The East Bengal Club is one of the oldest and prestigious football clubs in India. It stands tall among its peers by virtue of an enviable record both in India and abroad. Over the years, East Bengal's classic battles with city-rivals Mohun Bagan have become a part of Indian football folklore. The football culture in India is said to have been given a prominent boost by the East Bengal Club. This club has been the mentor of several national and international level players and even decades after its formation, it stands as one of the most active football clubs in the country. In 1998, the name of the club was changed to Kingfisher East Bengal Club.
In the early twentieth century, football became a popular sport among the Bengali youth especially after Mohun Bagan's historic success in the 1911 I.F.A. Shield final. However due to the monopoly of British and I.F.A. Governing body, except for two Indian clubs including Mohan Bagan, all the other Indian football clubs were restricted from playing the first divisions of the league. Thus The Indian clubs were restricted to domestic trophies like Coochbehar Cup and Trades Cup. This led to immense dissatisfaction amongst the talented players of other football clubs.
Under the above mentioned circumstances, when star halfback Sailesh Bose of the Jorabagan club was dropped without any reason in a Coochbehar Cup tie against the Mohan Bagan Club, Jora bagan's Club's Vice- President and Industrialist Suresh Chandra Chaudhuri out of anger and dissatisfaction, cut his relation with his club and led the foundation of East Bengal Club on 1st August 1920. The East Bengal was named so because the founders of the club hailed from that region of Bengal. Finally, the East Bengal Club began with Raja Manmatha Nath Chaudhuri, Bose, Ramesh Chandra (Nasha) Sen and Aurobinda Ghosh.
The East Bengal club played its maiden tournament as soon as it was established. The team managed to win its maiden tournament, the Hercules Cup without any Herculean effort. The first managing committee of the club was then set up and Prof. S. Roy, Principal of Vidyasagar College assumed the post of the President. East Bengal Club never looked back after that. In 1942, East Bengal club won its first league triumph, and the following year it won the IFA Shield. The club was the record winner of the IFA shield for three consecutive years from 1949-1951. Since then, the red and gold brigade has only got better and has earned the reputation of being one of the most outstanding clubs in the country.
The East Bengal Club has been one of the most consistent performing football clubs in the country. The club created sensation in Asia in July 2003 when they won LG Asean Cup from Jakarta beating BEC Tero Sasana in the finals. Currently, the team runs under the supervision of Subhash Bhowmik, the national football team player. Kingfisher, the famous Mallaya Group Company has been the chief sponsor of the company since 1998 and is also 50% stake holder in the club. The company has always been a consistent performer in the last eight decades and has a frenzy fan following all over the country.
Achievements and Accolades
The Club has made it a habit of rewriting record books. East Bengal was the first team to win the coveted National Football League in back-to-back years (2002-2003 & 2003-2004). In 2003, East Bengal became the first Indian club to win any Asian level football tournament when they demolished Thailand's BEC Terro Sasana 3-1 in the final of the LG ASEAN Cup in Jakarta. Other than this, the club has been the winner of the Calcutta Super Division Championship for 30 times, the IFA Shield for 27 times and the Durand cup for 16 times.