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Lady Mariners: A Whiff of fresh air in the masculine world of Fans clubs

Arijit Mukherjee  |  Mohun Bagan  |  1 Year Ago

Fan’s club is a very common concept in world of sports specially football. India of all places silently have given rise to a phenomenon which if done properly will be the ultimate removal of the glass ceiling in the world of sports.

 

We have heard and read a lot of the likes of Sakshi Malik, Saina Nehwal, P V Sindhu, Sania Mirza, BemBem Devi, Mary Kom, Kuntala Ghosh Dastidar as well as the Alakhpura girls, they have been pioneers in Indian sports and no two ways about it. But, when it comes to sports viewing and sports lovers it has always been a men’s bastion. The Lady Mariners are actually bucking that trend rather I would say breaking the glass ceiling on their own effervescent and unique manner.

 

Even five years back it was pretty unimaginable for us to see ladies visiting football grounds and other sporting arenas apart from cricket just to watch the game and for the love of the game. It is becoming a reality now in the much maligned world of Indian Football!! No not in the glitz and glamour of the ISL but in our very own I-League.

 

A motley crew of effervescent and fresh faced college students and young professionals are getting about the change. They call themselves Lady Mariners, most of them are from typical Bengali conservative households but have dared to love football in general and MohunBagan in particular.





In the midst of these young gang is the heartthrob of the group an 80 year old woman whom they lovingly call “Didun”, a lady with unbridled energy and unrelenting toothy smile on her face which I had the pleasure of experiencing first hand. She just for the love of MohunBagan walks 8-10 kilometers with the young girls without even a twitch on her face, which many of us guys would dare not to!! I personally would not for sure!! I would go to the extent of saying people like “Didun” and countless others who sacrifice a lot personally  just to be fans and watch the stars play should be the face of Indian Football not the ones in fancy cars, Armani suits and loads of rubbish.

 

The whole concept of this wonderful forum is to break the norm of ladies not feeling comfortable in watching a match from the stands in midst of raucous crowd of men. They have silently but surely set in motion a change which if reaches the full potential will be a game-changer in Indian Sports. Though we do see a pretty large number of female following in the North-Eastern part of India for any soccer game but none before Lady Mariners have thought of building a forum exclusively for ladies.

 

As pointed out to me by Barsha a core member of the forum, this concept is only their in Brazil and the next one in the world to implement all-ladies fans club are them. Moreover talking to them makes it clear they are not just temporary glory-hunters they are well-read in football and history of the game and MohunBagan and they have a clear vision in mind.

 

Maddy, another of the core members when asked by yours truly about their long-term plans and goals was extremely crisp and clear. She stated “We are formulating plans to involve more girls to follow our trend and be a part of the family, we are also looking to get involved into community service as much as possible with our meager means.”





They were vocal about the fact they want all clubs to take a leaf out of their book and have fan groups comprising of ladies just like them and they reiterated “this is not because we want to compete but the more girls join this initiative from other clubs as well the better. This will help in admonishing the clubs of the ghost of militant supporters and unruly crowd trouble, on the contrary it may create an atmosphere for families to come and watch a game of football.” They want to assure girls and lady fans about the environment at a football stadium and want more to join them at the stadium cheering for their favorite clubs. 

 

One day before the derby they went to one of the oldest college in Kolkata, Ashutosh College, to spread awareness about their initiative and by the look of things aroused many curious glances from passer-bys, students and teachers alike. They even got into a light-hearted slogan beating with some fans from their eternal rivals East Bengal. To be honest it was a teat to watch for a change the girls beating the boys at their own game, as they walloped the rival fans on war of words just by sheer number and vocal energy.

 

The best part of this group is their unbridled energy and love for the game. The passion they have for MohunBagan is pretty intoxicating. They looked pretty focused on breaking the notion that a football match in India especially in Kolkata is not safe for women to watch in an arena. 

 

On a lighter note, we see many posts on social media stating that guys should not let go of a girl who understands football, Guys, tongue in cheek, we have a whole bunch of them here and more to follow.

 

It was heartening to see the extension of support to the girls from all the MohunBagan fan clubs irrespective of their group. Many of the Mariner guys and veteran Mariners were present at their event to lend their moral support and extend their knowledge to the young girls. The solidarity shown to the cause by all the Fan clubs is worth mentioning here. 

 

Lastly, this is just the beginning and if the Lady Mariners do get the support of the club administration and the associations as well as the normal fans, we may see something special happening in this part of the world which for a change would teach the other footballing nations to inculcate. It is a movement though started by fans of MohunBagan should be replicated by everyone just for the good and survival of the game here in India. 

 

Personally, it was a privilege to see the enthusiasm the Lady Mariners have for their cause and the honest intent they have to spread the love of football and MohunBagan across the country. If implemented properly and encouraged this can become a revenue stream for the clubs, having a healthy atmosphere in the stands will attract more crowds to the ground thus boosting ticket sales and merchandize sales as well as sustain the legacy of the age-old clubs as well as the new clubs.

 

In the end, positive stories like these can only lead to the right path and encouraging positive steps taken by fans is the most important role the administrators play as fans in any sport is the most important cog in the wheel for its success.

 

 






 

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