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ISL 2022-23: Passionate ATK Mohun Bagan fans emotional to be back at the stadiums

ATK Mohun Bagan fans at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata (Images: FSDL Media)

Kolkata, December 7: The last two seasons have been incomplete for ATK Mohun Bagan as they have had to play in empty stadiums away from home due to the COVID restricting action to behind closed doors at limited venues.

Heading into the 2020-21 season as defending Champions, the Mariners had to do peace with no fans in the stadium to cheer them. But, their special bond with their long-standing fan base was never compromised and only grew further.

This season, ATKMB have their fans back flocking the stadiums, adding more passion to their pursuit of the top spot in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL).

Juan Ferrando's side are enjoying their football this season, and a major contributing factor to that has been the atmosphere created by the fans. And this isn't just limited to games at home.

The latest example of the support away from home was showcased in the side's first ever Hero ISL visit to the intimidating Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru, where fans cheered them from kick-off till the final whistle. The heritage associated with ATK Mohun Bagan travels with them through their fans.

The head coach and players have consistently expressed their gratitude to the supporters of the club, and the fans have reciprocated. Some fans have had a deep connection with the club that spans generations.

"I have been a fan for 45 years. ATK Mohun Bagan is like my mother. I have one mother at home, and the other one is ATK Mohun Bagan," said one of the fans when expressing his happiness about the stadium doors being opened again.

Talking about the fans, ATKMB Head Coach Juan Ferrando said, "We have the best fans. It's incredible because I have worked in different countries for different clubs, but here the support is on another level," dedicating the win to the fans.

Not long after, the atmosphere and the passion displayed by the fans, inspired star striker Hugo Boumous to dedicate his crucial derby day goal against East Bengal FC to the fans as well.

This is what the players have missed during the last couple of years, and now that the fans are back, it has been quite relieving for the players.

"There is no fun playing when the stadium is empty. It feels just like a training session. There is a different kind of motivation in us when we see our fans in the stadium," said Manvir Singh.

This feeling has been echoed by the fans themselves. For many ATKMB fans, the club is something that comes to mind as soon as their day begins.

"ATK Mohun Bagan is everything to us. No matter how big or small the match is, I'm always supporting ATK Mohun Bagan," said a passionate fan, donning the colours of the Mariners with pride.

When they open up again for Thursday's game against last year's league winners Jamshedpur FC, the usual raucous reception is expected again.

ATK Mohun Bagan are currently on a two-match winning streak and a win guarantees them second spot at least until current occupants Hyderabad FC play on Friday (December 9).

Source: ISL Media

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Story first published: Wednesday, December 7, 2022, 19:15 [IST]
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