League twice and also winning the Federation Cup a whopping four times and missing out three times as runners up. They also bagged four Durand Cup titles with the recent being in 2014.

However, despite all the success and overwhelming legacy in Indian football, Salgaocar pulled out of the top division as they opposed two simultaneous leagues in the country and the lack of a proper roadmap by AIFF. Sporting Club de Goa also joined forces with Salgaocar and the Indian FA did nothing to prevent the action from the clubs. The club currently features in Goa Professional League.

Dempo SC

The historic Golden Eagles from India is the most successful and decorated club in Indian football. Started as Dempo Souza football Club back in 1961, the club was later taken over by Dempo Corporation. The club triumphed at the Rovers cup with back to back titles and their golden age came back in the 1980s as the Golden Eagles dominated the regional tournaments and even started dominated the Rovers Cup beating Mohun Bagan in the final of the 1986 edition.

The Golden Eagles have won the most numbers of top flights in India

The Goan outfit became the most decorated club as the bagged titles on the run and became one of the most dominating forces in India football. Dempo won the National Football League twice, also winning the last edition of the league in 2007. The Eagles featured in the AFC Cup back in 2008 and under the tutelage of Armando Colaco, Dempo reached the semifinals of the continental tournament where they eventually lost out against Safa Beirut Sporting Club from Lebanon.

Under Colaco the team saw their best phase winning the I-League thrice and also got the taste of Federation Cup victory back in 2004 alongside a Durand Cup title. However, the club pulled out of the I-League in 2016 as a protest against AIFF's biased restructuring of the roadmap of Indian football and only features in the Goa Pro League since then.

Honourable Mentions

Sporting Club de Goa, Bharat FC, Pune FC, Royal Wahingdoh, JCT, Rangjadied United.

Published: Sun Apr 14, 2019 02:28 PM IST

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