ISL 2017: Kerala Blasters star sparks Manchester United vs Liverpool off-pitch banter
This summer, at the Indian Super League club Kerala Blasters, there is a distinctive Manchester United flavour. The Kochi-based club have roped in two former Manchester United employees this summer and their chief executive officer, Varun Tripuraneni, is a self-confessed Manchester United die hard fan.
Rene Meulensteen was recently appointed the Blasters' new head coach while yesterday, the club announced the signing of five-time Premier League champion Wes Brown. Both Meulensteen and Brown were part of Alex Ferguson's era of relentless success at Old Trafford and are, hence, widely known, Brown in particular.
With negotiations currently ongoing between Kerala Blasters and Dimitar Berbatov, another former Manchester United star could be joining Meulensteen and Brown in the United party in Kochi. The Berbatov signing is imminent if close sources are to be believed, making the Blasters squad for the 2017-18 Indian Super League season one with a big Red Devils influence.
However, there is another plot to the story, one that concerns the biggest domestic rivals of Manchester United, Liverpool. Both Liverpool and Manchester United are two of the most successful English clubs and enjoy a fan base that extends to the farthest corners of the globe. India, too, has a large group of fanatical followers of both clubs and one of the most famous Indian Liverpool fans is Kerala Blasters forward CK Vineeth.
Vineeth, who wished Brown upon his unveiling at Kerala Blasters, is an ardent Liverpool fan and got the banter started alongside fellow Blasters forward and Reds fan Iain Hume late last night.
It all started during the day when Vineeth welcomed Brown with an Old Trafford reference.
A few hours later, before Liverpool's important Champions League qualifier against Hoffenheim, Vineeth was at it again, perhaps in a bid to have a bit of fun with the Manchester United group at Kerala Blasters.
Kerala Blasters are seemingly having all the fun before the real thing of the ISL starts in mid-November. Interestingly, Vineeth has also named his home Anfield, a tribute to the fabled home ground of Liverpool.
The Kerala Blasters banter party has already started, with a special English North-West derby touch to it. Should Meulensteen and co guide Kerala Blasters to the ISL title next season, it will mark another success story for the Manchester United-Liverpool rivalry after the crowd-pulling gigs of Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville on Sky Sports.