Whenever we talk about Indian Football Fans, Kolkata leads the list for their traditional clubs. The utmost emotion and passion for their clubs in Kolkata is unmatched due to the psychological wars over the years. Fans turn up in thousands in League and Cup Games in Kolkata which has rightfully given Kolkata the title of ‘Mecca of Indian Football’.
Over the years, due to intense passion and love for the club fans have often been violent especially in the infamous Kolkata Derby. Fans have died and players have suffered injuries due to missiles from the crowd in the matches.
East Bengal Ultras : A New Fans Movement which has come up to change things in Fans Culture in India. The Ultras have been catching Media Attention due to their brilliant chanting and Flags and Banners in games.
What are the Ultras?
Ultras are a type of Football fan renowned for Ultra-fanatical support, occasionally to the point of hateful chants and slogans. The behavioural tendency of the Ultras is to use flares, pyros and bring large vocal support to create an atmosphere which encourages the players and intimidates the opposition.
Ultras are often infuenced by political ideologies like Nationalism, Anti-Fascism and Marxism.
East Bengal Football Club fans are the migrants coming from the Eastern Part of the Bengal Province in British India. This automatically creates a rift among the native Bengalis and the Migrated Bengalis.
The Language is the same, the dialects are different, the culture is same but the way of living is different which has created an intense rivalry among the Bengalis.
East Bengal Ultras first made their appearance in an away game in 2013 at Bengaluru. It was a group of few boys chanting slogans continuously for 90 Minutes which brought a revolution in Fans Culture in India and especially in Kolkata.
The East Bengal Ultras also known as Bangal Brigade has come a long way. They started with smoke shows in the 2015 CFL Kolkata Derby which they won by 4-0.
They made the right noise by their first big Tifo in the 2016 Kolkata Derby in the Salt Lake Stadium. It was a Large East Bengal Jersey which had a no.12 in their back which indicated as the fans being the 12th man of the Club.
The Tifo became very popular as it was something very unique and seen for the first time in Indian Football.
They marched ahead with colourful Mosaics against Bengaluru FC and Salgaocar FC in the Barasat Stadium in the 2016 I-League, thus adding another feather into their cap by adding series of firsts in Fan Culture of India.
East Bengal Ultras travelled to Siliguri and unveiled another Massive Flex as well and Pyro Shows in the 2016 Kolkata Derby Return Leg.
Although after not winning the National League for 13 Long Years, Ultras made sure they won the competition in the Stands by their intense creativity.
As we go back in history, the Ultras Culture has always been against the Commercialization of Football and so are the Ultras of East Bengal.
The Bangal Brigade showed their disapproval in the final home match in the 2015 I-League as they walked out of the stadium in 13 Minutes signalling to the officials of their struggle.
East Bengal Ultras created history in the 2016 CFL Opener in the Kalyani Stadium with India’s 1st Ever 3D Tifo which had a East Bengal Player holding the CFL Trophy in the backdrop of the Kolkata Skyline with a written slogan as ‘Kolkata Amader’ which simply means ‘Kolkata is ours’ due to theit commanding display in the Calcutta Football League.
East Bengal Ultras started the 2017 I-League Campaign with newly introduced Pole Flags and Flags and Scarf Show against Aizawl FC.
The first big thing of 2017 was the Brilliant Smoke Show and another 3D Tifo against Bengaluru FC which attracted foreign Sports Medias such as Copa90, Football Fans Asia and Exhale Sports due to a never-seen atmosphere in Indian Football. The Entire stadium was filled in Red and Yellow Smokes.
East Bengal Ultras’ immense success and creativity has paved the way for a rival Ultras Group from Mohun Bagan also known as ‘Mariners Base Camp’.
East Bengal Ultras not only has created an intimidating Atmosphere in the senior team matches but also in Youth Derbies! Chants, Poznan, Scarf Shows all have been performed in U18 and U16 Derbies against fierce rivals Mohun Bagan which makes them the special lot among other fans forums.
Ultras include students and Workers around the City and to take time and work day and night to unveil one of the best banners and flexes in Indian Football is commandable.
The Ultras Culture is slowly growing as West Block Blues, Yellow Brigade, Mariners Base Camp are putting immense efforts to compete in the stands.