ISL 2018-19: Kerala Blasters v Jamshedpur FC - Most of Manjappada Boycott Game
Manjappada, the fan Army of the Kerala Blasters decided to boycott their 10th game of the ongoing Hero Indian Super League (ISL) season against Jamshedpur FC, on Tuesday owing to the team's poor performances this season.
Accordingly, the rain-hit match was played in front of an uncharacteristically vacant atmosphere at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi.
David James' men are having their worst ever run in the competition after failing to win since their opening day triumph away from home to ATK back in September. Despite being on the receiving end of a number of questionable refereeing decisions early on in the season, the Blasters have failed to turn the tide in recent weeks and were lucky to come away with a point against Chennaiyin FC at the Marina Arena last week.
The repercussions to what has been a catastrophic start to the new season have affected attendance figures in recent games with the number dwindling to a paltry 20,000 during the Blasters' last home game against FC Goa.
On the wake of what has been testing time both on and off the pitch, the Manjappada fan group decided to run a poll on social media to make their voices heard and the majority agreed on boycotting the game against Jamshedpur FC.
Furthermore, the fan group also questioned the tactics deployed by the head coach until now by demanding that the supporters deserve to watch their team play an attractive brand of football as opposed to what has transpired in recent weeks.
James had responded to the claims by admitting that it is indeed testing times for the supporters and players alike, but the issue seems to have escalated a few notches at least after having witnessed an empty gallery just minutes away from kick-off today.
The movement is expected to cause a stir in the eyes of the management, who will now be aiming to make better decisions so as to facilitate a smooth process in rebuilding of the relationship between the ardent supporters of the club.
The consequence of the movement could leave a blotch on the image of Indian football as Lothar Matthaus was invited to attend the game. Matthaus' first impression on Indian football would take a hit as the game had to be played in front of a largely vacant stadium.
Matthaus, a World Cup winner during his time with Germany, arrived in India as the ambassador for Bundesliga, Germany's top-flight division.
Early observations suggest that the attendance figure could potentially be the lowest ever at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi with the fans clearly making themselves heard even without being physically present at the venue.