Chennai fans in win-win situation
Amongst the 15,000 plus fans who thronged the Marina Arena for the match between Chennaiyin FC and Atlético de Kolkata, the Luis García Fan Club aka the Madras Kop stood out.
A love for football could be the middle name of the Madras Kop, but one wonders what the outfit was doing at the Marina Arena. Liverpool weren’t playing here. But club legend García was. The Spaniard was turning out for Atlético de Kolkata and the Kop made sure that they were on hand to give him a hearty welcome.
The inaugural Hero Indian Super League has played a great part in making the dreams of fans clubs like the Madras Kop come true by bringing the world’s greatest players who have represented the glamour clubs of Europe with captive fan bases here, to Indian shores. The Madras Kop of course, made their presence felt by drumming up support for their hero, echoing the famous García chant whenever their favourite player touched the ball.
García is a legend in his own right. Be it during his time at the Vicente Calderón or at Anfield, he has cemented himself firmly in the minds of ardent football fans across the globe. And in Chennai too. He stands testament to the saying, “Football is a sport that brings people from different backgrounds in a common place.”
Elated at seeing him score his first goal (via a penalty) in the match, the Kop however expressed disappointment that he scored at the home end of the pitch. “But nevertheless, we are very happy to see him score,” quipped a passionate García fan. Another fan was torn between his love for his idol and love for his local club. “We wanted him to score one more but at the same time we wanted Chennaiyin to draw; we wanted to have the best result as fans of Chennaiyin and García. It was a win-win situation for everyone.”
The inaugural ISL has left a lasting impact on these fans. One of them said, “It is the passion for the game that has brought us here, but we have always dreamt of a league like this in India. We are all Liverpool fans and we never ever thought we would support Chennayin like we support Liverpool or Chelsea. This league will change the landscape of football in the country.”