Finally, the Mohun Bagan fans’ vehement request to have the ‘ATK’ prefix removed from the name of their football team has been accomplished.
In accordance with claims, ATK Mohun Bagan would alter their name to MBSG in order to keep its affiliation with the Lucknow Super Giants team from the Indian Premier League. The letters “SG” are also initials of the owner, ‘S’anjeev ‘G’oenka. The Kolkata club defeated Bengaluru FC on penalties to win the Indian Super League Trophy for the first time. Sanjeev Goenka made the announcement then.
Additionally, the management of the team appears to have given up on the “merger” allegation. It caused all the commotion between ATK FC and the football squad of the Mohun Bagan Athletic Club.
The Mariners have been engaged in a battle to protect their club’s identity for the past three years. As KGSPL, the former owners of ATK FC and the current main shareholders of the Mohun Bagan football team, attempted to brand the squad as a “merged club”. The assertion was refuted by the official records. It revealed that the team had tampered with Mohun Bagan’s registration and disproved the entire “merger” theory. Even the KGSPL official letter to IFA, which was leaked by a Mohun Bagan supporter organisation. Referred to the KGSPL-Mohun Bagan agreement as a “corporate joint venture” like any other investment agreement, not a “merger.”
ATK Mohun Bagan merger or not a merger
The Mohun Bagan supporters resisted the “merger” claim from the start. Since it diminished the identity of their club and robbed them of more than 130 years of sporting heritage and hundreds of trophies they had worked so hard to acquire. KGSPL originally increased its bogus “merger” branding, nevertheless. The result was that the fans took to the streets to demonstrate against the management.
The stadiums were once again open to spectators following the COVID-19 outbreak. The Mariners staged a number of protests there. Even though it would be unthinkable in most football clubs around the world, the KGSPL attempted to outlaw flags and banners from the matches in an effort to quell the outbursts and protests of the fans. The police attempted to enforce this restriction. The supporters engaged into heated fights with them and eventually managed to carry in their flags and banners.
Following this, every independent Mohun Bagan fan club demanded a complete boycott of the football team’s games. This had a disastrous effect on attendance.
Better sense won out as the tide was heavily shifting against the management. And several fan organisations were calling for a halt to the KGSPL-Mohun Bagan arrangement. Following the KGSPL chairman Dr. Sanjiv Goenka’s team’s victory in the ISL playoff final on March 18. He declared, “We are removing ATK, it will be Mohun Bagan Super Giants from next season. Well, it was something that was on the cards. I was waiting for the win to announce it”. The idea to rename the Mohun Bagan football team as the “Mohun Bagan Super Giant” was then formally adopted during a board meeting. The fans who had been protesting for the previous three years applauded and expressed gratitude at the outcome.
Victory of MB fans
On the team’s numerous social media sites today, the new name was formally introduced. Additionally, the official Facebook bio for the team deleted any references to the alleged “merger”. And instead focused on Mohun Bagan’s actual history.
A loose collective of fan clubs led by young supporters managed to topple a significant corporate branding narrative. Heavily funded PR & marketing initiative supported. Bringing one of the most remarkable fan movements in the history of Indian football to a successful conclusion.
Things appear to be looking good for the club. Which has survived many storms in its illustrious history and will turn 133 in a few months. The protesting fans are will return to the stadium in their regular supportive capacity in the 2023–24 season.
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