East Bengal players were left to feel the fury or rather indifference from their management after their exit from the Federation Cup yesterday at the hands of bitter rivals Mohun Bagan. The Red and Gold camp has been mired by controversies throughout this campaign and today was no different as the players, feeling insulted by the travel arrangement made by the club, took it upon themselves to reach back home.
A source close to the situation spoke to Sportskeeda on the condition of anonymity. He quipped, “Firstly there were no high-ranking official present in Cuttack and till late last night, the situation was that the management had failed to acquire flight tickets for the team and told the team that they will have to make the near 450 km trip back to Kolkata via a bus that they would try to arrange on Monday.
This, however, did not go down well with the players and especially the foreigners.
“This is nothing but callousness from the East Bengal management. This how they want to show their anger on the players,” our man on the situation quipped.
Thus, many decided to arrange their own way back home on Monday morning with players reverting to planes as well as trains to get back home at the earliest. With reservations not available on trains and after feeling bereaved by the own club’s behaviour towards them, some of the players even were willing to take on the humiliation of sitting in awkward corners in the train to get away from the toxic environment.
“A bunch of players from Bengal (which includes Indian internationals Mehtab Hossain, Arnab Mondal and Narayan Das) wanted to return to the city immediately instead of brooding over the defeat at Cuttack and have arranged for their own travel at their expense,” our source further confirmed.
The club after getting a whiff of the situation and with many players missing from the team hotel in the morning has arranged for three Innovas to bring the remaining East Bengal squad home which includes the coach.
The East Bengal camp has been in turmoil ever since the beginning of the season with the club’s general secretary himself stating in an interview early on in the campaign that he would be surprised if the team won anything this season. There was always tension in the air following Trevor Morgan’s return to the club but as long as the results were coming, everyone seemed to have pushed the issues under the mat.
However, as East Bengal began to totter in middle of their campaign, the anxious voices were heard again and everything came to a boil when East Bengal lost the Kolkata derby at Siliguri earlier in the I-League – effectively putting an end to their aspiration of lifting the I-League.
This was followed by protests from the fans and altercations with the players. And one game later, East Bengal parted ways with Trevor Morgan.
The club in the following days also parted ways with their Australian recruit Chris Payne and then saw their new coach Mridul Banerjee get injured and ruled out for the rest of the season in his first training stint.
The Federation Cup thus remained as the last beacon of hope for East Bengal for salvaging any pride from this dilapidated season. However, with the loss to Mohun Bagan on Sunday – their second in the Kolkata Derby in a row, that last hope also extinguished.
However, it is really disheartening to see that the officials could not even prepare travel a proper travel itinerary for some of the best Indian players.