Various Mohun Bagan fan groups are planning to hold a protest at the club premises tomorrow ahead of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) where representatives from the club management speak to members. In what is the latest twist in this long-drawn tale of fan displeasure at the way the club is being branded, supporters of the legacy club are now taking it a notch higher in the #RemoveATK campaign.
This will be the second time in as many months that fans will come out to the streets as a sign of protest against the existing management. Earlier in January, a group of fans had gathered in front of the club tent with banners and posters. Following this, the group moved to gather in front of Victoria House in central Kolkata where Sanjiv Goenka, the owner of Kolkata Games and Sports Private Limited (KGSPL), has his office.
The main concern that the fans have is regarding the nomenclature of the club. While they were initially okay with the merged entity being called ATK Mohun Bagan, problems arose when the 131-year-old club started to be addressed as a ‘new entity’. This was followed by an uproar surrounding the inclusion of three stars on top of the club crest signifying ATK’s three Indian Super League (ISL) title victories. A promotional video featuring Sourav Ganguly further fueled the fire but was quickly pulled back.
However, the final straw was when the side turned out in ATK’s away jersey from last season in two of their matches in the ongoing campaign. Fans felt betrayed by the club officials who had reportedly promised that it was a mistake when it happened for the first time. As a result, a number of fan groups announced that they would boycott the team’s matches this season as well as the merchandise made available to them. Even the much talked-about ‘Fan Wall’, which has been a regular fixture this ISL, featured fans holding posters that read #RemoveATK in large letters. Posters and banners were also put up in various parts of Kolkata and elsewhere, especially in localities which are inherently linked with the century-old club’s history.