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SILVER AND GOLDEN JUBILEE CELEBRATION : 1912–1946

British people did not take the defeat of East Yorkshire Regiment against Mohun Bagan open mindedly; they were very angry on Mohun Bagan and were trying to keep Mohun Bagan under pressure. The dark side of this conspiracy came in 1912 IFA Shield. In the first round, Mohun Bagan faced that time famous team Calcutta Football Club. It was preplanned to eliminate Mohun Bagan just from the first round of IFA Shield. In the match, Mohun Bagan scored three goals, but referee annulled two goals for offside. Mohun Bagan finally lost the match by 1-2. This match was of particular interest because that was the first match in India of which motion pictures had been taken by the famous pioneers of the film industry in India, Messrs. J. F. Madan and Co. Merely as a cinematic interest it may be noted here that the goals that had been disallowed by the referee on the score of offside were, according to the film, when projected on the screen, found not to be so!!! Mohun Bagan captain Mr. Shibdas Bhaduri did not protest in the field but he was very upset regarding this incident and took his retirement from the football career. Sudhir Chatterjee also got serious injury and he also took retirement. Mr. Habul Sarkar became the captain of Mohun Bagan. This year Mohun Bagan won Nawab Ashanullah Challenge Shield; it was the third consecutive victory of Mohun Bagan in this tournament. Club also annexed the Bengal Jimkhana shield this year.

1913 was a lean year in the matter of winning trophies and there was none what so ever in the club’s bag. The club lost to E.B. Railways in the IFA Shield, but it was remarkable for the entry of Gostho Paul, popularly known as “Chinese Wall”. He played his first game for Mohun Bagan at the age of only 16 years in a friendly match in a sloppy ground against Dalhousie. But he did not perform well in that match and experts made negative comments about him. After two days, there was the match against Black Watch. Gostho Paul came to ground with a bit hesitation, and was amazed when Bhuti Sukul asked him whether he would play with him in the first eleven. In this match, Gostho Paul played brilliantly and then there started the Gostho Paul era in Mohun Bagan.

In 1914, a new chapter was written not only in the history of Mohun Bagan club, but in that of the Calcutta Football League, which till then had been limited to European teams only. As a result of Bagan’s uniformly good performances including the winning of the Shield in 1911, it was felt that Mohun Bagan should be admitted into the Second division of the League and Mohun Bagan along with Aryans, were the first Indian teams to have joined the league. The 91st Highlanders, the second string of the famous Highland team, in the first division, ran away with the second division honours with Measurers and Mohun Bagan tieing for the second position with 22 points each. As according to the rules, the second team of the Highlanders could not be promoted, the decision was taken to stage a special deciding match between Measurers and Mohun Bagan and the first match between the two ended in a draw. In the replay which came off on the Caledonian ground (now Police Ground), Mohun Bagan was beaten by Measurers by two goals to one, and the Measurers were thus promoted to the First division. The CFL Committee, however, felt that Mohun Bagan should also be promoted and this was actually done as a vacancy in the First Division had occurred owing to the withdrawal of the RGA. Mohun Bagan’s promotion to the First Division involved the changing of the rules of the Calcutta Football League, which was done under the lead of T.C. Crawford, who was then the Vice-President of the IFA and who played a very important part in having Indian teams admitted to the senior division. That year club failed to win a single important trophy, but went up to the final of the Coochbehar Cup. It was in 1914 that Subedar Major Sailendranath Bose retired from the position of secretary and took up an army assignment abroad, the great was having broken out. The loss in administration of a sterling worker and leader like Sailen Bose, might have been irreparable, but for the fact that the secretaryship passed on to Sri Dwijendra Nath Basu (1915-1932), who filled in the vacancy with great credit. In aid of the War Relief Fund the club played a charity match with the Calcutta Football Club. This year Mohun Bagan celebrated the Silver Jubilee Year. This year, as the first team of Bengal Mohun Bagan sent their cricket team to outside.

Mohun Bagan CFC Team

Team of Mohun Bagan and Calcutta Football Club who played a charity match in aid of the Imperial Relief Fund on 12th Sept., 1914

Mohun Bagan Cricket Team 1914

Mohun Bagan cricket team that went outside as first team of Bengal

In 1915 the club appeared in the First Division of the Calcutta Football League and this was yet another landmark in the annals of the club. Mohun Bagan played their first match in First Division of Calcutta League on 15th May 1915 against Calcutta Club. The match resulted in draw. The club finished fourth on the league table and created a very fine impression especially on dry grounds as most of the players had still been playing barefooted. Just like 1913-14 seasons, Mohun Bagan did not get any trophy during this year also, but reached to the semifinal of the IFA Shield. The junior team of the club went up to the Semi-Final stage in the Trades Cup and the Coochbehar Cup. This year Mohun Bagan got the ground of National A.C. (1915–1963). The club was unfortunate that year to lose by death one of its patrons, H. H. The Maharaja Raj Rajendra Narayan Bhup Bahadur of Cooch Behar, who had been taking a keen and active interest in the club’s progress.

