ISL: Jamshedpur FC fans protest against the club's management in demand for a new jersey
Two months before a new season begins all teams look forward to having a new kit, a kit that embodies their identity, and gives them something to look forward to every year.
Jamshedpur FC a club that was founded in 2017, made its first appearance in the Indian Super League during the 2017-18 season. The club is owned and managed by Tata Steel, a subsidiary of Tata Group. The club was founded on 12 June 2017, when Tata Steel won the bidding rights for one of the two new slots in the Indian Super League. Jamshedpur FC along with Bengaluru FC were the two new teams added to the ISL team roster.
In the four seasons in the Indian Super League, JFC have failed to reach the playoffs, and have finished 5th twice, which remains to be their best finish to date. The club finished 6th last year, which is a significant improvement from their 8th place finish the year before. The club since its inception has had the same jersey. The home kit is red with dark blue sleeves and features tribal art and symbols as a tribute to the rich tribal history of Jharkhand, the state to which the club belongs. The aways colors have been white with sky blue sleeves, and the same tribal symbols.
The fans of the club, and especially the core fans the Red Miners have been asking the club to have a new jersey, a new identity, or a new face to club. Over the years the club has changed the title sponsors, sleeve sponsors, and the place where the logos of the sponsors are placed. A jersey in many ways represents the club, the people, the fans, the city, and much more, and most fans of every club look forward to having a new jersey before every season. Jamshedpur FC has failed to make a new kit be it home or away, in the last four years. The fans have taken to social media to raise their concerns, and have started using the hashtags #JFCJerseyChangeKaro and #ChangeTheJersey. The fans have started commenting the hashtag as a form of protest on the social media platform of Jamshedpur FC, Tata Steel, and even the Tata group.
We spoke to Utsabh Ghosh and SK Imran, two founding members of the Red Miners regarding why the fans are protesting against the club, and this is what they had to say.
"We have been asking the club for a new Jersey since the last 2 seasons, but after realizing that we were reaching out to deaf ears finally we started the protest a few days back. It's really sad to see that the Tata group which puts so much importance on PR is not paying heed to such a small request from the fans." said Imran on why the protest started.
The main idea to start this digital protest was to show the club that we the fans are united in terms of the request for a new Jersey. A jersey in many ways represents the identity of a club and we really think a change is needed to it so as to give a fresh look to the team as well as a change in fortunes on& off the field." said Utsabh Ghosh, on why the fans seek a change, even though its just a change in jersey.
Nivia is the official kit sponsor for the club, and they also have not had a refreshing approach to the kits. The questions raised by the fans are not something huge, but a natural comparison with other clubs in the league. Clubs like Kerala Blasters, Bengaluru FC, Mumbai City FC and more, launch new kits every year with a different concept, and approach. A jersey is much more than a piece of clothing worn by the players and fans, it is armor for the players to go battle, and it connects the club more with the fans.
The fans will just be hoping that the club management does not have a superstition related to the jersey, and they will only change it if the club wins the Indian Super League.