SC East Bengal
Sporting Club East Bengal (Bengali pronunciation: [ˈi:st ˌbenˈɡɔːl]) is an Indian professional football club based in Kolkata, West Bengal. The club competes in the Indian Super League, the top flight of Indian football, as well as the Calcutta Premier Division A, the top tier state football league of West Bengal.
|Full name||Sporting Club East Bengal|
|Nickname(s)||Red and Gold Brigade|
|Founded||1 August 1920|
|Ground||Salt Lake Stadium|
East Bengal Ground
|Capacity||Salt Lake Stadium: 65,000|
East Bengal Ground: 23,500
|Owner||Shree Cement East Bengal Foundation|
|Head coach||Robbie Fowler|
|League||Indian Super League|
Calcutta Premier Division A
Founded in August 1920, the club became affiliated with the Indian Football Association (IFA) in 1922 before earning promotion to the Calcutta Football League first division in 1924. East Bengal won their first league title in 1942 and have since gone on to win the title a record 39 times. The club was also a founding member of the National Football League in 1996 and have won the league title three times. They have also won eight Federation Cups, three Super Cups, a record 29 IFA Shield titles, and a record 16 Durand Cup titles, making the club one of the most decorated in Indian football.
The club is supported mainly by the immigrant population (known as Bangal), who were forced to leave their homes during the partition of 1947. For those people, the East Bengal club became a source of identity and hope. The huge influx of dispossessed led to a socio-economic crisis in the state. This led to rivalries in jobs, business, schools and even on football pitches among the immigrants and native population of West Bengal. East Bengal has a long-standing rivalry with its cross-town competitors Mohun Bagan, which is mainly supported by the native population, with whom it competes in the Kolkata derby, Asia's biggest football rivalry. East Bengal also shares a rivalry with another Kolkata club, Mohammedan. The club wears red and gold, which gives them the nickname Red and Gold Brigade.
On 28 July 1920, Mohun Bagan was scheduled to play against Jorabagan in the Coochbehar Cup. Jorabagan sent out their starting eleven but with the notable exclusion of defender Sailesh Bose, who was dropped from the squad for undisclosed reasons. The vice-president of Jorabagan, Suresh Chandra Chaudhuri, asked in vain for Bose to be included in the line-up. Chaudhuri left the club because of this and along with Raja Manmatha Nath Chaudhuri, Ramesh Chandra Sen and Aurobinda Ghosh. They formed East Bengal, as a Sports and Cultural Association in Jorabagan, home of Suresh Chandra, on 1 August 1920. It was named East Bengal since the founders hailed from the eastern region of Bengal. Sarada Ranjan Roy was the first president and Suresh Chandra Chowdhury and Tarit Bhusan Roy were the first joint secretaries of the club. Nagen Kali, M. Talukdar, B. Sen, N. Gossain, Goshto Paul (on loan from Mohun Bagan), P. Bardhan, S. Das, S. Tagore, J. Mukherjee, Ramesh Chandra Sen, S. Bose, C. Bose, A. Roy and A. Bannerjee were members of the first team.
1920 – 1930s
In the month they formed, the club participated in their maiden tournament in the Hercules Cup, which was a 6-a-side tournament. On 11 August 1920, the club played their first match against Metropolitan College winning 4–0. East Bengal won the tournament. The club also won Khagendra Shield in 1921. Following this, the club became affiliated with the IFA and entered league play in the IFA Second Division. The club finished in third place in their first season. East Bengal first played against Mohun Bagan on 8 August 1921 in the Cooch Behar Cup semi-final match, which ended in a goalless draw. It was an unofficial derby at that time.
In 1924, the club won the Second Division to gain promotion to the IFA First Division after finishing in second place to Cameroons 'B'. Because Cameroons 'A' team was already in the First Division the 'B' team could not gain promotion, East Bengal was next in line for promotion. However, more controversy arose since the IFA allowed only two Indian-based clubs in the IFA First Division. (At that time the IFA was a British organization.) This rule had previously deprived clubs like "Kumartuli" and "Town" from entering the First Division. During a governing body meeting of the IFA, the nine British clubs approved East Bengal's promotion. Ironically, two Indian clubs, Mohun Bagan and Aryan, opposed it. East Bengal's efforts led to the abolition of the oppressive Indian club limit rule.
In 1925, East Bengal made IFA First Division debut and Mona Dutta became the maiden goalscorer in the league. On 28 May 1925, the first official Kolkata Derby was played where Nepal Chakraborty scored the only goal for East Bengal.