In 1916 Mohun Bagan annexed Coochbehar Cup, Civil and Military League and Chandernagore Cup; became the runners in Calcutta Football League.

In 1917 Mohun Bagan lost to Middlesex team in the IFA shield but grabbed number of trophies like Shyamsundar Cup, St. John Ambulance Cup, Power Memorial League and Khagendra Memorial Shield.

1918 was also a quite successful year, though did not annex any renowned trophies, but grabbed trophies like Khagendra Memorial Shield, Minerva Cup, Shyamsundar Cup and St. John Ambulance Cup.

1919 was a futile year for Mohun Bagan, did not get any trophy in this year.

In 1920, club became the runner’s up in the Calcutta Football League Championship contests, the Calcutta FC being the champions that year. This year Mohun Bagan reached the semi-final of the IFA Shield but unexpectedly lost to Kumartuli by 1-2 goals. This year Mohun Bagan won Suryakanta Memorial Shield of Mymensingh.

Mohun Bagan SKS 1920

Suryakanta Shield winning team of Mohun Bagan

In 1921, Mohun Bagan club became the runner’s up in Calcutta Football League; this was also a futile year for the club.

In 1922, Mohun Bagan invited a team of South African Indian footballers (and also cricketers) to play couple of friendly matches, won one and lost the other. This year club grabbed Jadunath Memorial Shield and Sachin Memorial Challenge Shield.

1922 SA India Team

South Africa Indian Team that visited India in 1922. In Bengal they were guests of Mohun Bagan

In 1923, Mohun Bagan reached the final of IFA Shield but lost the opportunity to become champion after being defeated by Calcutta Football Club by three goals to nil. This year club accepted the invitation from Bombay to participate in the Rovers Cup tournament- the premier tournament of Western India. As Mohun Bagan carved its way up to the final, all Bombay, according to contemporary reports, “went soccer mad” at the Cooperage “in an unprecedented manner”. The club, however, lost to the formidable Durham Light Infantry by four goals to one, but during this tournament Mohun Bagan got huge support. This year Mohun Bagan grabbed Leslie Challenge Cup.

In 1924, Mohun Bagan lost one of its big well-wishers, first club President Mr. Bhupendranath Basu on 16th September. After this incident, Sir Rajendranth Mukherjee (1924–1936) became the new President of Mohun Bagan club. Dwijendra Nath Basu and D. N. Guin were selected as the Honorary Joint Secretary of the club.

In 1925, another landmark in the ladder of glory of Mohun Bagan club was reached when the age-old tradition of the Durand Cup was broken – a tournament till then confined exclusively to military teams. On the invitation of the Durand Committee, the club had the unique distinction of being the first civilian team to take part in that tournament. Mohun Bagan reached the semi-final after beating such regimental teams like Royal Berkshire Regiment, The Yorks and Lancs, and Essex Regiment and lost in the semi-final to Sherwood Foresters after a good fight. In the same year club became the runners up in the Calcutta Football League with just one point different from champion Calcutta Football Club; grabbed Coochbehar Cup and Jabakusum Cup. This year Dwijendra Nath Basu (1925-1932) was elected as the Honorary General Secretary of the club.

1925 Durand team

The Team that represented Mohun Bagan in 1925 Durand Cup in Simla

In 1926, the club reached the third round of IFA Shield but lost to Sherwood Foresters and lost Durand Cup to Durham Light Infantry. This year two clubs tied in the Calcutta Football League as leaders. Mohun Bagan was the third, two points behind the leaders. The club did not lose a single game in the second half of the league contest, and beat the Calcutta Club, which had an otherwise unbeaten record in the League competition that year.

In 1927, Gujarat suffered a heavy flood situation and a Flood Relief Fund was constructed to support to the people of Gujarat. Mohun Bagan played some exhibition matches at Bombay (today’s Mumbai) to raise the fund for this purpose. In this year Club was unable to make any impact in the Durand Cup, which was, held at Shimla, even in presence of some great players like Samad, Balaidas Chatterjee etc. Mohun Bagan lost to the Wiltshire Regiment in the IFA Shield competition by 1-2.

