West Block Blues away travel diary
To be a fan of Bengaluru FC is something to be very proud of – if you don’t believe me, then you need to be part of the West Block Blues clan to know it! As someone who joined the tribe a couple of months ago, I have been able to experience the fandom which I only read on blogs or followed on the television set until now.
I was just another typical Indian football fan who cheered for European teams wearing European colors, but to be honest following the European leagues can get boring as you only get to watch the action on the screen, and you never really know the players that well. To sum it up, you simply don’t have a team to call your own, a team you can be proud of, players whom you can follow closely and last but not the least, get to watch them play live from the stands.
As a Bengaluru FC fan, I’m a total football fan who gets to enjoy the beautiful game in all its glory! A big thank you to JSW Group and Manager Ashley Westwood who was one of the key members in establishing the Bengaluru FC team in 2013, and after winning the i-League in the very first season there has been no-looking-back for the team.
After a perfect start to this season, our team has found the going get tougher with every match, and currently, we are placed 2nd in the I-league table. I was there in the west stand at the Kanteerava Stadium when we lost to Sporting Club de Goa 2-1, unable to beat the ten men Goan team.
It was a game marred by fouls and silly time-wasting tactics by the visitors who simply cared more about the points than the spirit of the game.
An away tie against Sporting Club de Goa
Bengaluru FC was to play Sporting Club de Goa on 6 March 2016 at the Fatorda Stadium, and the famous West Block Blues had planned an away trip to cheer the team. I decided to join them for the event, brushing aside all the pending work I had, to cheer my team from the stands in an away game for the first time.
The match was ideal for Bengaluru FC fans to cheer for the team and give them moral support in light of what had transpired during the home game. The away trip got the moniker – Odafa is falling!
We started from Bengaluru Football Stadium on 4th of March in the Bengaluru FC team bus! Yes, you read it right – in the official team bus! The players had left early to acclimatize and train for the match, and we got to travel in the Bengaluru FC official team bus – a big thank you to the BFC team officials and a special thanks to Akash who accompanied us and was sporting enough to endure the antics of our tribe.
We boarded the bus around 8.30 PM, and our destination was Colva, Goa. We sang aloud our chants and anthems on the way and after a stop for dinner we took off and reached Colva around 11.30 AM. After having brunch we finally checked into a nearby Hotel close to the beach.
It was time to re-energise and play some beach football. As the day came to an end, it was time for us to cheer our Europeans lads in the Premier League, which was more of a rehearsal for our Bengaluru FC match the next day.
The day finally arrived! Sunday it was, and unlike any other Sunday, it was the day for us West Block Blues to cause a commotion in the stands, a lot of chanting, waving our flags, and smoking up the stands blue was the order of the day.
We once again went to the same restaurant – Pastahut to have lunch and get some energy flowing. While we waited for the team bus to drop the players at the stadium and return to pick us up, we rehearsed our chants and took some snaps and found a new fan!
We arrived at the stadium with a bang! The kick-off was at 4.30 PM and we got our ensemble ready in no time for the match. The customary unfurling of the flag was a treat to watch!
The entire west stand took a hue of blue as we lit the smoke bombs. It was all screaming and chanting and some dry banter in the stands while the players slugged it out in the sweltering Goan heat. No wonder the Sporting fans call themselves the flaming orange!
The west block fell silent when our team fell behind 1-0 to a freak goal, it was evident that our team’s morale took a huge blow as we soon conceded another goal making the score 2-0 in favor of Sporting.
Hope is our belief at the West Block Blues and our team didn’t disappoint, as we won a penalty which our skipper Sunil Chettri converted with ease to pull one back just before the stroke of half time. Sporting led 2-1 at the end of the first half, however, were down to ten men due to the red card awarded to Loveday Okechukwu.
It was advantage Bengaluru FC in the second half and the team strategy was simply to attack! We came close to scoring many times and in the 67th minute, Sunil Chettri scored the equalizer of a soaring cross from the right wing. Our team tried their best as the winning goal eluded us time and again. The match ended 2-2 – Bengaluru FC’s first draw this season in the i-League. Read the full match report here.
After the match, we decided to send off our players with a guard of honour. After all it was a terrific comeback trailing 2-0 for most of the first half. It was time for a rock star send off to our players, manager and the staff.
We gathered to form a pathway for the players to board their team bus, and as each player passed we chanted their names to show our love for the team and appreciation for the gritty comeback to draw the match.
We left the Fatorda stadium and boarded the team bus and were on our way back to Bengaluru. We reached the Bengaluru Football Stadium on Monday morning, safe and sound, thanks to our venerable driver, as our clan dispersed wishing each other farewell.
This was my first away match as a Bengaluru FC fan, and it was a memorable experience to the say the least, going forward I have a strong feeling that our clan will grow to an extent where we may have to book an entire flight for our team’s away game!