The Telegraph
Sunday , August 5 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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East Bengal experience at Toon home

The day we landed in England was special for both my homeland and the country I was visiting. The British were ecstatic about their first medal in gymnastics in 100 years, the Indians with their bronze in the shooting range.

But I was more kicked about my first “event” at the Olympics, watching a match at St. James’ Park, the home ground of EPL club Newcastle United, or the Toons as they are known among fans.

On the way to the stadium, we saw a huge Olympic torch, about 500m from the ground. The spectators comprised individuals, children and couples from across the globe, many with painted faces and funny headgear. We could even see supporters of Newcastle United sporting the club’s black and white jersey.

The stadium was dressed for the greatest show on the planet. Inside, my jaw dropped to the floor. A lush green pitch and a capacity of over 60,000 — what more could a soccer fan ask for.

To top it all, the action in the middle was good, with Canada coming back from two goals down to draw against Sweden, much to the delight of their fans, who far outnumbered the Swedes.

I am a regular at East Bengal’s matches at home. It was funny to notice that soccer fans abroad are not that different from the ones at home. After the goals by Sweden, there were harsh words (to put it mildly) for the referee and general unrest in the crowd. The Canadian fans settled down a bit after their team scored a goal in the dying moments of the first half.

After the break, the Canadians were letting out full-throated screams of encouragement. They also conjured up Mexican waves. All that was not in vain. Canada scored at the fag end to split points with Sweden.

(The author is a young rower)