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Bengaluru FC

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Bengaluru
Bengaluru FC Logo.png
Full name Bengaluru Football Club
Nickname(s) The Blues
Founded July 20, 2013; 5 years ago (2013-07-20)[1]
Ground Sree Kanteerava Stadium
Bengaluru, Karnataka
Capacity 25,810[2]
Owner JSW Group
Chairman Sajjan Jindal
Head coach Carles Cuadrat
League Indian Super League
2017–18 Regular season: 1st of 10
Finals: Runners-up
Website Club website
Current season

Bengaluru Football Club is an Indian professional football club based in Bengaluru, Karnataka. The club competes as a member of the Indian Super League, one of the top leagues of Indian football.[3] The club was established on 20 July 2013, and began their first competitive season in the I-League a few months later on 22 September 2013. Since their foundation, the club has won two league titles, including one in their debut season, two Federation Cup titles, and most recently, a Super Cup championship.

The club is owned and operated by Mumbai–based company, JSW Group and its managing director, Sajjan Jindal.[1] Bengaluru have played every home match at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium since the beginning of the 2014–15 season. Despite only playing four seasons in the I-League, the club were considered one of the model clubs of Indian football.[4] Bengaluru drew praise for bringing a new sense of professionalism to Indian football, including the use of on field equipment meant to help player fitness.[5] The club is also known for their fan base, including the supporters group, West Block Blues, which has gained a reputation for being one of the most vocal and passionate fan bases in India.[4]

Bengaluru played its inaugural match on 22 September 2013, earning a 1–1 draw against Mohun Bagan in the league. The club would go on to win the I-League in their debut season and then again two seasons later in 2015–16. As well as two league titles, Bengaluru also won two Federation Cups in 2015 and 2017. Between 2015 and 2018, the club also represented India in Asian club competition, competing in the AFC Cup for four consecutive years. During the 2016 AFC Cup, Bengaluru made it to the final where they lost 1–0 to Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya of Iraq.

History

Inception

Around the beginning of January 2013, word managed to get out about whether Mumbai Tigers (then Dodsal) had failed to register for the upcoming I-League 2nd Division.[6] It was also rumored that the club could instead enter the I-League, India's top football league, directly through a cash payment to the All India Football Federation (AIFF), India's football association, and if the club promised to create a new football stadium.[6] Later that month, on 12 January, it was announced that the AIFF had called for an executive meeting to decide whether to allow teams into the I-League directly for the 2013–14 season.[7] At around the same time, uncertainty started to arise over whether institutional clubs Air India or ONGC and then-suspended Mohun Bagan would be allowed to play in the league that season.[7]

During the AIFF executive meeting on 15 January, it was officially announced that the federation would be accepting bids from corporate groups for two new direct-entry clubs for the 2013–14 season.[8] This was being done in an effort to make the I-League more pan-Indian. The bidding corporate groups could only bid to create teams outside of Kolkata and Goa and they would have to create new infrastructure in their city.[8] The winning bids would be announced in March 2013 and they would be replacements for Air India and ONGC.[8]

On 8 March 2013 it was reported that JSW Group were interested in bidding for a spot in the I-League after contemplating making a team in Bangalore in the past.[9] It was also reported that AR Khaleel, the President of the Karnataka State Football Association and a senior official with the AIFF, had suggested Bangalore could be a host venue for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup and that a corporate team in the city could help build new infrastructure.[9] A couple months later, on 15 May 2013, it was announced that the AIFF had received three bids for two direct-entry spots.[10] The bids came from JSW Group, Dodsal Group, and a consortium from Kerala.[10]

Finally, on 28 May 2013, it was officially announced that JSW Group had won the rights to form a direct-entry team for the 2013–14 I-League season in Bangalore and that it would be done through their sports branch, JSW Sports.[11] It was also announced that JSW Group would set up a youth academy in Bangalore, as well as brand new infrastructure.[11] Two months later, on 20 July, JSW Group launched the club officially as "Bengaluru Football Club" while hosting a mega launch event at the Bangalore Football Stadium, which was also announced as the club's home stadium for the upcoming season.[1] Along with the club name and stadium, the club crest and colours were also unveiled as well as the team's home kit for the season and the squad.[1]

Ashley Westwood era (2013–2016)

Straight away after winning the rights for a direct-entry side, JSW Group began the process of creating their team. The club's first signing was midfielder Thoi Singh from Mumbai Tigers.[12] On 2 July 2013, it was announced that former Blackburn Rovers assistant manager Ashley Westwood would become the club's first ever head coach.[13] A few weeks later, on 16 July, JSW Group signed the club's first two foreign players, defenders John Johnson and Curtis Osano.[14] Three days later, it was announced that the club had signed the India national team captain, Sunil Chhetri, from Sporting Portugal B.[15]

