The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mystery of the vanishing EB fans

Calcutta: The nearer East Bengal get to their National League goal, the further away move their supporters. Or so it seems, especially because coach Subhas Bhowmick definitely feels so.

That was the time when the red-golds had as much oomph onfield as in the vocal chords of the fans who used to throng the stands. Not now. Any player who has donned the red-and-gold jersey in his career knows that the fans have often been instrumental in lifting the sagging spirit of the team when it has been down in the dumps.

But this year, Bhowmick has good reason to be “disappointed”. The team this year has swept virtually all in its path and is now on the doorstep to the National League title (needing one more point as of Sunday’s win over Indian Bank), yet those very people for who the team play, aren’t around.

“Even when I was a player, I’ve seen how the fans have lifted us from adverse situations whenever we were in a tight corner,” Bhowmick said. But he feels that shabda brahma that has helped the red-and-gold brigade win so many matches over the years is largely missing this time around. “We are so close to history… It is unbelievable for someone who has been associated with this club for years,” Bhowmick lamented.

“I really want them to come in numbers for the next game,” he said. East Bengal next play Vasco at home on April 25, which can easily turn out to be the title-decider.

There is this minor spat, too, between Bhowmick and the fans. A section of the crowd booed him even Sunday though his team cruised to victory.

“It has been a regular feature throughout the season and now I have stopped thinking about it,” he quipped.

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