Mahindra United pulls out of the i-League


Sad sad day for Indian football.

The Mahindra Group has decided to refocus its support to football by concentrating on building the sport at the grassroots and community level. As a result, Mahindra United Football Club will move out of competitive football at the end of the current I-league season. The company plans to create a nation wide school-level football initiative which will enable skills development and enhance the awareness and appreciation of the sport at the grassroots level.

This is from goal.com. Go here for the rest of the article.

M&M has always been a top football team, and along with JCT Phagwara, one of the bulwarks of football in the non-traditional Indian football venues (i.e. outside of Bengal, Kerala and Goa). I had once interned with Mahindra&Mahindra, and I remember old maidan mates of mine fearing if I would change my allegiances from Mohun Bagan to M&M. Of course I didn’t, but M&M has always been my third team in the i-league (Dempo, with their flowing, classy football has been second team for ever.. Camilo Gonzalves, Mauricio Alfonso, Mahesh Lotlikar… what players they had!)

Anyway, this is about Mahindra United. I will miss them.

Anand Mahindra twitters: So many Mumbai voices lamenting our pullback frm professional soccer.Never heard them when we needed their attendance&support at our matches.

Cannot agree more with Mr. Mahindra. And greatly appreciate the initiative for grassroots growth of Indian football.

We are all about symbolism. We are all about ‘yeah we support football, we support Indian football‘. Show it with your feet, guys. Go watch some matches. Or just shut up with your symbolism. Your token sympathy votes do not buy the clubs better players or better infrastructure.

Ensure the TV is on when the i-league matches are there. Have a team you support. Visit this site here (click). The football in the i-league is not half as bad as you think. If you can watch Wolves vs. Stoke, you certainly can watch Dempo vs. Lajong. Yeah, maybe the standards are not high. Yes, maybe Lajong will get thrashed by 3-4 goals by Stoke. But how would you care? You are consumers. You need excitement, and I can assure you there is more excitement in a Dempo-Lajong match than a Wolves-Stoke match. I watch both.

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3 thoughts on “Mahindra United pulls out of the i-League

  1. Not to mention the derbies. The Kolkata derby is as bad and as passion stirring and as divisive as football derbies can get. Talking of which, is there a great book on the history of the Mohun Bagan – East Bengal rivalry. In English that is.

  2. Too true, and totally agree on the symbolism bit. Regarding those who did not bother to vote with their feet, my increasing feeling is that you have to be born into a football-loving family to actually follow Indian football, much like it is with test cricket these days. I think we can safely say that Goa, Kerala and Bengal are outside the consumerist Indian mainstream, yet so many within the mainstream (as I imagine it) have no problem lapping up English football.

  3. @Acommonfan – Oh very correct. The Kolkata derby truly gets the worst of me out. Read some of my posts on Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal, and I have been as one-eyed, vitriolic and partisan as I could ever imagine myself to be.
    There aren’t any great books in English on the Bagan-EB derby that I know of. There are a few good ones in Bengali however, as I am told. I will try to gather a few. In fact, since data-driven research is out of the question, if I can get myself worked up enough, I might even go ahead and translate any that’s really good.
    @Suhas – Well said. Maybe it is also because football is not sold well? Now that not-so-common locations like Sikkim, Manipur and Pune ar ein the main league, things would change.
    Most importantly, stadium revenues. Mohun Bagan and EB get a paltry percentage of the gate revenues at the Salt Lake Stadium, for a local derby. They should play the matches at the MB and EB grounds, and the clubs should get the complete gates. That would go a long way in making our football self sufficient.

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