Imagine being in a long-distance relationship with someone. And the distance between you and your lover is that of two continents, and you don’t know when you will finally be able to meet him or her. Painful, isn’t it?
Pic Credit: Siddharth Radhakrishnan
Well that’s exactly how being a football fan in India can be, at times. You never know when you’ll get the chance to see your beloved team, Chelsea in our case, playing in front of your eyes and cherish the intensity of the atmosphere for those 90 minutes, with your fellow fans.
But what if the opportunity presents itself in front of your eyes? And it actually did when BPL Live came to India on 13th and 14th December, 2014. The venue was the MMRDA Grounds in Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai. 5 matches were shown live over the period of two days on two screens giant screens, one of them was Chelsea vs. Hull City on 13th December starting at 8:30 PM on Screen 1. As if watching the game on a 380-square-foot screen wasn’t enough, there was a chance to meet the club officials, have a look at the signed boots and t-shirts of players, glance at the BPL trophy. There were even the footballing sessions to improve your skills.
Some of our fellow Blues and friends, Vivek Kaneriya, Pratik Jondhale and Pradeep Dayani were lucky enough to get the chance to visit the rare event and have an unforgettable day. We tried not to be jealous of them as we asked them about their amazing experience and give a slight taste of that joy to our readers.
How can you compare the atmosphere at the screening to that of the Stamford Bridge?
All three guys had one thing in common to say- The atmosphere was the same as Stamford Bridge. Vivek, like many other fans, had been waiting since 7 o’clock in the morning and his patience paid off as he lived some of the most memorable moments of his life with his ‘Blue family’. Before the game, the Chelsea anthem was played with lyrics on the big screen. While Vivek’s mind was full of the memories of singing all the Chelsea chants and enjoying life at its best, Pradeep told us that he was excited to see so many Chelsea fans together for the first time and felt as if he was in West London.
Fans got up from their seats as soon as the first goal came, but were even more delighted with the second goal as it confirmed the 2-0 win for the Blues, according to him. Most of us have never been to Stamford Bridge, and so is the case with Pratik. But such was the ‘electrifying atmosphere’ at the screening, that he could very well draw comparisons with the Bridge that he has only witnessed on television so far. There were cheers and chants for every single touch of the ball, throughout the game. As Chelsea enjoyed most of the possession and always had the game under their control, we hope your throat was fine after the game Pratik!
Is it true that Chelsea’s section was the most crowded of all? What made it different from others?
It isn’t hard guessing which club’s section must have been the most crowded of all. Quite obviously, it was Chelsea! For Pradeep, it was the presence of mascot Stamford which was a big centre of attraction, along with club merchandise, players’ t-shirts and kits, and flags in particular. Pratik too, couldn’t believe his eyes as he saw the signatures of Costa, Drogba, Hazard, Oscar, Terry, Courtois and Azpilicueta on their boots and t-shirts in front of his eyes. Such is their love for the team that even seeing their signatures made them feel connected to their favourite players.
We were not surprised when Vivek told us that most of the people at the event were Chelsea fans. And for him, it was the Chelsea officials who made the difference. Their friendly nature and enthusiasm overwhelmed him. It was enough for him to forget about his sleepiness and tiredness due to an early morning travel. One thing that set him at the top of the world was the compliment he got for his scarf from one of the officials, and both even exchanged a high five. Lucky you mate!
What was your best moment of the day?
The whole day was special in itself for all three of them. But some moments were just so awesome! Before the kick-off, there were a lot of activities to participate in. One such task was the ball control skill challenge. Completing this challenge was the best moment of the day for Vivek, along with meeting the Chelsea officials as soon as they stepped out of their bus. For Pratik, the real fun was watching the game on a huge screen and getting a photograph of him with the digital BPL trophy at Stamford Bridge.
Pradeep’s best moment of the day came at last, when the final whistle was blown and Chelsea took all the three points. But this was not all for him. There were some more special moments for him on the day, as he got to get himself clicked with former Chelsea and Everton player and now an Everton official, Graham Stuart as well as Swansea official, Lee Trundle. Keep those pics safe Pradeep, they will remind you of the day for years to come!
We hope our readers now have an idea of how much full of fun the event was. The fans surely impressed the club officials with their passion and proved that Indians are not behind when it comes to love for football. Hopefully next time, we all will be as lucky as Pradeep, Vivek and Pratik to get the chance of going to BPL Live. A big thanks to Barclays Premier League for the initiative. KTBFFH!
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Edited By: Ojas Tripathi