MohunBagan ChesireRegiment 1927

Mohun Bagan and Chesire Regiment in Bombay in 1927 after the charity match

In 1928, Mohun Bagan won the Power Memorial League for the second time, Coochbehar Cup for the seventh time and Lakshmibilas Cup for the third time. The club finished third in the Calcutta Football League, winning all the matches in the first half except that with the Dalhousie AC, who became the champions. In the IFA Shield competition Mohun Bagan lost to the same club.

In 1929, there was some unpleasantness at the League Game between the Dalhousie Club and Mohun Bagan, resulting in the withdrawal of nearly all the Indian Clubs from the IFA and the Calcutta Football League. The Indian Clubs acted in united manner. But there was a happy ending of the dispute. There was an amicable settlement agreed to by all the clubs, under which the Indian Clubs came to have equal representation with the European Clubs on the Council of the IFA. The Indian Clubs revoked their withdrawal and played in the IFA and League contests. Mohun Bagan finished second in the League competition, the Duke of Connaught’s Light Infantry being the champions. The club lost to Royal Irish Fusiliers, one of the strongest sides then in India by 0-1 in the fourth round of IFA Shield competition. In Durand Cup, Mohun Bagan lost to the Sandemanians; this year club won Jabakusum Cup.

In 1930, there was strong political agitation this year throughout the country and the football grounds were picketed by both men and women. Play became difficult. There was serious apprehension of riots and of disturbances of the public tranquility. Mohun Bagan and other Indian League Clubs met and decided not to play matches that season in the public contests.

In 1931, in the IFA Shield tournament the club made its way up by winning matches against strong combinations like the Leicester Regiment, the Prince of Wales’ Volunteers and the Calcutta Customs. In the last match, Sanmatha Dutta, the captain, Umapati Kumar, the inside left, and R. Chowdhury, the outside right were badly injured and were unable to play in the match of the tournament between the club and the Highland Light Infantry, the club lost to the Highlanders by 0-3 after one drawn game. This year club annexed Coochbehar Cup and Griffith Shield. The club had the misfortune to lose by death Subadar Major Sailendranath Basu, who had been Honorary Secretary during so many eventful years, and to whom the club owes a deep debt of gratitude. He died on the 7th June, 1931. To do honour to his memory, the club presented a Shield, bearing his name, to the IFA for award to the winners in the annual match between the Indian and European clubs.

In 1932, Mohun Bagan lost to Cameroonian Highlanders in the IFA Shield tournament and finished third in the Calcutta Football League table. This year club sustained two heavy losses by death. Shibdas Bhaduri, the captain of 1911 IFA Shield winning team died on 27th February, 1932. In his memory the club donated a cup to the IFA to be presented every year to the captain of the winning team in the IFA Shield tournament. A further shock was the death of Dwijendranath Basu who had taken up the secretaryship in 1916 and continued till the time of his death (breathed his last on 24th June, 1932), except for one year in 1924- when he was Joint Honorary Secretary with D. N. Like his elder brother, Sailendranath Basu, D. N. Basu had served the club both as a great player and administrator. Thus two of the streams that fed the fountain of Mohun Bagan’s fame were dried by death in the course of two short years. The same year the club lost P. N. Mitra, one of its early members who had rendered considerable service towards the stabilization of the financial position of the club. Another among the earliest of the members, Ajay Kumar Borat, who is believed to have been a founder member, also passed away about this time.

In 1933, Mohun Bagan won Dwarbhanga Shield, the Governor’s Shield of Hazaribagh and Lady Shifton’s Shield but lost to York & Lancester Regiment by 0-1 in IFA Shield. During this year, IFA sent a football team to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) to play couple of matches. Gostho Paul was selected as the captain of the team. Samad and Karuna Bhattacharya were also selected from Mohun Bagan club. Famous Barrister Shailendranath Banerjee (1933-1940) took the responsibility of the honorary General Secretary of the Club.

In 1934, Mohun Bagan became runners up in the Calcutta Football League and grabbed trophies like Jabakusum Cup, Liberty Cup, Bell Cup etc. Out of 89 matches played by the club this season it won 54, drew 20 and lost 15 matches. This year an Indian IFA team went to South Africa tour. Gostho Paul was selected as the captain of the team but could not go owing to ill health. Three of the club players, Sanmatha Dutta, Satu Chowdhury and Karuna Bhattacharjee went to South Africa and won high approbation there for their play.

