Bengaluru FC has been a team which has always dominated the Indian Footballing leagues since its establishing days.
January 2013 was when the hunt to register this beautiful club started. This was the time when Indian Football wasn’t too popular with teams like Mohun Bagan and East Bengal only being massive during that time. It was time for Indian Football to step forward. It was rumoured that clubs could enter India’s top league I-League through corporate entry. This was later on finalized by holding a meeting later that month.
8th March 2013 will be written in the history books of Bengaluru FC. Jindal Steel Works, commonly known as JSW, made a bid to include Bengaluru in the 2013-14 season of I-League. They always wanted to have a team in Bengaluru but contemplated having one. They finally made the bid and Bengaluru FC was announced as a new club on 20th July.
Since its start, the journey has been one hell of a ride for the Blue’s supporters. Initially, Bengaluru Football Stadium (BFS) was used but they had to later on move into Sree Kanteerva stadium due to shortage in the seating capacity in Bengaluru Football Stadium. They started with hardly hundreds knowing that they exist. The fans that used to come to the stadium weren’t many. They had the belief in themselves when no one else did and that was the way forward for the club.
They got former Blackburn Rovers assistant manager, Ashley Westwood. The man had some swagger to his football style. He made the blues play some total football and it was beautiful to watch. For them to play the style he wished to play, he needed his set of players for it. Bengaluru FC made their first foreign signing from the same land. It was another Englishman into the team, John Johnson and alongside him came Curtis Osano. With a club in just their first season, no one expected them to do something extraordinary.
They signed the National Team captain in their first season and Sunil Chhetri was a blue right from when Bengaluru FC was established.
25th August was when Bengaluru FC rolled the ball for the first time. They played a friendly against the national team as preparation for SAFF Cup 2013. The journey of this beautiful club started on 22nd September 2013. It was their first I- League match and it was against Mohun Bagan. Bengaluru FC managed to score their first goal with the help of Sean Rooney in the second half of that match. Just when Bengaluru FC was smelling their first victory, Mohun Bagan equalized in the injury time. It wasn’t too long before Bengaluru FC got their first win. They won their next match 3-0 against Rangdajied United. Bengaluru FC played their first away match against the Kolkata giants East Bengal and it wasn’t a result they expected as they lost 3-0 against them. It was the first defeat for the club.
When hardly few believed in them, they had to believe in themselves. They had a good first season, they lost only 5 games in the 24 games that they played. They finished the season with 47 points. East Bengal were 4 points adrift of them. They could proudly say that they topped the table in their first season. They could proudly call themselves ‘Champions of India’ in their first season. The streets of Bengaluru heard the fans sing chants and there, the much renowned football culture of Bengaluru started to evolve.
The club has a block in the stands which started with less in number but it is growing year after year. The block is an emotional block for every BFC fan, Its called the West Block. A lot of effort has gone to make this a successful block. Although in the start the numbers were less, they still used to chant a few chants and always wanted to follow the European culture back in their homeland. It was successfully executed. Once the chants were slowly gaining recognition, they slowly started bringing out banners to the stadium. With them winning the league, the fans tried to create an atmosphere in such a way that more people would come and witness the greatness of this club.
In 2014-15 season, the blues started the season with a mindset to defend the crown that they earned. They had to prove a point to themselves, fans of their club and other clubs that it was their hard work that got them the first title and not luck. Although, they ended the season on a high by being unbeaten for 13 matches, it wasn’t enough to defend the title. They went into the last game of the season against Mohun Bagan and they had to get the 3 points to win the title.
Mohun Bagan had 38 points before the game and BFC had 36 points. The two teams were separated by two points. Bengaluru FC got the much-needed lead in the first half. They had to survive for another 45 mins and they would win the title. 87th minute was when the home supporters in the Kanteerva stadium became silent. They were shocked by what they saw. Bello Rasaq climbed high to slot his header home from a corner to take away the title from BFC. Players couldn’t believe it, fans couldn’t believe it. No one could believe what they saw. They had to get themselves back on the feet and prepare for the Federation cup and the AFC Cup. They wanted to make a point that they finish the season with a trophy. Federation cup helped them achieve that target. They went onto win two trophies in two years. This was when people started talking about this being a club to watch out for. They got knocked out in the Round of 16 in the AFC Cup.
In the 2015-16 season, Bengaluru FC made sure that they rise from the title defeat stronger than ever. They took the previous season’s title loss under their strive and came back stronger in the upcoming season. It was the final year in Westwood’s contract and he wanted to leave the club with a title. They faced only four losses in the entire season. Mohun Bagan this time lost the title by two points. It was the perfect response by the Blues.
Another notable thing that happened in the 2015-16 season was Bengaluru FC’s success in Asia. They had a brilliant time in Asia that season. They were the first Indian Club to reach AFC Cup finals. It was an absolute delight to everyone related to the club and also the nation to see the progress of Indian football in the past few years. Bengaluru FC played Johor Darul Ta’zim(JDT) in the semis. Lyngdoh’s important away goal set the tone for the AFC Cup Semifinals. At the end of the first leg, Bengaluru FC had an away goal and a draw against JDT. That performance set the tone for the second leg.
The West Block and the other stands were wild that day. Everyone screaming out the chants. Everyone believed that they can make it to the final. It was the captain that stepped himself up by putting in a brilliant performance in the home leg. He managed to score a brace before Juanan put the game to bed. Before all these goals came in, it was Johor who scored first. Bengaluru FC completely turned the game around after that and won the tie. Although, they failed to beat AL-Quawa Al-Zawiya in the final as they lost by a goal to nil. It was still a brilliant run in the tournament.
With Ashley Westwood leaving it was time for Bengaluru FC to find someone who could replicate what Westwood did. They needed someone who kept the winning mentality going in the club. They signed a two-year deal with a man from Spain, Albert Roca. He was the former assistant coach of the Spanish giants FC Barcelona. It wasn’t easy for Bengaluru FC to adjust to the new coach in their first season. They finished 4th for the first time since their establishment. Albert Roca was the right man for the job but needed time to bring in players that he required. Bengaluru FC winning a trophy a season continued after winning their 4th trophy is 4 years. They won the Federation Cup in the 2016-17 season.