Football is something every Shillongite keeps close to his heart. Affectionately known as the Scotland of the east, this paradise like hill station with merely a population of two lakhs have always embrace football be it the FIFA world cup, the UEFA European cups, the EPL, the I-league or even the local Shillong super division league. A walk in the street during the World cup or the European cup is sure to give you a fair indication of how much this city breathes football.
Shillong Lajong FC was the first team from the North-East to qualify for I-league; their first home match against Air India in 2009 drew an astounding crowd of 30,000 fans. Such a huge turnout of football-mad fans was hardly ever seen in Indian football, barring the famous Kolkata derby.
Fast forward to Shillong Lajong’s home match in 2016, the attendance have been really low with an average of only six to seven thousand. Even the anticipated North-East derby against Aizawl FC could only draw seven and half thousand fans. Where did the crowd disappear? Let’s look at the different reasons that could have dwindled the number of fans coming to the stadium.
#1 Shillong Lajong’s poor run of form
For a team that has played in India’s top division for five consecutive seasons, to be still embroiled in the relegation tussle in nearly every season has been a reason of frustration for fans. Lajong somehow avoided the drop in the previous season in their very last match courtesy of Cornell Glen’s hat trick against Kingfisher East Bengal.
A new look team hasn’t done them any better. This season too seems to be heading the same way like the previous season, flirting with the relegation line.
What has further dampened the spirit of the fans this season apart from the relegation tussle is also the toothless attack of Lajong. The I-League seeason has seen them score only twelve goals from their fourteen matches so far.