After the club launched, on 25 August 2013, Bengaluru played their first ever match, a friendly against the India national team during their preparations for the upcoming 2013 SAFF Championship.[16] The match ended 1–1 with Johnny Menyongar scoring Bengaluru's first goal and future Bengaluru player Lenny Rodrigues scoring India's equalizer.[16] A month later, on 22 September 2013, the club played their first official match in the I-League against Mohun Bagan at the Bangalore Football Stadium. After a scoreless first-half, Bengaluru scored their first ever official goal in the 49th minute through Sean Rooney.[17] However, in injury time, Mohun Bagan found an equalizer through Chinadorai Sabeeth to end the match 1–1.[17] It took until their next match though for Bengaluru to win their first match when they defeated Rangdajied United 3–0 at the Bangalore Football Stadium.[18]

The club played their first match away from home on 26 October 2013 against East Bengal at the Kalyani Stadium. The match would also turn out to be the first defeat for Bengaluru as they fell 2–0 to the Kolkata based side.[19] Exactly a month later, on 26 November, the club would win their first away match against Salgaocar at the Duler Stadium. Bengaluru won 2–1.[20]

In January 2014, Bengaluru took part in their first domestic cup competition, the Federation Cup.[21] They played their first match in the tournament on 15 January 2014 against Sporting Goa at the Manjeri Stadium. Bengaluru won 5–3 but would then go on to draw and lose one match each as they would be knocked out in the group stage of the tournament.[22]

On 21 April 2014, Bengaluru defeated Dempo 4–2 at the Fatorda Stadium to claim their first I-League title in only their debut season.[23]

During the 2014–15 season, Bengaluru participated in the Federation Cup again. They claimed their first cup on 11 January 2015, defeating Dempo in the final 2–1. Despite the cup victory and entering the season as defending league champions, Bengaluru could not reclaim the I-League title as the club lost it on the last day of the season. They drew against Mohun Bagan in their last game 1–1 and thus gave Bagan the title. However, despite losing the title, Bengaluru did end the season with a 13-match unbeaten run. Besides playing in the league and cup, Bengaluru also participated in Asian club competition for the first time. The club failed the qualify for the AFC Champions League but they did manage to reach the Round of 16 for the AFC Cup.

The next season, Bengaluru managed to win their second I-League title. They defeated Salgaocar 2–0 at home on 17 April 2016 to confirm the league. The club was also able to advance further in the AFC Cup this season, reaching the quarter-finals of the AFC Cup after defeating Kitchee 3–2 in the Round of 16. However, despite the club's achievement, Ashley Westwood and club decided to part ways at the end of the season.

Albert Roca Era and transition to Indian Super League (2016–2018)

Bengaluru FC appointed former FC Barcelona assistant coach Albert Roca as the head coach for two seasons.[24] In his first game in charge of the club, Bengaluru FC won 1–0 against Tampines Rovers in the first leg of the quarter-finals of the AFC Cup, 2016. Subsequently, it went on to become the third Indian team to qualify for the semi-finals of the tournament. Under Roca, on 19 October 2016 Bengaluru FC became the first Indian team to qualify for the finals of the AFC Cup by defeating defending champions Johor Darul Ta'zim F.C. 3–1 at home in the 2nd leg of the semi-finals. On 5 November, Bengaluru F.C. competed against the Iraqi outfit Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya in the finals of the 2016 AFC Cup finals at the Suheim Bin Hamad Stadium in Qatar. However, Bengaluru emerged as runners-up- being defeated by Al Quwa by a narrow margin of 1–0.[25] Bengaluru FC became the first Indian football club to reach the finals of the competition. However, the first I-League under Roca wasn't as successful, as Bengaluru FC managed only fourth position, the lowest since 2013, in 2016–17 I-League after the winless streak of seven games between January and February 2017. The club won their second Federation Cup title under Albert Roca in 2017 defeating Mohun Bagan 2–0 in the final. The club also managed to reach Inter-zonal final in 2017 AFC Cup.

Colours and badge

Unveiled during the 21 July JSW launch, the crest features the Bangalore Palace coloured in white in order to symbolize "victory" from when the Wodeyars won the palace back.[26] The pride, resilience, and bravery of the people of Bengaluru is represented by a picture of a blue Gandaberunda – a mythical two-headed bird that is said to possess magical might – in the middle of the crest.[26] The use of the Gandaberunda is from the coat of arms for the state of Karnataka and is the symbol of the state.[26] On 24 January 2015, Bengaluru revealed Eddie The Eagle as its official mascot.[27]

Kit manufacturers and shirt sponsors

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
2013—2014 None JSW
2014—2018 Puma
2018—present Kia

In July 2014, Bengaluru signed a deal with Puma as their official kit sponsors from the 2014–15 season.[28] Bengaluru FC's parent company, JSW Group were principal sponsors of the team from inception till 2018. In 2018, Benglauru FC signed four year deal with South Korean motor company Kia Motors as the principal sponsors.[29]

