ISL 2017: Why Delhi Dynamos need fan-support for football in North India to grow
Despite signing some star players, the Delhi Dynamos have failed to garner much interest from the fans
Delhi has a football team! They are known as the Delhi Dynamos and they ply their trade in the ISL (yes, the football league) and represent the capital and the northern part of the country. You are Welcome!
If you end up among some football fanatics of Delhi, you'll be surprised by their knowledge and fandom for the game. They are inquisitive about football and admire the facets of the beautiful game.
They all have an allegiance towards any one of the big clubs in the world. But very few of them are concerned about football in Delhi or for that matter, the northern part of the country.
In Delhi Dynamos, you now have a footballing Identity
The Indian Super League integrated the interests of the authorities, the football enthusiasts and the media outlets, thereby giving rise to an enriching spectacle that Indian football had never seen before and what it so dearly needed.
Football has always been popular in India. The derby between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal is one of the biggest rivalries in the world. Kolkata and Goa have a rich footballing history and culture and the game is passionately followed in these regions.
But football and Delhi are not known to jell up well together. The representation from Delhi has been non-existant on the national stage. The budding players from the region have struggled to make a mark due to a lack of exposure.
Delhi was one of eight chosen cities or regions to have a representation in the league. Being the capital of the nation, it was quite obvious.
The franchise was named The Delhi Dynamos FC and it gave football in the northern part of the country a relevant identity on the national stage.
They Create a franchise, you transform it into a club
Manjappada is a group of exceptionally devoted and ardent supporters that the Kerela Blasters are blessed with. Just recently, the group won the Fan Club of the Year Award, beating the likes of Bharat Army.
Bengaluru is not known to be a powerhouse of football, but the West Bock Blues have been prominent and persistent with their support to Bengaluru FC ever since they made their mark in the I-League and the AFC Cup. They fill the stadiums and constantly chant throughout the game to motivate the Blues.
This is what diffrentiates a franchise and a club.
A franchise is merely a team representing a geographical area, whereas a club is an umbrella under which players, the owners and most importantly, the fans with their sentiments, stand united for a common cause.
Delhi have a team, but classifying them as a club is highly debatable, if the above definition is anything to go by. You hardly find a few supporters in the stadiums, even when Delhi play at home.
There is minimum fan engagement on social media platforms. There are a few supporters but they easily get out-numbered by the supporters of their counterparts.
Incapacitated support leads to one way traffic
Delhi Dynamos FC has been a home to many legends of the game like Alessandro Del Pierro, Roberto Carlos, Florent Malouda, just to name a few.
Gianluca Zambrotta, the former Italian full-back, coached the Delhi Dynamos FC last year, but like most others, did not return to play next season.
Delhi have failed to sign major players for more than one season, and this is something that the fans should fuss about.
The Brazilian forward, Marcelo Leite Pereira along and the Indian forward, Kean Lewis formed a lethal parternship upfront for the Delhi Dynamos and they developed the habit of demolishing sides and scored goals in plenty.
Surprisingly, the Delhi management decided against retaining them for the next season. Not just them, they let go the entire squad that comprised of some star players who performed brilliantly for the team in the past, like Anas Edathodika.
These were some mysterious decisions taken by the Delhi management. It should be a matter of concern that they sparked no reactions from the fans.
Even in the biggest of clubs, fans have a big say in decision making. This is what diffrentiates a business entity and a team which has a philosphy and a strong fandom associated with it. At the moment for the Delhi Dynamos FC, it is one way traffic only.
To develop a footballing culture in the Northern Part of the country, it is equally essential for the fans to take onus and get behind the team and voice an opinion.
New Season, New Hope
Indian Super League , season four is nearly upon us. Inspite of starting from scratch, Delhi have done some smart business in the drafts, picking up the likes of Romeo Fernandes and Seityasen Singh, who are proven performers in Indian football.
Miguel Angel Portugal, who has a wealthy coaching experience worldwide, has been trusted with the managerial duties for the new season. Delhi have made some impressive foriegn signings as well.
Football is known as the beautiful game and the fans play a massive role to make it beautiful. They are the ones who carry the team forward in the time of distress and are the backbone of a team.
If there is a team that requires a strong love affair from the fans, it is the Delhi Dynamos FC. It is time that the capital finally embraces the beautifull game.
Football has to reach the households for it to compete with cricket in the northern part of te country. If it fails to do so, it would be suppressed like it has been for years. The least you can do as fans is to flock together and roar for the lions, because history is yours for the making as well.