‘Remove ATK’ was one of the top trends on social media in West Bengal over the past weekend as loyal supporters of ATK Mohun Bagan vented their ire alleging the history and legacy of the club are being damaged more often than not.
On Sunday, ATKMB fans hit the streets, raised slogans in front of the Mohun Bagan Athletic Club tent, and then marched with posters in front of CESC House in Dharmatala, Kolkata, demanding that the prefix ATK be removed and the third kit design be changed.
???? @atkmohunbaganfc ?? ??????????? ???????? ???????? ??????? ???? @CESCLimited ?????? ???? ?? ????? ,,
???? ????? ???? ?? ??? ??????- #RemoveATK
#OnlyMohunBagan ??#joymohunbagan ?💚?@atkmohunbaganfc@IndSuperLeague @sbotopin @rpsggroup @IndianFootball pic.twitter.com/MkZEgRzkp0
— Mariner (@Sayak61) January 24, 2021
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,” said Tuhin Patel, one of the fans protesting at Dharmatala.
“We have no problem with the stakeholders. Our only problem is with repeated use of the black jersey and 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.
There were also protests CESC Branch Office at Shyambazar and Bhupen Bose Avenue in the city with banners stuck beside them.
This is not the first instance where fans have voiced their anger with the club management. Ever since Mohun Bagan merged with ATK in January 2020, where the RPSG Group became the majority shareholders in the new club along with Mohun Bagan Football Club (India) Private Limited to emerge as ATK Mohun Bagan FC, there have been a few points of differences.
Earlier there was growing resentment among fans and massive social media fury surrounding the ISL promo and the use of three stars on the training jersey. Ardent supporters of the club had expressed their unhappiness and pointed out that the three stars stitched on the training jersey were symbolic of ATK’s Indian Super League (ISL) titles along with the words ‘Champions 2019-20’.
Now, with the black jersey, which was used by ATK in their final season, coming back as the third kit for ATKMB has left a lot of them fuming.
A large section of supporters are now demanding the complete disassociation from ATK and the removal of the prefix before Mohun Bagan. This was even visible during the live telecast of a match where a fan who was a par of the fanwall tv put a sign of ‘Remove ATK’.
“RP Sanjiv Goenka Group Sbotop India we want to assure you that we have no problems with your investment for our motherclub #MohunBaganAc but atk name must not be present there,use the investor or sponsor name infront of Mohun Bagan,but complete Branding of atk must be stopped for atkmohunbaganfc,” read a statement from Mariners de extreme fan page.
“Officials have to take responsibility so that our team can play ISL- Indian Super League without the name of any “dead football club” atk- It is their duty, not ours, they are in the chair.
“any x,y,z sponsor or investor can be placed in front of Mohun Bagan but not our old city rival Atk!”
Last time, the ATKMB management had modified the promo taking cognizance of the online fury. Now, it remains to be seen how far things will escalate as the fans are unwilling to relent on the jersey issue.
ATK Mohun Bagan FC was approached for comment but so far has not responded.