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West Block Blues boo Kerala Blasters: New rivalry in the making?

Written by: Punit Tripathi

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The Blues' supporters have recently been in the news for all the wrong reasons.

The West Block Blues touch both the highs and lows with regular and unbelievable consistency. On one side, they created arguably the biggest banner in Asian football for the national team when they played against the Kyrgyz Republic on 13th June. The banner read, ‘The Road is long, but the belief is everything. Stand up for Indian football’ signed by ‘West Block Blues’.

While that certainly made the whole nation’s pitiable audience watching the game stand up and applaud, there was a recent twist recently. As Bengaluru FC hoisted the national dreams in the AFC Cup Inter Zonal semi-finals on Wednesday evening and ruthlessly shrugged off the much-praised North Korean opponents April 25 Sports Club, West Block Blues created another banner which read 'How Bad do you want it?'. Surely, it asked the players about their will to win, but the story goes beyond the beginning.

 

Bengaluru FC fans West Block Blues thank Manjappada after AFC Cup semi-final 2016

The Bengaluru FC fan base used chants like ‘Who the f*** is Kerala Blasters?’, which once again showed that the Blues' fans are set to take on arguably the most football-frenzy fan base in India. Bengaluru FC have got inducted into the Indian Super League (ISL) this year and are yet to play any games against the side which has reached two finals in three editions. Interestingly, Rino Anto and CK Vineeth, former BFC players, who were at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Wednesday evening, gave their opinions on the chants.

Opinions of Rino Anto after the game

It must be highlighted that Bengaluru FC's last year's foray to the AFC Cup finals was well documented and supported by the Kerala Blasters' fan base. A large portion of the Manjappada had traveled to the Sree Kanteerava as Sunil Chhetri inspired the Blues to a 3-2 victory. Looks like the memory of fanbases are really short lived and the West Block are ready to go heads on to a new rivalry.

Kerala Blasters’ fan base, the Manjapadda, meanwhile, takes pride in its numbers as they’re the club with the highest average attendance in the last two years in Asia, an achievement of sorts. The number at the Sree Kanteerava may not be that impressive, but the crowds are certainly pumped up for every home team, be it the Blues or the Blue Tigers.

Also read Bengaluru FC put three past April 25 SC in AFC Cup

This is not the first time the West Block Blues has been in the news though. The same group chanted ‘F*** you – Khalid Jamil’ in last season’s I-league encounter against Aizawl FC at the Sree Kanteerava. The former Mumbai FC man did end up on the losing side in the game but silenced them by winning the I-league title.

Rivalries are good, they’re healthy and they continue the football legacy. We’ve read numerous times about Merseyside Derbies, the United-Liverpool chants, the Milan Derby, German rivalries and the El Clasico, but all of them have historical relevance and have fought for major honors for some time in history. Closer home, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan who proudly boast of the Kolkata Derby have forever been the biggest clubs in Indian football, except in recent times.

In such a scenario, chanting against a club you’ve not played a game against looks a little deluded or even, a little misplaced. Khel Now requests West Block Blues to get their fan wars right and first, try and get more numbers to the stands, as two of the most important sides are playing at the base more often than not. WBB is probably trying to rise up a few notches by challenging a behemoth in Indian football’s current fan-boyic story and the story is set to get interesting, as the Manjappada is geared to fill the Kanteerava. The ISL-management team must be smiling in the horizon. 

 

Published: Thu Aug 24, 2017 06:35 PM IST

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