As Bengaluru FC won this season’s I-League, captain Sunil Chhetri, defenders Gurtej Singh and Manpreet Singh became three players to win back to back I-Leagues as they were a part of the defending champions Churchill Brothers’ squad last season. With Bengaluru’s win I also was able to experience a distinct achievement – witnessing open bus parade for the second year in a row. How? I was in Barcelona for a year and witnessed Barca’s open bus parade after their La Liga victory and this year Bengaluru showed the way in India.
So, how do I compare the two bus parades? Firstly, comparing Barca’s celebration with Bengaluru FC’s celebration would be unfair and I won’t even attempt that. I enjoyed both the events and felt the connection made by the club with the local community. Barca is more than a century old and its efforts to connect with Barcelona has a long history. Unlike Barca, Bengaluru FC is a year old club and it doesn’t have the luxury of playing in a football crazy country or in a popular league, yet BFC has done a commendable job in connecting with the Bangalore youth and that reflects in their home matches and in this open bus parade. Here, I would like to share my experience in a series of photographs from both the events.
Let’s hope that other Indian clubs take a cue from Bengaluru FC and connect with the local community. Creating a fan base is not easy but at-least one can start. Bengaluru FC has started that work and all Indian football fans will hope that they continue that even when success dries up temporarily.