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.
Alleging that the history and legacy of their beloved century-old club is being repeatedly tarnished, a group of 50-100 fans gathered in front of the club’s premises, beating drums and shouting slogans on microphones. Elsewhere, another group demonstrated in front of the CESC House in Dharmatala, demanding that the prefix ‘ATK’ be removed and the ‘contentious’ third kit is done away with.
Towards the evening a protest march with around 200 people was also taken out from the Eden Gardens area towards the Mohun Bagan club tent.
As the crowd swelled, the police was called in to disperse the large gathering since there were fears that the club’s annual general meeting might be disrupted.
After the AGM, ATK Mohun Bagan Finance Secretary, Debashis Dutta spoke to The Indian Express and shared his views on the sustained campaign by the supporters. Comparing the MB-KGSPL deal with the erstwhile McDowell’s, Dutta said, “Three-four of our members have told that we don’t want ATK before Mohun Bagan and we have clarified it to them that ATK is a brand just like earlier it was McDowell Mohun Bagan and they accepted it.”
On the issue jersey, he said, “That we have accepted. This will not be there going forward and there will be another type of jersey. As far as commentators using the word ATK, that is out of our hand but we have told Star Sports.”
“However, some former players intentionally use the word ATK on Star Sports (Bengali) to create this nuisance but now it has been stopped.”
Mohun Bagan legend and former captain Subrata Bhattacharya, who attended the meeting, was asked by the media on his views on the growing voices of discontent to which the 67-year-old said, “I will have to look into the matter but if commentators are using the word ATK then that is their fault. The heritage of the club deserves respect.”
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.
“Whenever there is an attempt to promote the brand of ATK we have protested. The black colour is not the issue but a close look will tell anybody that the design is the same as that of last season’s defending champions ATK – which is now defunct,” Tuhin Patel, one of the fans protesting at Dharmatala, last month had told this website.
“We have no problem with the stakeholders. Our only problem is with repeated publicity of brand ATK. We as diehard supporters of the club feel that this is an insult to the legacy of Mohun Bagan Athletic Club – established in the year 1889 with more than 100 major title victories,” he had added.
Noticeably, almost all ISL matches, witnessed ‘fan wall’ participants holding up ‘Remove ATK’ signs.
Different type of posters are hanging in the fan wall so, the admins of Fan wall remove one of our members but 5 are still there. #JoyMohunBagan #Theresistance #RemoveATK#KhelaHobe #greenandmaroonwarriors pic.twitter.com/HU0gQVkwb6
— Green & Maroon Warriors (@gmwarriors_17) February 6, 2021
“Never compromise with their own mother club’s respect, legacy, and heritage. We tried our best to keep our promise and the fight will continue, let’s roar #RemoveATK together,” read a statement from a Mariners fan page.