1940s – 1970s
It took the club till 1942 to win their first IFA First Division title. East Bengal won their first IFA Shield in 1943. They then achieved the double in 1945 by winning both the Calcutta Football League (CFL) and IFA Shield. In 1948, East Bengal became the first team to defeat a foreign club on home soil. They won 2–0 against the visiting Chinese Olympic XI. East Bengal won the first treble in the 1949 season, by winning the Calcutta League, the IFA Shield and the Rovers Cup thus becoming the first Indian club to win the treble. The club went on to win the 1949 Rovers Cup and the Durand Cup in 1951. That period saw the rise of the Pancha Pandavas. The five players, P. B. A. Saleh, Ahmed Khan, P. Venkatesh, Appa Rao and K. P. Dhanaraj played together at the club from 1949 to 1953. The club also won it first DCM Trophy in 1950. The club also won three straight IFA Shields in 1949, 1950 and 1951. The English Football Association 1951–52 annual almanac adjudged East Bengal as the best club in Asia. On being recommended by the president of India, Rajendra Prasad, the club was invited by the Romania Youth Festival Committee in 1953 to participate in a football tournament. They also partook in a tour of the Soviet Union the same year. They were defeated by Soviet side by a margin of 13–1. Apart from football, East Bengal also won Beighton Cup hockey tournament for the first time in 1957 and Bengal Hockey Association league in 1960. Again the club won the Rovers Cup several times during this era—1962, 1967, 1969, 1972, 1973, 1975—as well as the Durand Cup in 1952, 1956, 1960, 1967, 1970, 1972 and 1978. The club also won their first Sait Nagjee football tournament and Bordoloi Trophy in 1968. The club stunned everyone by winning the 1970 IFA Shield against PAS Club of Iran by a score of 1–0, in front of 60,000 supporters at the Eden Gardens. Later the club won the 1973 IFA Shield by defeating Pyongyang City SC of North Korea. In 1978, East Bengal won its first Federation Cup title. In cricket, the club became joint winners with Mohun Bagan, of Cricket Association of Bengal senior league and senior-division knockout tournament.
East Bengal won the Calcutta Football League for six straight years from 1970 to 1975. In 1970 East Bengal topped the Calcutta Football League table without conceding a single goal. East Bengal won against their arch-rivals, Mohun Bagan, multiple times including a record margin of 5–0 in the history of the Kolkata Derby, in 1975. In the same year, East Bengal won the CFL title without losing a single match. The 1970s decade of the club is also commonly known as "Shonali Doshok" (in English Golden era).
1980s – 1990s
The club won the Federation Cup in 1980 and again in 1985. They also became the first Indian club to play in the newly reorganised Asian Club Championship in 1985–86. The club then won their second treble in 1990, under coach Naeemuddin, by winning the IFA Shield, the Rovers Cup, and the Durand Cup in the same season. The club also won the Stafford Cup (1986) and the McDowell's Cup (1995, 1997). In 1993, East Bengal won its first-ever international title the Wai Wai Cup in Nepal. The club also won the Federation Cup, the IFA Shield, the Calcutta Football League, the Durand Cup and the Rovers Cup, several times during this period. In 1996, the club became the founding member of the first nationwide football league in India, the National Football League.
In 1984, Dipak Das joined the club and revamped it. He brought in professionalism and converted the football team into a private, limited company. He also secured sponsorship from local brands and companies like Khadims. In 1998, he collaborated with Vijay Mallya's United Breweries Group, which then formed a new Private Limited Company, with a 50–50 shareholding, called United East Bengal Football Team Private Limited and incorporated the football team—the first in the country. The team was renamed Kingfisher East Bengal FC.
2000s – 2010s
The club entered the 21st century in style, winning the 2000–01 National Football League season. They became the first club to win back-to-back titles after winning the 2002–03 and 2003–04 versions of the league. The club went on to win the Federation Cup again in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012. They also won the Indian Super Cup in 2006 and 2011. The club won their third international trophy in the 2003 ASEAN Club Championship, in Jakarta, Indonesia. East Bengal is still the only Indian football team to win any major trophy outside the country. In 2004, East Bengal also won the San Miguel International Cup in Nepal. The club was invited to the tournament by Leicester City, celebrating their 120th Anniversary. In 2004, Leicester City also had partnerships with the East Bengal. Then FIFA president, Joseph Blatter, visited the club tent on 15 April 2007. After a year, East Bengal became the first Indian football team to win against a West Asian team, Al Wihdat SC of Jordan on foreign soil.