MohunBagan Team 1934

Mohun Bagan Football Team of 1934

In 1935, Mohun Bagan club annexed Coochbehar Cup, Bell Cup and Lady Hardinge Shield. During this period, a great change occurred among the Mohun Bagan players. Most of the players of Mohun Bagan were habituated to play in bare foot and most of them believed that they would not be able to play freely wearing the boots. Although they knew the importance of wearing the boots in slippery ground condition to keep the body balance. One of the famous players of Mohun Bagan, Mr. Abdul Hamid for the first time inspired the players to play wearing boots.

MohunBagan Team 1935

Mohun Bagan Football Team of 1935

In 1936, the club finished third in the Calcutta Football League; lost to the Calcutta FC in the semi final of the IFA Shield tournament and also lost to the second round of the Durand Tournament at Shimla. This year club won Coochbehar Cup, Griffith Shield, Jabakusum Cup, Lady Hardinge Shield and William Younger Cup. In this year, club was unfortunate to lose its President, Sir R. N. Mookherjee, who had taken over charge in 1924. Club again lost one of his brave sons, the member of 1911 IFA Shield winning team, Mr. Bijoydas Bhaduri in the same year. This year Jatindranath Basu who was the first secretary of the club was selected as the President of the club (1936-1946).

MohunBagan Team 1936

Mohun Bagan team at Simla in 1936 for the Durand Cup

MohunBagan Team 1936

Mohun Bagan team in 1936 when they won the majority of the junior tournaments

In 1937 when the Ishlington Corinthians of England visited Calcutta under the auspices of the IFA, Mohun Bagan was invited to play an exhibition match with them. The Corinthians won the match by one goal to nil and, incidentally, were entertained by the club at an evening party. In this year, club lost to Leicestershire Regiment in the fourth round of the IFA Shield. Club won Park League, Raja Shield, William Younger Cup, Lakshmibilas Cup and Jabakusum Cup. This year club had the misfortune of losing three of the founder members, namely Sir B. N. Mitra, Dr. J. N. Bose, and Jatindra Nath Mitra. B. N. Mitra was the Honorary Secretary of the club from 1898-1900. This year Monilal Sen was selected as the Vice President of the club (1937-1946).

MohunBagan Corinthians 1937

A combined group of Mohun Bagan and Islington Corinthians team

In 1938, Mohun Bagan won Trades Cup and Khagendra Memorial Shield. A Burma team visited India this year; Calcutta and Mohun Bagan were asked to make up a team to play the visitors as their fixture with the Mohammedan Sporting Club had fallen through. The combined team lost to the Burma team by 2-3. The IFA also sent a team to Australia; three members of the club, Satu. Chowdhury, Premlal and Karuna Bhattacharjee were selected in this team and Karuna Bhattacharjee was the captain of this team.

Then came the all-important year – 1939; Mohun Bagan became the first ever Calcutta League Champion after a long waiting of 25 years. The club team at the League matches was selected out of the following are-

  • K. Dutt
  • Dr. S.Dutt
  • P. Chakraborty
  • K. Banerjee
  • S. Dutt (Junior)
  • Beni Prasad
  • Premlal
  • B. Mukherjee (Captain)
  • S. Guin
  • S. Mitter
  • A. Chowdhury
  • M. Banerjee
  • J. Ghosh
  • S. Chowdhury

This year club also won the Lakshmibilas Cup, Trades Cup, Raja Shield, Park League, Griffith Shield and Governor’s Shield of Hazaribag.

1939 Calcutta Football League Winning Team

1939 Calcutta Football League Winning Team of Mohun Bagan

In 1940, Mohun Bagan celebrated its Golden Jubilee Year with huge arrangement. The Golden Jubilee sub-committee under the leadership of D. N. Guin, worked tirelessly to make the celebration a grand success. On the 15th December morning, Mohun Bagan club officials and players went to Kalighat temple. From there, they went to club tent at maidan where “Homa” according to Vedic rites was performed. The following evening - on December 16, the club staged a dramatic performance of a Bengali play, “Matir Ghar” at Rangmahal near Hatibagan very successfully for the entertainment of over 1,300 members present. The portrait of the first President, Sri Bhupendranath Basu, of illustrious memory, which was presented to the club by B. K. Ghosh was unveiled at the club tent by the then President, Jatindranath Basu, on December 18. This function was followed by a football match on the club grounds between present and ex-players. After the match, Kumar Sachindranarayan Sanyal and A. D. Kumar handed over the medals and club jerseys to the players. On the evening of December 19, the ground, tent and gallery elegantly decorated with the club’s colours; no less than 1813 members besides a large number of guests attended a reception where lawn tennis was played under the flood lights. Each member was presented with an enameled Silver badge of the club while all the members and guests present there were gifted with a Souvenir Brochure each, specially brought out on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee. The Golden Jubilee year celebration ended with an annual athletic competition on 20th January, 1941. This year club reached the final of IFA Shield but lost to Aryans Club by 1-4. Club annexed Lakshmibilas Cup, Raja Shield, Park League, Khagendra Memorial Shield and Coochbehar Cup this year.

