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Monday, March 01, 2021

ATK Mohun Bagan win Kolkata Derby as #RemoveATK features on ISL fan wall

Ever since ATK Mohun Bagan sported their third kit in black, fans have voiced their protests on social media and often hit the streets in Kolkata with #RemoveATK banners.

Written by Rahul Sadhu |
Updated: February 20, 2021 9:50:23 am
atk mohun bagan, remove atk, islATK Mohun Bagan opened the scoring early in the first half after which a fan held a #RemoveATK poster on the ISL fan wall. (ISL/Screengrab)

Roy Krishna’s superlative performance in ATK Mohun Bagan’s 3-1 win over rivals SC East Bengal stood out as the difference at the end of the feisty Kolkata Derby on Friday. After bagging yet another three important points, ATKMB registered their fifth straight win which now keeps them five points clear of the pack.

ATK Mohun Bagan opened the scoring in the 15th minute of the first half when East Bengal’s high defensive line was punished by the Fijian. However, when the camera panned towards the player’s celebration, one of the fans held up a poster on the ISL fan wall, having the #RemoveATK banner.

The ‘Fan Wall’ is one way through which ISL broadcasters are aiming to connect fans via two LED screens set up in the stadiums to be a part of the team’s biggest fixtures. However, one of the Mariners present on it held up the banner in a bid to send a strong message to the management.

This is not the first instance where fans have voiced their anger with the club management. Almost all of ATKMB’s ISL matches, witnessed ‘fan wall’ participants holding up ‘Remove ATK’ signs.

One of the Mohun Bagan fan pages on social media, Mariners de Extreme, which has been a part of several #RemoveATK protests, gave a statement on Twitter where they wrote, “Understand and respect our need @IndSuperLeague we are not against our team, players- our heart always says to support our @Mohun_Bagan under any circumstances, but understand our pain @atkmohunbaganfc, #RemoveATK otherwise, we can’t relate our passion.”

The fan group has over the years organised several screenings during a Kolkata Derby. However, on this occasion, they refrained from doing so. “Last time Mb fan groups arranged more than 60 screenings and from your MDX fan base, we arranged almost 15 Derby screenings all over West Bengal with our associated mates. But this time no screening,” they wrote.

Ever since ATK Mohun Bagan FC sported their third kit in black, similarities between their jersey and erstwhile ATK’s away kit in 2019 has been rife. Fans have alleged that resorting back to ‘a defunct club jersey’ is another sign of disrespect towards the 130-year-old Mohun Bagan whose primary colours are green and maroon. ATKMB’s current away is a combination of white and maroon, something a lot of supporters love.

Last week, slogans of “Remove ATK” reached the Mohun Bagan Athletic Club tent as loyal supporters once again vented their anger during the club’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday.

On the pitch, after Krishna drew first blood, Tiri accidentally headed into his own net in the 41st minute from a Raju Gaikwad throw-in. Despite being on level terms, it was all Mohun Bagan in the second half as David Williams and Javi Hernandez scored in the 72nd and 89th minute respectively.

Antonio Lopez Habas’ men are now at the top of the table with 39 points from 18 matches. Sergio Lobera’s Mumbai City, who will face ATKMB on February 28, are a close second with 34 points from 17 matches.

ATK Mohun Bagan next face Hyderabad FC on February 22.

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