The Pied Piper Of Forest Gate




Never before changes have been as prominent on a 105 m long and 68 m wide rectangular astro turf as the change of fortunes in East Bengal Football Club and the major changes have come through a Pied Piper of Forest Gate, Sir Trevor James Morgan. Being one of the most successful players during his times in the junior leagues, Morgan was meticulously followed and picked up for a club in real troubled waters.

The Pied Piper of Forest Gate - Sir Trevor James Morgan

The Pied Piper of Forest Gate – Sir Trevor James Morgan

East Bengal, established in the year of 1920 A.D., one of the oldest football clubs in the country, was neck deep in damage control and merely kept them afloat during the last few seasons of India’s only professional league,  the I- League. It had lost its huge fan base in the Eastern part of the country and people supporting this club hardly spelt out the name of their favorite club in public to keep away from chagrin. Goa, the smallest state in India was up to the task of grabbing in all of Kolkata’s football fever with the help of their clubs as Dempo Sports Club, Churchill Brothers Sports Club, Salgaocar Sports Club and Sporting Clube De Goa, with their wonderful performance and brilliant outplays in all the tournaments in India including the I-League. Dempo Sports Club holds their champion stand in the I-League for the year 2010 with their brilliant performance last season. If the fame, name and game damage had to be controlled, it had to be done with the preacher, and as decided by the East Bengal Club officials, came in the hexagenerian Trevor Morgan. Bringing in foreign coaches in a 3rd world country doesn’t cheer up supporters right away as East Bengal had another foreign national as a head coach, Phillip De Ridder, a Belgian,  but he couldn’t  deliver as expected and was sacked after his dismal performance in the 1st half of the I-League 2009-2010. But Sir Morgan just didn’t look the same as his foreign predecessor. He thought to speak up through his team’s performance. His first test was the Calcutta League. The Calcutta League is one of the oldest football leagues in the world which started in the year 1898.  The 31 time winners East Bengal were nowhere near to victory for the past 3 years. So, before the professional I-League begins, Morgan had to prove his point through this mini league and what a point he proved. His first opposition was Mohammedan AC on the last day of the month of August, and he had his job absolutely cut out. Within 3 minutes, his men proved on the pitch that the dormant volcano was smoldering again. Budiram Tudu scored a wonderful field goal and put his paisanos ahead. The supporters cheered, but Morgan didn’t. He had some other ideas running through his scalp. He wanted more. 14 minutes and the team were up 2-0 up by the midfield man Penn Orji. Halftime score read 3-0, courtesy Bikash Narjinary and supporters took the match by granted, never had they expected the second half to turn more dulcet.  Bikash Narjinary, the young footballer from the North India had some point to prove for Morgan, his club and to the supporters. He didn’t aim to score but play the best football and he did. 64th and the 66th minute showed his individual brilliance and helped the team to register the first humongous victories pushing those few dismal days down the memory lane. The final score read 5-0 in favor of East Bengal. Sir Morgan left the dugout confidently but didn’t overlook tears in the eyes of few excited supporters. The wheel moved on smoothly as ever after that. 2-0 against Kolkata Police, 4-1 against BNR, 5-0 against Mohammedan SC, 3-0 against Peerless SC, 2-0 vs Calcutta Port Trust, 6-0 against Eastern Railway, 3-1 against George Telegraph, 1-0 against Tollygunge Agragami, 5-2 against Kalighat MS, 3-1 against Raliway FC, 3-0 vs Kalighat, 1-1 vs Chirag United SC, 3-2 against Southern Samity and 2-0 against the arch rivals in the East Bengal-Mohun Bagan derby. 48 goals were scored and only 8 were conceded. No other club has ever been crowned such flawless Champions and the Calcutta League was again clad in red and gold after 3 painful years.

In between the Calcutta Premier League, dawned in the Federation Cup 2010-2011, but the juggernaut had to roll on. East Bengal molested all the clubs in the league round and set up an electrifying clash with their archest rival Mohun Bagan in the finals. This was Morgan’s first Derby with the reins of newly born super-power East Bengal Land he decided to show what this club really meant for. Federation cup has always been of the jinx for East Bengal and some way or the other, the trophy eluded them. This time had to be different. The underdogs thrashed the Bagan’s 1-0 and they were crowned the Federation Cup Champions in the famous Barabati Stadium in Orissa. The team had won the most prestigious tournament in the country and it had a ‘Hero’s Welcome’ as stated by the Kolkata dailies at the airport when fans in large numbers dropped by to greet their team.

After the first leg in the I-League is over, East Bengal has been invincible in most of their matches; the most remarkable victory was against Air India at Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata where they thrashed their opponents 6-1 and against Indian Arrows (AIFF-XI) where they registered a 4-0 victory. Plagued by injuries and few suspensions in certain crucial matches in the second leg of this season led East Bengal loose points and at the end of this season they couldn’t cling up the I-League title but the double trophies they had in this season and a second-best spot in the 14 team table was a real treat for the supporters. East Bengal played AFC cup this season too courtesy being the Federation cup champions and was unbeaten in all the home matches against their much superior opponents.

The most instrumental players in this new East Bengal team are Tolgay Ozbey – a talismanic Australian who is considered as the best foreign recruit this season, Mehtab Hussain – the midfield barrier and nominated as the best East Bengal player of this season and Uga Okpara – the great Nigerian wall, who all found themselves and their true color sunder the perfect person on the helm. Such is the Pied Piper of Forest Gate who pulled out East Bengal from oblivion and brought back supporters to the “Mecca of Indian Football” Yuva Bharati Krirangan.

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