1941 was a glorious year for Mohun Bagan. This year club won Lady Harding Shield, Chandicharan Memorial Shield, Coochbehar Cup, Lakshmibilas Cup, Kohinoor Cup, Governor’s Shield of Hazaribag, Raja Shield and reached the final of William Younger Cup. This year, D. N. Guin, a Trojan of a worker, who had served the club as Joint Honorary Secretary (1924), and Football Secretary, and Assistant General Secretary (1913-1923), for a number of years and had much to improve the club’s position in various ways, passed away. Club also lost S. N. Banerjee who had put in splendid work as Honorary General Secretary and as a Vice President and a Trustee. This year B. C. Ghosh (1941-1943) was selected as the Secretary of the club.

Mohun Bagan maintained its golden run in the next year also. Club won the Raja Shield, Lady Harding Shield and Power Memorial League; became runners up in Trades Cup, Coochbehar Cup and Chandicharan Memorial Shield. On the initiative of B. K. Ghosh Solicitor and Dr. S. K. Gupta, Barrister-at-Law a Board of Trustee was formed to look after the financial interest of the club and the first board consisted of J. N. Basu, Solicitor S. N. Banerjee, Barrister-at-Law, P. N. Mitra, C.I.E., Hriday Kr. Ghosh, Solicitor and Kumar Ramendra N. Roy.

In 1943, Mohun Bagan created a history in Indian football scenario by implementing an Insurance Scheme for the medical aid of the injured players. Within one year, a Medical Board was also formed with some reputed doctors. This year Mohun Bagan won the Calcutta Football League for the second time, gaining 39 points in 24 matches. Club also grabbed the Trades Cup this year. This year on 10th July club played a friendly match with Chinese XI for China Aid Committee.

1943 Calcutta Football League Winning Team

1943 Calcutta Football League Winning Team

MohunBagan ChineseXI 1943

Combined Group of Mohun Bagan and Chinese XI

Next year, Mohun Bagan again won First Division Calcutta Football League, gaining 40 points in 24 matches. In this year, Mohun Bagan also won Trades Cup, Coochbehar Cup, Lady Hardinge Shield, S. N. Banerjee Memorial Cup, D. N. Guin Memorial Cup and Nadia Challenge Shield. During this time, club formed a juvenile team under the direction and training of famous footballer Balaidas Chatterjee to nurture the young talents for maintenance of supply line to the senior team. This year S. K. Gupta (1944-1949) was selected as the secretary of the club. This year on 2nd June, Kanai Sen, one of the well-wishers of the club passed away.

1944 Calcutta Football League Winning Team

1944 Calcutta Football League Winning Team of Mohun Bagan

In 1945, Mohun Bagan played a Charity Match for the Flood Relief Fund for the people of Midnapore. Mohun Bagan annexed Victory Cup, Trades Cup and Griffith Shield, but unfortunate to grab the Calcutta Football League to create a hattrick just only for one point difference. The club also reached the final of the IFA Shield but lost to East Bengal by a solitary goal. In the same year Mohun Bagan reached the final of IFA Shield but lost to arch rival East Bengal by a solitary goal. This year club was unfortunate to lose Manilal Sen, the first captain of Mohun Bagan football team. Sir N. N. Sarkar, the then famous lawyer and club member passed away in the same year. This year Curtis, famous player of England and Arsenal came to Kolkata and club officials requested him to provide some tips to the players. He took this invitation with great enthusiasm.

In 1946, Club lost Jatindranath Basu who had served the club as the Founder-Secretary (1889-1894), then a Vice President (1895-1936) and finally as the President (1936-1946) and who had by virtue of his splendid work and advice became part and parcel of the club. Mr. Manindranath Basu took the President post of the club (1946-1957) in this year. In this year club was strongly leading in the race for championship in Calcutta Football League when the competition had to be abandoned owing to an unfortunate outbreak of riots in the city.

 
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