Kit evolution

2013–14
2014–15
2015–16
2016–17
2017–18
2018–present

Stadium

Bengaluru FC played all its matches in the first season at the Bangalore Football Stadium which was located in the heart of the city. The West stand was the largest and could accommodate the maximum number of people. The West stand also housed the VIP boxes during I-League and other major matches. During the launch of the club it was announced that the team would play at the Bangalore Football Stadium for the 2013–14 I-League season.[1] The Bangalore Football Stadium was a 15,000 capacity football stadium which used astroturf.[30]

From the 2014–15 season the club started playing their matches at the 24,000 capacity Sree Kanteerava Stadium.[31] There are 8 entrances to the stadium, of which five are for public, one for the VIPs, one for stadium officials and one for players. There are a total of 9 stands used for Bengaluru FC matches. West Block A stand is the largest stand in the stadium and is home to the vociferous West Block Blues. Due to criticisms with the pitch in the earlier stadium, the new stadium decided to do away with astroturf and instead adopted natural grass. All stands except the North Stand have permanent seating.

Players

First-team squad

Sunil Chhetri, the captain of Bengaluru FC, is the club's all-time top goalscorer, with 71 goals in 143 matches.[32]
As of 18 September 2018.[33]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 India GK Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
2 India DF Rahul Bheke
3 Spain DF Albert Serrán
4 India DF Sairuat Kima
5 Spain DF Juanan
6 Australia MF Erik Paartalu
7 Venezuela FW Miku
8 India MF Kean Lewis
10 India DF Harmanjot Khabra
11 India FW Sunil Chhetri (captain)
13 India DF Rino Anto
14 Spain MF Dimas Delgado
15 India MF Bidyananda Singh
No. Position Player
17 India MF Boithang Haokip
18 India FW Thongkhosiem Haokip
19 Spain MF Xisco Hernández
21 India FW Udanta Singh
22 India DF Nishu Kumar
23 India GK Soram Poirei
26 India DF Asheer Akhtar
27 Bhutan FW Chencho Gyeltshen
32 India GK Aditya Patra
33 India DF Gursimrat Singh Gill
35 India MF Ajay Chhetri
36 India MF Altamash Sayed

Reserves and academy

Current technical staff

Position Name
Head Coach Spain Carles Cuadrat
Assistant Coach Spain Gerard Zaragoza
Assistant Coach/
Head Coach (reserve team)
India Naushad Moosa
Goalkeeping Coach Romania Cristian Patru
Fitness Coach Spain Mikel Guillén

Support

Bengaluru FC is reputed for one of the most vocal fanbases in India. The fans are known as the West Block Blues, named such after West Block A in the Bangalore Football Stadium.[34][35] The players and the coach have often acknowledged the fans' support in the success and called them The 12th Man.[36][37][38]

AFC Club ranking

As of 19 September 2018.[39]
Current rank Country Team Points
29 United Arab Emirates Al Jazira Club 44.85
30 China Tianjin Quanjian 42.51
31 Iraq Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya 41.74
32 India Bengaluru FC 41.32
33 South Korea Jeju United FC 40.92

Team records

Overview

Season League Teams Position Federation Cup
Super Cup
AFC competition(s)
2013–14 I-League 13 1 Group stage
2014–15 I-League 11 2 Winner AFC Champions League Preliminary Round 1
AFC Cup Round of 16
2015–16 I-League 9 1 Quarter-final AFC Cup Runners-up
2016–17 I-League 10 4 Winner AFC Champions League Preliminary Round 2
AFC Cup Interzonal Finalist
2017–18 ISL 10 League – 1st
Playoffs – Runner-up
Winner AFC Cup Interzonal Semi-finalist

Head Coaches' record

As of 7 October 2018
Name Nationality From To P W D L GF GA Win%
Ashley Westwood  England 2 July 2013 31 May 2016 89 49 17 23 144 103 055.06
Albert Roca  Spain 6 July 2016 31 May 2018 73 43 14 16 130 64 058.90
Carles Cuadrat  Spain 1 July 2018 present 4 1 1 2 5 7 025.00

Honours

Domestic

Winners (2) : 2013–14,[40] 2015–16[41]

Runners-up (1): 2014–15

Runners-up (1): 2017–18

Winners (2) : 2014–15,[42] 2016–17[43]

