Slogans of ‘Remove ATK’ reached the club tent of ATK Mohun Bagan on Saturday as loyal supporters of ATK Mohun Bagan once again vented their anger before the club’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Alleging that the history and legacy of their beloved century-old club is being repeatedly tarnished, a large number of fans gathered in front of the Mohun Bagan Athletic Club beating drums and shouting on microphones. Another group protested in front of CESC House in Dharmatala, demanding that the prefix ‘ATK’ be removed and the ‘contentious’ third kit not worn.
Towards the evening a protest march with around 300 people was also taken out from the Eden Gardens area towards the Mohun Bagan club tent.
As the crowd swelled, police was called in to disperse the large gathering since there were fears that the club’s annual general meeting might be disrupted.
During the AGM, ATK Mohun Bagan director and Mohun Bagan secretary Srinjoy Bose was confronted with the same query. In reply, he assured fans that all their concerns will be resolved soon. Comparing the MB-KGSPL deal with the erstwhile McDowell’s, Bose said, “Going forward, whatever we win will be mentioned as trophies won by Mohun Bagan.”
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 The Indian Express.
“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 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.