East Bengal also made a record eight appearances, between 2004 and 2015, in the AFC Cup. The club played in the semi-finals of 2013 AFC Cup where they lost to Kuwait SC of Kuwait. The club has the achievement of winning the Calcutta Football League title eight consecutive times from 2010 to 2017, breaking their previous record of six times during the 1970s. Following the exit of Kingfisher from the club, Quess Corp signed an agreement with the East Bengal Club and acquired a 70 percent stake in the club in July 2018. The team was renamed as Quess East Bengal FC.
On 1 August 2019, the club entered its 100th establishment year. A centenary celebration logo was introduced. Torch rallies and events were organised, attended by former players, coaches, presidents, etc. The centenary kit was unveiled, which was inspired by the 1925–26 season kit. The club participated in the Durand Cup, the Calcutta Football League and the I-League, and played its first match and won against Army Red in the Durand Cup.
2020s – present
The year 2020, saw the wake of COVID-19 which halted the ongoing football season in the country. The then investor, Quess pulled out from the two-year old agreement by July 2020. On 1 August, the club completed its 100 years of existence. In September, Shree Cement was announced as the new investor of the club. The company acquired 76 percent shares of the club and rebranded it from 'East Bengal Football Club' to 'Sporting Club East Bengal'. Later that month, after successful bidding, the club moved from I-League to the Indian Super League.
Crest and colours
In 1930, Mahatma Gandhi's Satyagraha swept over India and affected football. Indian clubs boycotted the ongoing Calcutta Football League midway through the season because of this. Amidst much confusion, Royal Regiment was declared winners in the first division. However, East Bengal was not allowed to be promoted to the First Division. Thousands of East Bengal fans and officials decided to hold a protest march at the East Bengal Ground. It was at this march that flaming torches were carried by the protesters. And the hand holding flame torch (known as 'Mawshal' or 'মশাল' in Bangla) became the club emblem, which has remained to this day.
The colours of East Bengal are red and yellow. The home jersey consists of a red and yellow jersey with black shorts, while the colour of the away jersey varies every year.
The choice of these colours came about after the club was formed when the founders debated over them for the club jersey. At that time, the jerseys used to come from England. The founders, while searching, came across the red and gold colour shirt hanging at the Whiteaway, Laidlaw & Co. department store in Chowringhee, Kolkata. It attracted them and they finalised the colours and jersey. It costed ₹80 in 1920, which was four times higher than the average. These colours permanently integrated with the club.
Kit manufacturers and shirt sponsors
|Period||Kit Manufacturer||Shirt Sponsor|
East Bengal is supported by the migrant population, known as Bangal, from the former Indian part of East Bengal, now modern-day Bangladesh. East Bengal is one of the most supported football clubs in Asia. There are approximately 30 to 40 million supporters across the nation and overseas.
East Bengal Ultras, the East Bengal's main ultras (supporters) group, was established in 2013. It is the pioneer of the ultras culture in India and revolutionized the movement in Indian Football. It hosted the first pyro show at any football match in India. East Bengal the Real Power is the first registered fan club in India, established on 15 November 2006. It is the largest East Bengal fan club and one of the largest fan clubs in the country.
Unlike East Bengal, the crosstown rival Mohun Bagan (ATK Mohun Bagan after merging with ATK) is supported mainly by the native populace of the current state West Bengal. The Kolkata Derby has its name taken from the Old Firm Derby between Celtic F.C. and Rangers F.C. and dates back to the 1920s. After Indian independence and the partition of Bengal, the huge influx of immigrants from the eastern part of Bengal led to a socio-economic crisis in the state. This led to rivalries in jobs, business, schools and even on the football pitch, among the immigrants and native population. This rivalry became a fierce one, and the Kolkata Derby grew in popularity and reached its peak during the 1960s and 1970s. The Kolkata Derby holds a record of 130,000 spectators, the most attended sporting event in India.
East Bengal is mainly organised as a registered society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, which means one can avail membership in the club. There are around 12,000 members. Although, a limited company, named East Bengal Club Pvt. Ltd., was later formed and both are governed by the club parallely. Sponsorships and investments happen via this corporate company. The club is governed by its own set of rules and regulations. Amendments and resolutions are passed via extraordinary or annual general meeting.
As of 2020, the club is owned by Shree Cement East Bengal Foundation, which is a joint venture between Shree Cement and East Bengal. The investor has 76 percent shares and club has the rest. This joint venture has the rights to control sporting departments of the club.
