When one hears the word 'Football Ultras' in a conversation, he/she often conjectures about the ultra-radical ultras based in Eastern Europe and South America. Ultras are actually a group of football fans who are renowned for their extra-zealous support.
Examples of the biggest ultra Fan Groups include Los Piratas Celestes de Alberdi (Club Atletico Belgrano - Argentina), Gruppo Barbour (AC Milan - Italy), Los fans del Perro Muerto (Delfin Sporting Club - Italy), Music Hall (Zenit St Petersburg - Russia), Green Apes (Maccabi Haifa - Israel), Chevignon Fighters (Fortuna Dusseldorf - Germany), Los Xeneizes (Boca Juniors - Argentina) Legia Warsaw Ultras (Legia Warsaw - Poland) and Ultaslan (Galasataray - Turkey).
Also Read: 10 most dangerous ultras of world football
These groups come to the mind when the most passionate, radical and energetic fan groups around the world are talked about. Given India's sporadic taste for football in comparison to cricket, fans seldom talk about the Indian Football fan groups who have emerged since 2013 in both the I-League and the Indian Super League.
However, East Bengal Ultras, also known as the Bangal Brigade (due to the ethnicity of majority of the fanbase) have brought about a change in the stadium culture by creating an intimidating atmosphere in the stands.
Originally, founded in 2013, the ultras featured as a small singing group in an away game against Bengaluru FC in Bengaluru. Since then, the Bangal Brigade has grown by leaps and bounds after displaying gigantic Tifos (2D and 3D), smokeshows and mosaics on the stands.
Such was the magnitude of their coordination on the stands that big Football Medias like Ultras-Tifo, Copa90, Football Fans Asia and Exhale Sports took notice and featured the ever growing bunch of the passionate fans.
With several other Indian Fan Groups such as West Block Blues, B-Stand Blues, Orange Army, Manjappada coming to the fore resulting in immense competition on the stands to display banners and tifos to ridicule the opposition, the Bangal Brigade pulled off something exceptional in a Calcutta Football League game played between East Bengal and Aryan Club on 18th August 2018.
Scores of pyros were lit just at the end of the game which resulted in one of the finest scenes ever witnessed on the stands in India. Fans singing at top of their voice caught all the attention of the rival fans and the players and made it a special occasion. An attempt to bring the Legia Warsaw Pyro show to the Maidan and boy did they succeed!
A powerful corteo to the venue accompanied by smokeshow at the start of the game along with a Scarves Show. A perfect opportunity for a non-Indian Football Fan to get the hype and the passion surrounding the beautiful game in India despite the country being repeatedly called as a 'Cricket Nation'.
Several other fan groups across the country have lit up Pyros at the games, but has never been such a spectacle to behold. Kudos to the hardwork and dedication shown by the East Bengal Ultras a.k.a Bangal Brigade for pulling off this extravaganza. Looking forward to more of such beautiful displays from fans across the country.
In case you missed the show, you can relive the best moments from the stands here :