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edited June 2011 in United SC
Chirag United – Redefining Kolkota Football


Just few years ago for those interested in Indian Football, Kolkata football meant three nouns – Mohunbagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting. But now the picture has changed drastically. With the continuous downfall (supposedly) in performances of the two giants (Mohunbagan and East-Bengal) and almost dead (situation of) Mohammedan Sporting, some so-called small teams are coming in the picture, and Chirag United is a name that stands out among these.

The club was established in 1927 as Eveready Association. Up until the start of this century it was the only club that gave a fight, to the Giants, in the Calcutta Premier league. And with the continuous efforts of some sports enthusiastic in Kolkata like Mr. Alokesh Kundu and Corporate boss like Mr. Utpal Ganguly, situation started to change from the first-half of the last decade. In 2006, Eveready started their new journey; RP Group (Manufacturer of the PC & Laptop under brand name Chirag) had acquired the club. Under the Chairmanship of Mr. Koustuv Roy, a highly successful businessman and a great football lover, Chirag United became Kolkata’s first corporate club.

Mr. Roy took all the necessary steps to make Chirag united not only one of the top football sides in India but also a team where Bengali players are getting chance to prove their skills in football.

Even though the traditional Kolkota giants (Mohan Bagan and East Bengal) have a turn-over figure in multi crores, Chirag is showing constant improvement in performance at the state as well as national level competitions, in spite of giving priority to the local footballers. Though this club doesn’t have its own fan-base, its own stadium or even its own ground to practice, but nothing stops them to succeed at the top level.

Chirag United came under limelight form the beginning of the 21st century. Up until 2006, they had won only three medium category all-India football tournaments, namely – Airlines Cup in 2003, Kalinga Cup in 2004 & Sikkim Governor’s Cup. They also reached to the final of IFA Shield in 2005. After becoming Chirag United in 2006, they have started to show their command more strongly. They clinched promotion to the first division, I-league, in 2008. Chirag United is the only team apart from three other big clubs of Kolkata to win the Durand Cup in 2010. They became Trades Cup Winner in 2007, finished Third Place in Kolkata League in 2007 and second place in 2009.

And for last three years they are finishing 8th in the I-League. Doesn’t seem to be a fancy number, but such consistency is a great achievement for any new club.

The vision of giving Bengali players a chance to prove themselves is really appreciable, especially when Kolkata’s other two I-league sides are running after the big names in the time of transfer, Chirag always kept their faith in the local boys. Former Mohunbagan defender and India’s one of the most successful coach, Subrata Bhattacharya (Famous Babluda) has worked a lot to form this Bengali-brigade.

When they were acquiring this club, Chirag’s boss Mr. Koustuv Roy once told in an interview that their club will show the path to the rest of India by producing local players and winning trophies as well.

Five years down the line and Chirag United is still following the same principle and also cementing their name amongst the top names of the country.

As of now, it seems impossible that Chirag united shall ever be able to be better than Mohan Bagan and East Bengal. But in football, as in life, nothing is impossible.

Anirban Bose

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