The club has used several stadiums at Kolkata, Howrah and Barasat, including the Eden Gardens, which has been reserved for cricket since Salt Lake Stadium opened in 1984. The first ground used by the club was Kumartuli Park in north Kolkata.
Salt Lake Stadium
The Salt Lake Stadium, also known as Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK), is a multi-purpose stadium in Kolkata, built in 1984. The stadium is the second largest non-auto racing stadium in the world and the largest in India. It is currently used mainly for football matches. The stadium includes a unique running track, long jump track, electronic scoreboard, natural turf, floodlighting arrangement, air-conditioned VIP restroom and Conference Hall along with Medical Room and a Doping Control Room. The Salt Lake Stadium hosts the home games of East Bengal in I-League and the AFC Cup. The total capacity of the stadium is 85,000.
East Bengal Ground
The East Bengal Ground is located in Kolkata and is the club's home ground. The stadium lies in the Maidan (Kolkata) area on the northern side of Fort William and near the Eden Gardens. This stadium is currently used mostly for Calcutta Football League matches, and by the academy teams and women's team. The total capacity of the stadium is 23,500.
Barasat Stadium is also used by the club for some of its regional matches, especially in cases where the Salt Lake Stadium or East Bengal Ground cannot be used. Kanchenjunga Stadium, a multipurpose stadium based in Siliguri, has also been used several times to host club football matches. It also hosted the 2012 Federation Cup. Kalyani Stadium, situated on the outskirts of Kolkata at Kalyani, was used by East Bengal as their home turf during the 2019–20 I-League.
The team trains and practices at one of the VYBK practice grounds.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Reserves and academy
Current technical staff
|Head Coach||Robbie Fowler|
|Assistant Coach||Anthony Grant|
|Set Piece Coach||Terence McPhillips|
|Goalkeeping Coach||Robert Mimms|
|Sports Scientist||Jack Inman|
- As of 12 October 2020
Record in NFL / I-League
- As of till the end of 2019-20 I-League season.
|East Bengal FC - Record in NFL/I-League|
|1996–97||5[a]||3||2||0||6||2||+4||11||Qualify for Championship stage|
|1998–99||10[b]||8||2||0||19||2||+17||26||Qualify for Second Stage|
Record in ISL
- As of matches played 30 September 2020
|East Bengal FC - Record in ISL|
|Competition||No. of Appearances||Seasons||Best Result|
|Asian Club Championship[a]||2||1985–86, 1998–99||Group stages|
|Asian Cup Winners' Cup||5||1991–92, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995, 1997–98||Quarter-finals (1991–92)|
|ASEAN Club Championship||1||2003||Champions|
|AFC Cup||8||2004, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015||Semi-finals (2013)|
- Known as AFC Champions League since 2003
- Champions (1): 2003
- Champions (3): 1997, 2006, 2011
- Champions (record) (39): 1942, 1945, 1946, 1949, 1950, 1952, 1961, 1966, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18
- Champions (record) (29): 1943, 1945, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1958, 1961, 1965, 1966, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2012, 2018
- Champions (record) (16): 1951, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1967, 1970, 1972,1978, 1982, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995, 2002, 2004
- Champions (10): 1949, 1962, 1967, 1969, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1980, 1990, 1994
- Champions (7): 1950, 1952, 1957, 1960, 1973, 1974, 1983
- Champions (5): 1968, 1972, 1973, 1978, 1992
- Champions (2): 1968, 1986
- Champions (7): 1987, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1995, 1998, 2001
The women's football team was formed in 2001, but was disbanded in 2003. It won the Calcutta Women's Football League title in its inaugural season and were runner's up in 2002. In the centenary year, the women's team was relaunched.
The East Bengal Club Cricket team participates in various tournaments for varying age groups conducted by the Cricket Association of Bengal. Currently it participates in the CAB First Division League, CAB Senior Knockout, CAB Super League and JC Mukherjee Trophy. The team plays its home matches mostly at the Eden Gardens and Jadavpur University Campus Ground. They have won around 60 major state-level trophies so far. Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Ajay Jadeja, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Sourav Ganguly have played on the team.
East Bengal has an athletics team, which is affiliated with the West Bengal Athletic Association, and participates in various tournaments in West Bengal. The club also organises Annual Athletic meets at the club ground.
This department started after the Independence of India. The club was affiliated with the Bengal Hockey Association and participated in the BHA First Division hockey league and the Beighton Cup. They won 13 trophies. The team was disbanded in 2000.
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