The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bhowmick roughs up Bagan fan

Calcutta: The ‘angry young man’ in East Bengal coach Subhas Bhowmick reared its face after Thursday’s Super Division League match against Mohun Bagan at Salt Lake Stadium.

The goalless city derby was eventful. Three players were red-carded and East Bengal retained their lead over closest rivals Mohun Bagan despite playing with nine men against ten for 35 minutes, keeping intact their five-point advantage with four matches to go.

Bhowmick, known for his volatile temperament in his playing days, manhandled a Mohun Bagan supporter after screams of “buying the referee” started flying in while he was making his way towards the media conference room after the match.

The coach took a while to locate the face in the crowd and broke through a rope barricade separating the spectators from the rest before getting hold of his man. The Mohun Bagan fan escaped after a few blows.

East Bengal officials intervened and tried to pacify Bhowmick, but the police — they were there in numbers — reacted only after Bhowmick had well and truly got involved in the mess.

“There is no question of regretting what I did. Nobody has the right to insult me,” Bhowmick said when The Telegraph caught up with him. He said there is no question of setting a bad example for future coaches either. “What about providing protection'” he quipped.

Later, club secretary Kalyan Majumdar, who was among the few trying to help Bhowmick calm down, offered a different version. “Bhowmick didn’t charge at the Mohun Bagan fan. He was attacked first and has a right to defend himself.”

Majumdar, however, chose to ignore the fact that it was Bhowmick who started the ‘move’ and not the other way round. “If somebody claims so, he’ll be lying.” Eyewitnesses, though, had a completely different story to offer.

Coaches of both teams blamed referee Subrata Sarkar for poor supervision. Aloke Mukherjee, along with Bhowmick, said they were denied clear penalties.

Bhowmick even felt that the red card on Debjit Ghosh was unjustified. “He didn’t deserve the first yellow.”

“Even during the period when my team was a man down, we created chances. 3-1 in our favour would have been a fair result.”

Mukherjee insisted his team should have got a penalty. “The referee killed the match. We should have won after what has been the best performance of our team this season so far. We need outstation referees for a match involving these two.”

When asked whether it’s all over for them in the league, (East Bengal are on 34 points from 12 matches, while Bagan have 29 from 12) the coach said: “It’s not it in our hands anymore. We’ll have to win all the matches and see how things go from there.”

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