The ISL’s Kolkata Derby beckoning, Goal brings you the complete guide to what the contest between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan has offered…
The first Kolkata derby of the new season is historic in every possible way as the big-ticket clash of Indian football will be played in the Indian Super League for the first time in history.
As the two Kolkata giants begin a new journey in the country’s top tier league, we bring you a complete guide to this titanic match.
A is for Anthony : The newest foreign recruit of East Bengal has played for Premier League side Norwich City and has also represented the Republic of Ireland in international football. Anthony Pilkington has been a massive signing for the Red and Golds and all eyes will be on the 32-year-old winger when East Bengal make their debut in the ISL on Friday.
B is for Bhaichung : The Sikkimese Sniper, Bhaichung Bhutia has scored 19 goals in the eponymous Kolkata Derby, 13 for East Bengal while six in his second stint as a Mohun Bagan player.
C is for Chingri : Mohun Bagan fans – the ‘native’ Ghotis have made themselves synonymous with chingri – prawns. The debate still continues with Bagan fans famously felicitating players with specially prepared garlands of Golda Chingri (Jumbo Prawns) after a derby win.
D is for Douglas : The versatile Brazilian footballer joined East Bengal in 2002 and was at the club for three and half seasons. During that time, Douglas de Silva won 11 trophies including two back-to-back National Football League (NFL) titles and the famous ASEAN Cup. In 2007, he joined arch-rivals Mohun Bagan and spent two seasons with the Mariners. A unique record which the Brazilian holds is that he has never lost a Kolkata derby.
E is for Embarrassment : Losing the Kolkata Derby is damning and a gut-wrenching experience. The embarrassment a team brings to itself is insurmountable and the echoes of the defeat still ring the ears of the ones involved until the next derby is played.
F is for Fans : The Kolkata derby is all about the millions of fans of Mohun Bagan and East Bengal who throng the stadium whenever the two rivals clash. Unfortunately, for the first time in history, the derby will be played without the presence of any fans in the stadium due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
G is for Goa : The Kolkata derby will be played in Goa this season as the ongoing ISL season is being held there as a centralised venue due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
H is for Habas: Antonio Lopez Habas is the new manager of ATK Mohun Bagan FC. The Spanish coach is a veteran in the ISL and is also the most successful coach in the history of the league, having won it twice with ATK.
I is for Ilish : The Hilsa fish, or Ilish as it is known, is the Bangal reply to the Chingri. Ilish is served when East Bengal win over Mohun Bagan.
J is for Jose Ramirez Barreto: The Brazilian Magician, Jose Ramirez Barreto is a revered figure among the Mariners’ faithful, having netted 17 derby goals while donning the Green and Maroon jersey. This is a record for goals scored by a player for a single team in the Kolkata derby.
K is for Krishanu Dey: The ‘Indian Maradona’ played for both the clubs over a span of 22 years in the ’80s and ’90s. He made many defenders lose sleep over his ability to convert meagre chances into goals. He formed a lethal attacking combination with Chima Okorie at Mohun Bagan.
L is for Loyalty: While the likes of Goutam Sarkar, Prasanta Banerjee, Dulal Biswas and Renedy Singh have skippered both sides in their career, players like Jose Barreto, Subrata Bhattacharya, Satyajit Chatterjee, Chuni Goswami, Sailen Manna (All Mohun Bagan) and Tushar Rakshit, Alvito D’Cunha, Ahmed Khan, Tulsidas Balaram (All East Bengal) never jumped ships. Rest assured, supporters would always stay loyal to their badge, forever.
M is for Maidan: Maidan is the iconic green belt of central Kolkata which houses the East Bengal and Mohun Bagan grounds. Many great players have started their careers at the Maidan.
N is for Nepal Chakraborty: The two teams clashed for the first time in history on 28 May 1925 in the Calcutta Football League when a solitary Nepal Chakraborty goal gave East Bengal a victory over their next door rivals, Mohun Bagan.
O is for Okorie: Chima Okorie represented the Green and Maroon side in two stints, between 1991-93 and 1997-99, winning trophies galore including a National Football League.
P is for Pal: Gostho Behari Pal was a Mohun Bagan legend. He played for 24 successive seasons between 1912 and 1936. Nicknamed the ‘Wall of China‘, Pal was the first ever footballer to receive the Padma Shri. His legacy continues as the road leading to the Bagan ground is named after him.
Q is for Quess: Quess Corp were the former investors of East Bengal who parted ways with the club in June 2020 ending a two-year association with the club. After the Bengaluru-based firm left, the club brought in Shree Cement Limited as their new investors which facilitated their move to ISL this season.
R is for Robbie: The Liverpool legend has joined East Bengal this season as their head coach and will lead the Kolkata giants as they are all set to make their debut in the ISL.
S is for Suresh Chandra Chaudhuri: A noted industrialist, he was vice president of the erstwhile Jorabagan club but left his position after star player Sailesh Bose was not allowed to start against Mohun Bagan and formed a breakaway club which now is known as East Bengal.
T is for Thapa: Legendary striker Shyam Thapa scored a brace on 29 September 1975 when the Red and Golds trounced Mohun Bagan 5-0 in the IFA Shield finals – the highest margin of victory in the derby till date. Also, not many can forget his scissor kick goal, this time for Mohun Bagan in the 1978 CFL derby at the Eden Gardens.
U is for Umakanto Palodhi : Umakanto Palodhi, a Mohun Bagan supporter committed suicide after the 0-5 loss in 1975. In his suicide note, the following line was written – “In my next birth, I will take the revenge by becoming a Mohun Bagan footballer.”
V is for Vijayan: The legendary Indian striker has had his fair share of derby experience. ‘ Kalo Harin’ or Black Buck as he was affectionately called, has played for both the Kolkata giants.
W is for Win-Rate: East Bengal have a win rate of 37.77 per cent, marginally overshadowing Mohun Bagan’s 33.33 per cent in the NFL and I-League. The Red and Golds have won the tie 17 times in the I-League while Bagan have won it 15 times. 13 matches ended in a draw.
X is for Xavier Pius: In the 70s and 80s, there was a long-haired and bearded striker from Kerala who used to set the Maidan on fire with his lethal strikes. His name was Xavier Pius, a Mohun Bagan legend who now serves as a coach for youth teams in his home state.
Y is for Yuvabharati Krirangan : The Salt Lake Stadium or Yuvabharati Krirangan has been the ‘Colosseum’ for the derby. An arena which once housed more than 120,000 fanatics has been a part of history hosting quite memorable derbies. The ‘Mecca of Indian football’ had a major facelift for the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup.
Z is for Zest: There is no other fixture in Indian football that can produce the kind of zest that the Kolkata derby can produce. The energy and enthusiasm surrounding the fixture starts weeks back and reaches a crescendo as the game approaches among fans. The same applies to the players as well.