Question: Ever since
the beginning of football administration, it can be said that you have been
running a club almost singlehandedly, Chirag, Prayag and now United Sports…
Answer: Chirag or
Prayag both were our sponsors, title sponsors. The club was United Sports Club.
First Chirag was the sponsor, and then Prayag came in as the sponsor…
Question: Could you
tell us about your experiences in running the club?
Answer: The club
is a very old club, it was established in 1927. The club was called Eveready
Association. When we took over the club, it used to play in the fifth division.
Our secretary, Alokesh Kundu, was associated with Bhatrisangha club. He left
Bhatrisangha club and took over this club. We became fifth Division champion
and were promoted to the Fourth Division, later became Fourth Div. champ and
were promoted to the Third Division. We were stuck in the Third Division for
one year. The next year we were promoted to the Second Division. Then I think
there was the First Division B group, the A Group and then Premier…no, then
there used to the Super Division. Once, there was a decision that the first
nine teams of the Super Division would be playing in the Premier Division.
Since we were in the top nine, we stayed in the Premier League…a long history.
Question: Could you
tell us a bit more about your experience about playing in the I-League? From
this position, you got a chance to play in the I-league and formed such an
in the I-league in those days was very different from playing in the I-league
today. Playing even in the I-league Second division was very tough. First,
there was the question of funds, we arranged the funds. Then there was the need
of a good coach. We selected Amal Dutta as our coach: Amal-da was our coach for
a long time. I could not avail of the services of two coaches, Bengali coaches,
P.K. Banerjee and Subhash Bhowmick in my tenure. I was talking about this with
Subhas-da last night. I still harbour a desire appoint him as a coach, in any
one of our clubs, at the senior or junior level. He has got a good eye (for
talent). He has a dash of arrogance in him; of course, a bit of attitude is not
bad…The year we qualified for the I-league, we had two strikers, Theo and
Francis. Amal-da was our coach then. Amal-da had conducted the practice, but
could not travel with the club because of illness. Anjan Nath, our assistant
coach, travelled with the team. We had a striker, Theodore Sunday Wrobeh, a
Liberian player who now lives in America. After leaving United, he played for
Mohammedan Sporting and made them League runners. He was an excellent player.
That team had Sasthi Dulay, Gouranga Biswas and a host of other upcoming
Bengali boys, which can rarely be found nowadays. It had a lot of talented
Bengali boys and good foreigners. We invested lot of time and effort in this
team and it ultimately qualified for the I-League.
Question: Yan law has
appreciated you and said that we need more people like Nabab Sir in India
Answer: I have
known Yan for a long time…ever since he played for India. Yan’s father is an
extremely decent man. He loves sports, theirs is a sports family. I feel
extremely happy that he is now coaching in the I-League and achieving so much
success. He will be more successful…his football knowledge is very good and he always
tried to stay updated which is one of the prerequisites of a good coach
nowadays. He will only get better with time.
Question: When your
team played in the I-league, you had a lot of Bengali players. Even after that,
a number of Bengali players have emerged in Bengal under your guidance or your
Answer: I would
not say under my guidance…Now there are three formats of the I-League: Under13,
Under15 and Under18. What happened was I am associated with a district club,
Shyamnagar Tarun Sangha. We had a Nursery league. The problem was where would
we accommodate those boys who performed well in this Nursery League. You must remember
that this was the period when our club was in top form with the likes of Carlos
Hernandez and Ranti Martins playing for our team. It was a matter of concern
that these budding players were being recruited by different other clubs. We noted
that while playing in different styles and under different systems, many of
these talents got lost or could not fructify. We then took over another Fifth Division
club called Pathachakra. There was no process of regular payment those days. If
you won the game, you got a sum of Rs. 200 and a meal of mutton/chicken curry.
What we did was we kept the best team among these young kids together, thus
ensuring that they got a platform, the same coaching pattern and the same
culture. Over time Pathachakra was promoted to Premier Division. We also
provided opportunity to some other players…those who had suffered injury, were undergoing
rehab and only got fit in the later stages of the league. We used to tell them
to play, say, the last 5 teams for the match: in the process, they got a fair
amount of match practice. Ultimately Pathachakra reached Premier Division…even
now they play in the Premier Division B. Today those who qualify from Under18
play for Pathachakra…players who are 18, 19 and 20 play for Pathachakra. Those who
are better play for United. In the meantime, if there is some offer from some
other club, so much the better for the player. We hand them over to these clubs.
Monotosh Chaklader was recruited to East Bengal and Provat Lakra was recruited
by NEUFC by this process. Not only are they good players, they both have excellent
character. Hopefully they will be successful in future.
(to be Contd.)
that's a good name. its a battery company name right? but sounds good.
Giving jersey to Mario at Kalyani Stadium