Having the honor of saying that you’re the one who has brought 26,000(and increasing) fans all over India together under one official banner, The Official Chelsea India Supporters’ Club, is something that rests solely on two gentlemen named Anand Singh and Shrenik Garge.
\ I see pride and happiness in their faces as they come to terms with the fact that something as minuscule as a pep talk about meeting up for games has congregated into official screenings in over 15 cities all over India without thousands of people attending.
My first contact with Anand was back in the good old days of Orkut in early 2009 when I read about the official screenings that take place at the legendary Irish Pub in Khar Road, and when he assured me that I wouldn’t be kicked out of the place for not being an 18 year old grown up just yet. And so my first screening did finally happen, the community shield win over Manchester United in King Carlo’s first game in charge.
\ But the story for Chelsea India began much earlier. And I feel it is imperative for everyone to know the history of Chelsea India Supporters’ Club.
\ Here’s how it goes:
When did it all begin? How did the two meet each other? \ “June 2006. The idea was to watch games with like-minded people as its more fun.” – Shrenik Garge, co-founder, CISC \ Thousands of Chelsea fans who have attended screenings, sung chants in locals, metros etc would hardly disagree on this.\
Are we the first supporters’ club to be officially recognized in India? \ “No” – Shrenik \
\ Then who? A very unexpected answer. Bayern Munich. \
Where was the first ever official screening held? \ “A pub, now defunct, in R-Mall, Mulund, Mumbai” – Anand Singh, Secretary & Co-founder, CISC \
Largest attendance ever? \ “264 Chelsea fans during the eventful 3-3 draw against Manchester United in 2012 at Irish Pub.” – Anand.\
Most memorable screening? \ “19.05.12. Goa.” – Both.
\ Go on, surf the net and relive that night, wherever you were.\
Are we the largest supporters’ club in India? \ “The biggest Chelsea supporters’ club in India. We’re the ones who introduced the concept of screenings” – Shrenik \ The rest is history. \
Steps to bring Chelsea to India in the near future? \ “We are doing whatever possible from our end to get CFC to India. It should work out in one or two seasons. BPL fan park event of Dec.14 will be of great help.” – Both \ Best news you’ll hear all day. \
Favorite Chelsea 11 since 2000. \
\ Shrenik: \ \
\ Anand: \ \
\ \ *P Ferreira is a Right Back \
\ I notice Ballack in Anand’s team sheet and I’m instantly reminded of one my most memorable nights ever, at Irish pub, the night we beat Wigan 8-0 to snatch the title in style. \ We wear our Blue, we see our Chelsea through. We certainly sing loud and clear till the game is done. \
- Written by Abhishek Easwaran