“Marching in” is perhaps the wrong phrase to use while standing as a group outside the ‘Arrivals’ gate of an airport.
But, at the Kempegowda International Airport on Tuesday morning, it didn’t stop ‘Westwood’s Blue Army’ from chanting ‘Oh When The Blues Go Marching In’ as they waited for Bengaluru FC players to land from Goa, a day after beating Dempo 4-2 to win the I-League title.
Curious onlookers were also treated to poorly synchronised versions of “BFC.... BFC” and “Campeones Ole Ole Ole... Campeones” from a sizeable number of fans who had packed the arrival lounge some thirty minutes before their heroes emerged outside to vociferous applause.
Robin Singh, who scored BFC’s second goal against Dempo on Monday, was the first to emerge. And the chanting reached a crescendo when the entire team and the support staff packed into a small area for photo ops.
The guards weren’t too thrilled with the idea but the party had just begun.
Bouquets were handed, high fives with fans soon gave way to the latest fad – selfies – and it looked as if it was right out of the climax scene of Love Actually; when the main protagonists return to meet their loved and dear ones at Heathrow airport.
The players and the support staff stood on top of luggages, trolleys and virtually anything that helped them to be seen over the sea of floating heads.
For a club that was just an idea of a billionaire this time last year, it is surprising that they have managed to connect with the fans to such an extent within a few months.
Speaking at the airport, BFC’s skipper Sunil Chhetri alluded that fan support was one of the main reasons for their success.
“These (fans) I tell you are the best in the world. Right from day one against Mohun Bagan to this day, they have been with us, supporting us. They have taken us where we are now.
“It’s an amazing reception, an amazing feeling really,” Chhetri said.
Given that the BFC party continued at least until 4.30 am on Tuesday morning (according to their official Twitter account), the players could have been excused if they had made a quick way past the waiting supporters.
But the fact that they stayed and ensured everybody went home happy reflected the gratitude towards their fans.
The fans themselves were draped in BFC colours – a far cry from the opening weekends of the season when Manchester United or Liverpool jerseys were the preferred attires to watch BFC.
At the risk of sounding a bit hyperbolic, one might be tempted to say that a revolution appears to be on the horizon in what was once a football-mad city.