"Colours with a past and spirit" - what the 4 digits in the back of Kerala Blaster's home kit signify
Kerala has always been a football-crazy state. It always was, it still is and will perhaps, continue to be in the future as well. Since the inception of the Indian Super League, Kerala Blasters has been one of the most passionately supported clubs in Indian football.
KBFC finished runners-up in the first year of the ISL. They were narrowly beaten by Atletico De Kolkata in the final. Since then, it has largely been a poor ride from the south Indian outfit.
But on-field performances have never dwindled the support and love it has received over the years from Manjappada, which is their organized supporters group. The state has always been behind the team, in success and in failure.
Inspiration from Kerala's golden football past
On 20th September, 2021, Kerala Blasters, in association with Six5Sixsport, revealed their home kit for the upcoming campaign. While a large part of it is the traditional yellow which the Kochi-based side has always worn, the four small numeric digits in the back grabbed all attention.
The four digits read '1973'. In what looks like a simple year from the past, not everyone knows that there is a lot of history attached to it.
1973 is a year for Kerala like no other. It was the year they won their first ever Santosh Trophy.
On 27th December, Kerala faced their fierce opponents in the form of Railways on the Maharajas College ground. By their own admissions, Kerala, on paper, were the underdogs. But ultimately it was the South Indian state which won the thrilling contest 3-2 and etched their names in glorious history.
It was a great moment for the whole state. The next day was declared a state holiday which was unthinkable at that time and even today. Crowds surrounded the team bus with their wishes and cheers and the players, who recalled their happy memories, said that those were remarkable moments.
The 1973 triumph was a catalyst for making the state fall in love once again with football. Ask any Keralite and they would proudly admit that 1973 was the spark which set ablaze a box of emotions in everyone's minds.
The Initiative taken by Kerala Blasters FC is not only a welcome one but it is heartwarming as well. As the Yellow Army is set to begin its journey under new gaffer Ivan Vukamanovic, fans will begin to hope. They will pray that the spirit of '73, etched in their kits, can propel them to their first ever title. For now, KBFC's decision has gone down very well with fans and even rivals alike.
But come the month of November, tensions will be high and expectations will be higher. The fans have waited a long time for their maiden title. Will the spirit of '73 provide that extra push that might take Kerala Blasters FC and their fans to the promised land for the first time? Only time will tell, but for now, the tribute by KBFC to the past and its heroes has been highly appreciated.