We didn't cope with it as well as we should have: Bengaluru FC owner Parth Jindal on playing without fans

Image Credit: Twitter handle of Parth Jindal

Bengaluru FC enjoyed three successive successful campaigns in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) in the 2017-18, 2018-19, and the 2019-20 seasons, bursting onto the scene in the Hero ISL, forging themselves as one of the heavyweights in the leagues, by shattering records and achieving glory.

However, there was something amiss with the Bengaluru FC side as the club underwent a transition period that saw several of their veteran players at the twilight of their career who later on hung up the boots.

Bengaluru FC owner Parth Jindal opened up on what fell flat in the club’s latter stages of the Hero ISL in an exclusive interview with BFC TV. 

“It’s been a tough few seasons, I think whenever successful and you’re very successful, which we were in the first two seasons in the ISL, there’s a transition phase and we lost a lot of our experienced players as they were coming to an end of their careers, whether it was Dimas Delgado or Erik Paartalu or many others,” said Jindal.

Jindal revealed that the club were puzzled in finding a solution to their period of transitioning that led them to finish seventh in that season followed by a change in the management with Marco Pezzaiuoli replacing Carles Cuadrat.

“Obviously whenever you get a new manager, you get a change of style, it takes a little bit of time for the team, for the players to adjust and we could see that in the first few months, the results were not going our way. We were, I think, at the bottom of the table and then we had a string of great results as we came very close coming into the playoffs,” he added.

Although it was a mix of several jumbled up things for Bengaluru FC at the beginning of last season, the Blues managed to show their fighting spirit towards the end, having a real crack at the semi-finals interpolated by several Covid-19 cases amongst the players and the club management.

“What was really encouraging about last season was the way our youngsters performed and stepped up whether it was Roshan, whether it was our young goalkeeper. But things didn’t go as planned off the field that led us to making a difficult decision to part ways with Marco after what I’d say was a good season,” revealed Jindal.

“We’ve spent quite a lot of time going back to the drawing board and I think we set ourselves quite nicely for the upcoming season,” he added.

Uncovering the circumstances of playing football behind closed doors last season, the 32-year-old was upset with the situation in the country and its stark contrast when compared to the footballing situation around the world.

Jindal also said that it was fundamentally challenging for the club - apart from just the players - to be without their fans, and admitted that they couldn’t cope themselves given the isolated environment without the Blues’ faithful, the West Block Blues and other fans.

“I think it’s the same for all teams, nobody enjoyed it, nobody enjoyed playing in that environment and I think some cope better than others and unfortunately we didn’t cope as well as we should have,” he concluded.

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