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ISL: Can Roy Krishna bring ATK and Mohun Bagan fans together?

ISL: Can Roy Krishna bring ATK and Mohun Bagan fans together?


Published: 26 Jun 2020 8:51 AM GMT

Aamar Bukey ATK. Joy Mohun Bagan. Eksathe! ~ Roy Krishna

It started again around the first week of January this year. That was when the rumours of two heavyweight football clubs from Kolkata, each with an agenda of its own, merging together began to resurface, letting the know-it-alls pile in. “S… club ta ke beche dilo (bloody hell they sold our club)?” came the first response.

Within hours, thousands more had projected similar views but many also recognised there was little choice to be had in the matter. ATK FC and Mohun Bagan would play as a single entity in the Indian Super League (ISL) come next season, the corporate franchise would acquire 80% stakes in the merged club while Bagan, the 131-year-old institution, would have only 20%. It seemed to be the perfect marriage.

But would the Bagan fans have it? No. They were more worried about the nomenclature, logo and jersey colour of the new club than playing in the ISL. What happens if the Green and Maroon colours are changed? If the logo is modified? Would they have it if the new team is called anything other than Mohun Bagan?

All those woes, however, seemed to be forgotten on this fruitful Friday morning when, after weeks of speculation, it was officially announced that last season’s top scorer Roy Krishna would stay at the club for at least another season. As reported by us, the star forward agreed a new deal despite having offers from East Bengal and Mumbai City FC.


In an emotional social media post, Krishna wrote, “I am delighted to extend the contract with my club. After a successful season winning the 2019/2020 Hero ISL Cup, I had no hesitation in choosing to remain with the Champion Team.

I had a wonderful first year both on and off the field in Kolkata. Everyone who is part of the Club – from my fellow players, management and the fans – welcomed my family and I with open arms. We love being part of the culture that exists within the Club. The love and support from the fans have been especially amazing. Last season was my first experience of India and I have really enjoyed my time here. Kolkata is an amazing city with lovely people, and it’s now a second home for me.

It’s exciting, and I have so much to look forward to when I return to Kolkata; training under the guidance of coach Antonio Habas and reuniting with my teammates, the merger of ATK and Mohun Bagan and of course, the opportunity to play in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup. I’m grateful and will work hard to help the Club have a successful AFC Cup outing.

Hopefully the borders reopen in time for the preseason training.

Thank you for all your well wishes and support.”

To conclude the message, he used three specific hashtags — #AmarBukeyATK (ATK in my heart), #JoyMohunbagan (Glory to Mohun Bagan), #Eksathe (Together). And believe it or not, just these three hashtags were enough to deliver a powerful message — a message that made ATK and Mohun Bagan fans, who were until now more inclined at trying to establish one-upmanship over the other, celebrate in unison; probably, for the first time.

The comments section was filled with replies and congratulatory messages from both sets, something which begs to put forward the notion, this marriage might eventually turn out to be a successful one. The 32-year-old Fijian could potentially change everything. If he can keep up his goal scoring prowess, his personal connection with the fans and most importantly, help the club win trophies — if he can stay true to his promise and engineer a successful campaign at the AFC Cup, it would fundamentally change the entire conversation around ATK-Mohun Bagan.

Because at the end of the day, in football, results matter, goals matter. And who better to deliver than Roy Krishna?

Also read: I hope Mohun Bagan fans will continue to support ATK-MB, says Sanjoy Sen

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