East Bengal Football Club is an Indian football club based in Kolkata, West bengal. One of the most successful clubs in Indian football, the club currently competes in the I-League, the top-tier of Indian football pyramid. The club has won 3 National Football League titles and 8 Federation Cups. Along with Dempo SC, East Bengal is tied for the record for the longest uninterrupted period in the Indian top flight. The club is the current holder of theCalcutta Football League and was the runner-up in the most recently concluded I-League competition. The club has represented India the most number of times in the Asian competitions, with its best performance being a semi-final berth in the AFC Cup 2013. East Bengal had also won ASEAN Club Championship in 2003.
East Bengal was founded in 1920 in Kolkata. With the start of the National Football League in 1996, East Bengal was one of the original teams to have participated in the league and is among the only two teams to have remained in the top-flight of the country since then.
The club has a long-standing rivalry with neighbours Mohun Bagan AC, with whom it contests the Kolkata derby.
On 28 July 1920 Mohun Bagan were scheduled to play Jorabagan in the Coochbehar Cup. Jorabagan sent out their starting eleven but with the notable exclusion of defender Sailesh Bose who was dropped from the squad for reasons not disclosed. The vice-president of Jorabagan, Suresh Chandra Chaudhuri, asked for Bose to be included in the line-up but the club coaches did not listen. Chaudhuri left the club due to this and, along with Raja Manmatha Nath Chaudhuri, Ramesh Chandra Sen, and Aurobinda Ghosh, formed East Bengal on 1 August 1920.
The club then participated in their first tournament in the same month of their formation in the Hercules Cup which was a 7-a-side tournament. East Bengal won the tournament. After the tournament the club became affiliated with the Indian Football Association. The club then entered league play in the IFA Second Division. The club finished in third place in the first season in the Second Division.
In 1924 the club won the Second Division to gain promotion to the IFA First Division after finishing in second place to Cameroons “B”. Due to Cameroons “A” being in the First Division already the “B” team could not gain promotion and thus East Bengal were next in line for promotion. However more controversy arrose after it was found out that the IFA only allowed two Indian based clubs in the IFA First Division (back then the IFA was British organization) and during the governing body meeting the nine British clubs approved of allowing East Bengal but the two Indian clubs (Mohun Bagan and Aryans Club) did not approve but majority votes allowed East Bengal into the IFA First Division. After this the IFA removed the Indian club limit rule.
It took the club till 1942 to win their first IFA First Division title. Then in 1943 the club won their first IFA Shield. The club then achieved the double in 1945 by winning both the Calcutta Football League and IFA Shield. The club then went on to win the 1949 Rovers Cup and the Durand Cup in 1951. Within that time the club also won three straight IFA Shields (1949, 1950, and 1951). The club then partook in a tour to the Soviet Union and Romania in 1953. The club then went on to win the 1973 IFA Shield against Piyong Young Club of South Korea.
The club then grew their reputation after winning the Calcutta Football League for six straight years from 1970 to 1975. They also won the IFA Shield, Rovers Cup and Durand Cup during those years. They even won the quadruple in 1972 by winning the Calcutta League, IFA Shield, Rovers Cup and Durand Cup in one season. Then in 1984 Dipak Das came into the club and revamped it. He brought in professionalism and turned the club into a professionally ran company. The club also went on to win the second edition of the Federation Cup in 1978 and then again in 1980 and again in 1985. They also became the first Indian club to play in the newly redone Asian Club Championship in 1985-86. The club then won the triple again in 1990 by winning the IFA Shield, Rovers Cup, and Durand Cup in one season. The club also won the Wai Wai Cup in Nepal in 1993.
In 1998 Das signed with Vijay Mallya’s United Breweries Group which then formed a new Private Limited Company called “United East Bengal Football Team Private Limited”. The club also renamed itself as Kingfisher East Bengal from then on. The club then became the first Indian club to win an international competition in 2003 after they won the ASEAN Cup in Jakarta, Indonesia. In 1996 the club became the founding members of the first naton-wide football league in India, the National Football League.
The club then entered the 21st century in style winning the 2000–01 National Football League season. They then became the first club to win back to back titles after winning the 2002–03 and 2003–04 versions of the league and coming runners up in 2010–11 and 2011–12 in the I-League. The club then went on to win the Federation Cup again in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012. They also won the Indian Super Cup twice in 2006 and 2011.
The colours of East Bengal are red and gold. The home jersey consists of a red and gold jersey with black shorts and red socks while the away jersey consists of a white jersey and white socks and black shorts.
The reason for these colours is because after the club was formed the founders debated over the choice of colours for the club jersey. They choose a red and golden colour shirt hanging impressively at the Whiteaway, Laidlaw & Co. Departmental Store at Chowringhee. These colours became permanently associated with the club.
The East Bengal Ground is another stadium in Kolkata, India. It is currently used mostly for football matches and is the home stadium of East Bengal in Calcutta Football League matches. The stadium holds 23,500 people. The football stadium’s grass is natural grass turf. Other features of the stadium are also commentary boxes for Radio and TV, air conditioned player changing rooms along and a gym.