Every football fan knows the musical “You’ll Never Walk Alone” anthem sung by Liverpool fans at Anfield and the “Glory Glory Man United” reverberating the Theatre of Dreams of Manchester United. Everyone knows what these clubs mean to their fans and are also pretty familiar with their songs, the chants and their slogans.
It is truly delightful to see Indian football fans, too, support their favourite local clubs with the utmost passion just like their European counterparts. The Kolkata clubs- Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, enjoy the support of the massive number of vocal fans who turn up for every game, whether it be at home or away. The states of Goa and Kerala, too, are some of the biggest footballing hubs in the country and the clubs there has an equally strong fan base.
All these fans create an enjoyable atmosphere in the stadia with their loud cheers, claps, chants and various fan-made songs.
Let’s look at some of the most popular chants and anthems made by the Indian fan clubs for their favourite teams-
5. ‘We are from Pune..’ by Orange Army
Everytime FC Pune City play at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi; the Orange Army is there to cheer them up with their loud chants along with the traditional ‘dhol’ continually being played. The fans turn up in huge numbers for every home game as the one stand dedicated to them by the club is fully packed with people constantly shouting their chants aloud.
Their most popular chant or what they call as the Orange Army Anthem goes as, ‘Everywhere we go, people wanna know, who we are, where we come from, this is what we tell them, we are from Pune, we are the Orange Army’.
Usually, the anthem is sung by a leader, who is followed by the whole lot shouting ‘Orange Army’ aloud repeatedly with the dhol being played simultaneously. The atmosphere which it creates in the stadium is impressive as the other spectators are also provoked to cheer for the team.
Interestingly, during the Stallions’ first win of this season against Jamshedpur, the players stood before the Orange Army and performed the thrilling ‘Viking Clap’ which rocked the stadium. It was a jaw-dropping scenario, never-before-seen by the Pune fans.
4. ‘Namma Ooru’ by West Block Blues
Bengaluru FC is known for its fantastic vocal fan base and the incredible support they provide for the club during both, the home as well as the away games. It is quite remarkable to see how the Blues have generated so many fans because they were established as late as in the year 2013.
During Albert Roca’s coaching stint with the club, the Blues reached the finals of the AFC Cup in 2016 after beating the defending champions Johor Darul Ta’zim FC of Malaysia in the semi-finals. The support for the Blues during the second leg of the fixture at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium was just unbelievable. Along with the popular Namma Ooru [Our City] chant, the West Block Blues also came together to cheer for captain Sunil Chhetri, who scored a brace in the game.
Moreover, there is another song that is popular among the fans - the ‘Santhoshakke Haadu’-a song for happiness, which they sing while doing the famous Poznan step [where the fans turn around in their seats and hold each other by shoulders and jump together]. The West Block Blues are truly one of the biggest fan clubs in the country.
3. ‘Dale Dale Dale Hoo..’ by Manjappada
The Manjappada are known for their excellent scores of fans showing up at the stadia for the games of their favourite team, Kerala Blasters FC. In the current season of the ISL, the Blasters stand first regarding their attendance during the games, which has gone as high as up to 37,986 while the average attendance is 31,763 which is almost more peerless by 10,000 than second-placed Jamshedpur.
Their official anthem goes as ‘ Dale Dale Dale Hoo, to the land of football, is to where God came, he gave us a club, gave it life, gave us hope, we are the famous, Kerala Blasters, let’s come together for the fight, to win it.’
Apart from that, they also have a song specially dedicated to their club in the local language, Malayalam, which goes as ‘Woah oo oooo Niram Manyaane…’.
The way the Tuskers perform their chants and songs in a perfectly synchronised manner leaves the spectators wowed. Interestingly, the Manjappada are sheer rivals of the West Block Blues and both the fan clubs include various banters against each other in their chants which they perform when they meet in the ISL. The verbal battle between the two fan clubs is always high pitched and in a high tempo, audible even outside the stadium. Their rivalry brings out the best chants and slogans, sometimes even spontaneously during the games.
2. ‘Egiye Cholo..’ by East Bengal Ultras
Football is treated as a religion in Kolkata, and it is evident from the massive crowds that flood the stadiums especially during the famous Kolkata Derby. The atmosphere in the city during derby days merely is astonishing. Fans sing everywhere across the city as if it were a festival. The East Bengal Ultras in the town, who have their origins from Bangladesh, are crazy about their favourite team.
There are several chants popular amongst the Ultras such as the ‘Egiye Cholo’, which goes as ‘Egiye Cholo, Amra Achi Tomar Pashe’ meaning ‘Move forward, we are always standing for you.’ Amongst the other chants and songs in the local Bengali language include ‘Amra Korbo Sringojoy’ and their rendition of the famous ‘Allez Allez Allez’ chant, which is initially made by the Liverpool fans.
The Red and Gold Brigade enjoys huge support from the fans during its away games too. For instance, around two thousand fans travelled to Imphal to watch their I-League tie against NEROCA FC, which shows their extraordinary love for their team.
1. ‘Amader Surjo Merun’ by Mariners
Being the National Club of India, Mohun Bagan naturally has a huge fan base not just in Kolkata but everywhere across the country. The fans of Bagan are traditionally the localities who are utter rivals of the Ultras residing in the other part of Kolkata. It is thus said that the city is divided into two sections during derby days.
Hence, when the Ultras cheer up their team with their chants, the Mariners show them their strength by raising their voices to sing the popular ‘Amader Surjo Merun’ which means ‘Our sun is maroon.’ The lyrics of the song describe the fans’ deep passion for the club and how the club is of national pride and its legacy.
Moreover, there is a film specially produced for the team, which won the prestigious IFA Shield in 1911 after defeating the East Yorkshire Regiment, which also sparked up the Independence Revolution of the country.
It is truly mesmerising to watch the supporters show so much love and support for their club. Their chants are in the local language but passion has no such barriers, and it can be genuinely felt watching these fans. In a way, they prove themselves to be the 12th man in the team and show why football is regarded as the most excellent game in the world.