Winners (1) : 2018

International

Runner-up (1): 2015–16

Performance in AFC competitions

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b c d e "JSW Sports launches Bengaluru FC". I-League. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  2. ^ "Bengaluru FC - Venue". Indian Super League.
  3. ^ Vasavda, Mihir (17 November 2017). "ISL vs I-League: Deep divide between the two first divisions". Indian Express. Archived from the original on 9 March 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  4. ^ a b Ghosh, Sayan (23 November 2017). "Why the I-League will miss Bengaluru FC this season". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  5. ^ Sharma, Akash (25 December 2016). "Bengaluru FC: In a league of its own". LiveMint. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Dodsal FC might get a direct entry in next year's I-League". Kick Off India. Archived from the original on 5 August 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  7. ^ a b Mergulhao, Marcus. "AIFF chief proposes direct entry for teams in I-League". Times of India. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  8. ^ a b c "AIFF lifts ban on Mohun Bagan, let off with Rs 2 crore fine". Times of India. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  9. ^ a b Babu Cyriac, Biju. "I-League: Jindal Group back in talks". Times of India. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  10. ^ a b "JSW, two others bid for new I-League clubs". Business Standard. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  11. ^ a b Mazumdar, Rakhi. "JSW bags franchisee rights for Bengaluru team in I-league, group forays into football". Economic Times. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  12. ^ "Indian Football Transfer Gossip: Thoi Singh to shift his base from Mumbai Tigers to JSW Bangalore, Malswamtulunga set to join hands with East Bengal". Kick Off India. Archived from the original on 5 August 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  13. ^ "Ashley Westwood appointed JSW coach for upcoming I-League season". NDTV Sports. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  14. ^ "JSW add Premier League touch to squad". I-League. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  15. ^ "India captain Sunil Chhetri signs for I-League new entrants JSW". NDTV Sports. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  16. ^ a b "Bengaluru FC vs Indian national team". bengalurufc.com.
  17. ^ a b "Bengaluru FC hold Mohun Bagan to 1–1 draw". IBN Live. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  18. ^ "Bengaluru FC eases past Rangdajied United". The Hindu. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  19. ^ "East Bengal end Bengaluru's unbeaten run in I-League". NDTV Sports. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
  20. ^ "Bengaluru FC move to second spot in I-League". Times of India. Archived from the original on 29 November 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  21. ^ "Federation Cup 2013–14 to kickoff on Jan 14 with 16 teams". Zee News. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  22. ^ "Federation Cup: East Bengal knock out Bengaluru FC, Mohun Bagan to play Churchill". NDTV Sports. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  23. ^ "Bengaluru FC edge past Dempo SC 4–2 to win maiden I-League title". CNN-IBN. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  24. ^ "I-League: Bengaluru FC appoint Spaniard Albert Roca as new head coach". Goal.com. 6 July 2016.
  25. ^ "AFC Cup Report: Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya 1–0 Bengaluru FC: Air Force Club fly in champions orbit as Bengaluru can't span wings to title".
  26. ^ a b c "The club crest decoded: Everything BFC stands for". Bengaluru FC (Facebook). Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  27. ^ "The big signing we told you about has just walked the field – Eddie the eagle! BFC now has a new mascot, people! #BFCvDEM". Twitter. 24 January 2015.
  28. ^ "Puma is the official kit sponsor of Bengaluru FC". goal.com. 17 July 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  29. ^ @bengalurufc (4 October 2018). "A new journey begins today! Bengaluru FC is proud to announce @KiaMotorsIN as its principal sponsors. #KiaDrivesBFC #WeAreBFC #PowerToSurprise" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  30. ^ Ameerudheen, TA. "Turf inauguration put off in Bangalore football stadium". Times of India. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  31. ^ "Move on Stadium May Hit Football Future". 5 March 2014.
  32. ^ "Sunil Chhetri career stats". Soccerway. Archived from the original on 12 March 2018. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  33. ^ "Bengaluru FC announce 25-member squad for Indian Super League". Bengaluru Football Club. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  34. ^ "'We shall be victorious one day'". All India Football Federation. 10 November 2015.
  35. ^ "BFC fans give Bangalore football an 'ultra' flavour". Times of India. 27 March 2014.
  36. ^ "Robin Singh: Fans Played The Biggest Part In Our Title Win". 24 February 2015.
  37. ^ Arjun V Namboothiri. "Ashley Westwood: Special thanks to the fans". Goal.com.
  38. ^ Akash Manjunath (9 April 2014). "Bengaluru FC's Home Support: Their 12th man!". Goal.com.
  39. ^ "AFC Club Ranking 2018".
  40. ^ "Bengaluru FC crowned champions on I-League debut - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2017-08-28.
  41. ^ "Bengaluru FC are the champions of I-League 2015-16, claim their second title in three years - Goal.com". Goal.com. 2016-04-15. Retrieved 2017-08-28.
  42. ^ "Dempo SC 1-2 Bengaluru FC: The Blues win their first Federation Cup - Goal.com". Goal.com. 2015-01-11. Retrieved 2017-08-28.
  43. ^ "As it happened: Bengaluru FC win Federation Cup". ESPN. Retrieved 2017-08-28.

External links