While the Indian Super League has brought pomp and show to some parts of the country, almost alien to ‘The Beautiful Game’, for others – the dormant footballing volcano has erupted vigorously. The State of Goa is one such ‘footballing volcano’ which has erupted ever since the announcement of FC Goa – a franchisee based in Goa.
In a state divided by umpteen football clubs, most notably the traditional Dempos, Sportings and Churchill Brothers, FC Goa offered as safe pathway for a state divided by different allegiances, to unite under one flag. Sights of FC Goa’s home ground, The Fatorda Stadium, being full, became a common sight as fans poured in to support FC Goa, arguably Goa’s premier club.
Although Goa’s electric stadium has showcased it’s support towards the team by acting as the ’12th man’ in many home games, one such ‘stand’ decided to bring ‘supporting’ to a whole new level. ‘The East Stand’, as they call themselves have been proactive followers and avid supporters of the Zico masterminded franchisee. ‘The East Stand’ are perhaps the first ‘organised’ supporters group in the Indian Super League. Catchy Banners and chants are often used by the East Stand to intimidate opposing team or support their own. The atmosphere they create before, during and after the game is dubbed by some as mesmerizing and static.
“Super, Super Rob-Super, Super Rob-Super, Super Rob-Super Robert Pires” and “Ole, Ole Ole Ole, FC. Goa-Ole, Ole Ole Ole, FC Goa-Ole, Ole Ole Ole, Robert. Pires-Ole, Ole Ole Ole, Zico. Zico.” are some of the common chants heard in the East Stand.
Like many support groups, The East Stand also was brought and clubbed into a single unit by Conrad Barreto. The lively Goan believes that football was already a part of Goa and was waiting to erupt.
“Football has always been here since time unknown. It was waiting to erupt and that it certainly has” said Conrad.
The 24 year old brought organisation through Social Media, wherein he started his own campaign and ‘collected’ fans to one stand, through the group ‘The Football Dug Out’. Barreto is the founder of this Facebook group and co-ordinates, The East Stand’s match programmes through there.
” We wanted to act as the 12th man, We wanted to create a supportive atmosphere for our team”
The East Stand organised through The Football Dug Out, also conducts their own Indian Super League screenings.
Perhaps with the birth of a footballing nation, birth of supporter’s group – is also necessary, as what is football without it’s fans? ‘The East Stand’ have certainly spearheaded this ‘supporter’ change in India and have perhaps instigated a new ‘culture’, alien in Indian Football.