The Fascinating Nicknames Of The Indian Super League Clubs And The History Behind It

Nitish Bhan  |  Special  |  7 Months Ago

ISL as a brand has grown by leaps and bounds in all these years and it wouldn’t be an error calling it one of the biggest sporting leagues in India and it also comes in one of the top ten sporting extravaganzas of the continent. Multiple big names were on-boarded which included the likes of Italian magician, Alessandro Del Piero, French talisman, Robert Pires, Uruguayan marksman, Diego Forlan and the league is still planning to bring on even bigger names like Bastian Schweinsteiger and others. The event is a nationwide phenomenon now and is expected to break all barriers monetarily and culturally.


This revolution is highly reflective of the avid fan culture in the Indian sports industry, especially football. These fans have shown their loyalty and support true to the bone of the sport. For some, these aren’t just clubs but a way of life, and truly so, as they can snub the heaviest of downpours, the most sweltering of summers and the coldest of winters just to watch their team play.


Interestingly, many of these ISL clubs have been given special nicknames with which these fans get a sense of personal and emotional connection. And they are…



After being named Atletico de Kolkata in the opening season, they were later rechristened as ATK after falling out with Atletico Madrid. However, the fans grew a vague sense of disconnect as the name failed to stand for anything and the team was utterly abysmal. Winged Lions are what they were dotingly called by Dada, Sourav Ganguly and has now been termed as the emblem of the club.


Bengaluru FC

Nicknamed as The Blues, Bengaluru FC is one of the most successful football clubs in the subcontinent. Bengaluru FC boasts of the most passionate fans in India. They were among the first few football clubs in the country to have an official fan club, called West Block Blues. West Block Blues started out as a bunch of football fans and has quickly evolved into a family and have shot to fame for their support to the club. The club is dotingly called the Blues for their jersey and crest colour since their inception. 


Chennaiyin FC

Chennaiyin FC is another successful football club from southern India. Right since its birth in 2014, Chennaiyin FC has won two of the four league titles. They are also known as Marina Machans, a nickname which has graced from the Marina beach exactly in the way their localities are addressed. Machans are what their fans are called after their superstar owner, Abhishek Bachchan termed them so. The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium is their home ground and their unique sobriquet aptly represents their culture and persona.

Delhi Dynamos

On the 13th April of 2014, the DEN Networks won the bidding for the Delhi franchise of the ISL. After that, they entered into an alliance with Dutch club Feyenoord and although this alliance lasted only for a year, it reaped a lot of fruits for them. They have never really looked like title contenders, but have dished out top-notch games to stun their counterparts at any point in time. Delhi is one of the few teams from the ISL that do not have a nickname so far, though their logo with the lion face at the front is a symbol that they stand for.


FC Goa

The Gaur or the Indian Bison is the largest existent cattle-grazing beast. It is native to the Indian sub-continent and South East Asia. It is unique in this part of the World and the Goans have called themselves after the name of this animal, which symbolises strength and an undying will to keep on going. This is a very special way to express what the club stands for and it suites the team and their spirit to go on, even when things get tough for them.


FC Pune City

While we were kids, our hair on the skin always stood up to a growing sense of exciting anticipation while we heard about the Italian Stallion, Rocky Balboa. Now we have our own Indian Stallions, FC Pune City, the nicknames stemming from an Indian horse. Their logo comprises of two horses standing together facing a football and their philosophy was to provide a stimulus to the growth and development of football in Maharashtra. Back in 2016, it became the only professional football club in the country to have teams that had participated at all levels of professional football in India, which is an achievement in itself. Unstoppable Stallions, you fancy? Surely!


Jamshedpur FC

Also nicknamed as the Men of Steel and aptly, the name picked by Jamshedpur FC is true to its roots. Known as the Steel City, the team is owned by Tata Steel (a subsidiary of Tata group) and is based in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand. Though founded just recently, the team has a lot to prove still and they can put in some solid performances in the upcoming seasons. Brushing aside their initial failure, the team has started rallying behind the curtains.


Kerala Blasters

Based in Kochi, Kerala, the team is co-owned by cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar and though has twice reached the grand finale of the tournament, they were humbled by ATK in both the occasions. They are undeniably a tough nut to crack and will throw everything they have up their sleeves to conquer this silverware. Under the supervision of former Premier League goalie David James, big things are possible, though only time will tell what will happen next. Despite not being a prominent one, the team has been nicknamed as the Yellow Brigade occasionally.


Mumbai City FC

Owned by Ranbir Kapoor and nicknamed The Islanders, the team has rather been disappointing so far and have not really lived up to their expectations. Founded in 2014, they are named after the multiple islands that contribute to the city of Mumbai. They have seen some top players playing for them over the years, though the fans are still waiting for a breakthrough season.


North East United FC

A club from Assam, they call themselves The Highlanders and is owned by Bollywood actor John Abraham. Though they have put in some really gilt-edged performances, the results are yet to show and hopefully, they will be awarded for their diligence soon as the fans expect. They can be considered the ultimate underdogs, though the club is a representative of 8 states in total and is now being managed by former Chelsea boss Avram Grant.


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