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MEMORABLE PERFORMANCES AND HISTORICAL MATCH AGAINST PELE : 1965–1977

In 1965, club became the champion in First Division Calcutta League and Durand Cup. Mohun Bagan created history by winning Durand Cup consecutively for three times. Club also reached the final of Rovers Cup but lost to Mafatlal Group SC by 0-1. Same thing happened in IFA Shield final, where club lost to East Bengal by a solitary goal.

In 1966, Mohun Bagan won the Rovers Cup defeating Vasco SC by 1-0. This year, on 24th May Dinabandhu Sen (Dati), the then Vice President (1956–1966) of the club, passed away during the match between Mohun Bagan and Eastern Railway. This year club decided for concretization of the members’ gallery, but the expenses would be huge. The total subscription amount from the members was not sufficient and permission from the Army was also pending. Mohun Bagan officials did not think negatively and tried to manage the expense by decreasing the expenses of team making.

1967 was not a good year for the club. Club only won the IFA Shield jointly with East Bengal. Club took the second position in Rovers Cup after defeated by East Bengal by 0-2 on the second day after a goalless draw on the first day. This year Jitendranath Sen (Vau babu) was elected as the vice President of the club (1967–1984).

In 1968, Mohun Bagan won the Rovers Cup defeating Leaders Club by 3-0 on the second day after the first day 0-0 draw. This year club also won the Amrita Bazar Centenary Cup.

1968 Rovers Cup Winning Team

1968 Rovers Cup Winning Team

1969, club won First Division Calcutta Football League and also IFA Shield defeating East Bengal by 3-1. Club also reached the final of Rovers Cup but lost to East Bengal by 0-3. Subhas Chandra Mitra (1969–1976) was elected as the Honorary General Secretary of the club.

In 1970, club won the Rovers Cup defeating Mahindra and Mahindra by a solitary goal but took the runners position after defeated by East Bengal in the final showdown.

In 1971, Mohun Bagan again won the Rovers cup defeating Vasco Sporting Club by 1-0. This year the pride of Mohun Bagan Club— “Player of the Millennium” Sailen Manna received the Padmashree Award.

In 1972, Club won Rover’s Cup jointly with East Bengal. This was club’s consecutively third Rovers Cup win. Club also reached the final of Durand Cup but again missed the chance to become the champion after 1965.

1973 was the worst year regarding the performance of the club, as the club could not manage to get any trophy during this season.

In 1974, Club lifted Durand Cup defeating JCT Mills by 3-2 and Bordoloi Trophy defeating Vasco Sports Club by 5-0 on the second day after the first day 2-2 draw. 1974 is a remarkable year in the history of Mohun Bagan Club, as first time ever in the history of Kolkata football any football club arranged for the floodlight in their ground. Total credit for that goes to Dhiren Dey as he convinced Indian Chamber of Commerce to come forward for this purpose. But, the effort was in vain, as Calcutta Police denied the idea because horse-ridden police would not be able to perform their duty properly as horses cannot see at night.

In 1975, Mohun Bagan won Bordoloi Trophy and Darjeeling Gorkha Brigade Gold Cup. This year club lost to East Bengal by 0-5 goals in the IFA Shield final. This year, the construction of concrete gallery was finally completed.

In 1976, Club again lifted a number of trophies, First Division Calcutta Football League, Rover’s Cup (jointly), IFA Shield (jointly), Bordoloi Trophy and Darjeeling Gorkha Brigade Gold Cup. This year the legendary player of Mohun Bagan, “Chinese Wall”, Gostho Paul, passed away on 8th April.

In 1977, Club grabbed IFA Shield, Durand Cup, Rover’s Cup and Bordoloi Trophy. Club created the history first ever by any Indian football club by winning the triple crowns (IFA Shield, Durand Cup, Rover’s Cup) in the same year. This year club also reached the final of Federation Cup but lost to Indian Telephone Industries by a solitary goal. Subrata Bhattacharya was the captain of the team that time. The team was—
Shibaji Banerjee, Biswajit Das, Pradip Chowdhury, Sudhir Karmakar, Subrata Bhattacharya, Compton Dutta, Dilip Palit, Dilip Sarkar, Prasun Banerjee, Gautam Sarkar, Habib, Subhankar Sanyal, Subhas Bhowmik, Bidesh Bose, Shyam Thapa, Akbar.

1977 Triple Crown Winning Team of Mohun Bagan

1977 Triple Crown Winning Team of Mohun Bagan

This year Mohun Bagan players got the great opportunity to play against the Football King Edson Arantos Jo Nasimanto — Pele. All credits for arranging this match go to Mr. Dhiren Dey, as it was his long cherished dream to present Pele before the Indian spectators and finally he invited the famous club of United States to play an exhibition match with the club. Kolkata football lovers got the chance to see some of the famous international footballers like Mike Dillon, Kith Edi, Toni Field and Terigarbet of England, Ramon Mifin of Peru, Giorgio Chinaglia of Italy, Carlos Alberto and Nelsi Morez of Brazil, Erol Yasin of Turkey, Ditomir Dimitri and Toni Donlich of Yugoslavia including Pele. The historical match was played on 24th September of this year in Eden Gardens. About 80,000 spectators gathered on that in Eden gardens. The then chief minister of West Bengal Mr. Jyoti Basu was also present during the match. It rained heavily before the match and it was widely feared that the match might be abandoned due to the rain. Even there was the rumor that Pele might not play on this soggy field. However a great human being that he was Pele declared that nothing apart from an absolute meterological calamity could prevent him from taking the field. People of Kolkata were very enthusiastic regarding the visit of Pele and thus he decided not to let rain dampen this spirit. The crowd gave thunderous ovation as the Cosmos and Mohun Bagan players took the field. The air of Eden Gardens was completely filled up with the roar “Pele, Pele, Pele”. Fortunately the rain had held up but the ground was still slashy. Both the teams started on a cautious mode with occasional attack to the opponent’s box.

Mohun Bagan and Cosmos team just before the starting of the match

Mohun Bagan and Cosmos team just before the starting of the match

Cosmos drew the first blood in the 17th minute. A brilliant through ball from Pele split the Mohun Bagan defence and an overlapping, Alberto netted the ball finely. Mohun Bagan equalized the score in the very next minute. Habib initiated a brilliant move dribbling past a couple of Cosmos players and passed the ball to Akbar. Akbar passed the ball to Shyam Thapa whose brilliant punch found the net. Mohun Bagan coach P. K. Banerjee deployed Gautam Sarkar as Pele’s marker and he kept the responsibility very well. On one occasion, Pele evaded Gautam Sarkar with an impeccable chest trap and dribbled his way into the Mohun Bagan box, but Shivaji Banerjee desperately jumped and snatched the ball from Pele’s feet. In the 23rd minute Akbar took a powerful 30 yards long rangers and Cosmos goalkeeper Yesin partly saved the ball. The ball landed before Habib and he did not make any mistake to net the ball. Mohun Bagan thus got the lead in the match. In the dying moment of the first half, Cosmos mounted pressure on the Mohun Bagan box and nearly scored on two occasions. First, Pele took an enthralling 30 yard free kick that curled viciously past the Mohun Bagan wall and kissed the cross piece. On the other occasion, Sivaji Banerjee pulled off a stupendous save to deny Chinaglia who took a superb shot at goal from close range. The first half ended in favour of Mohun Bagan as Mohun Bagan led the game by 2-1. In the second half, Mohun Bagan made five substitutions and started to play in a defensive mode. The game did not reach the same lofty heights that the first half witnessed. Pele took another brilliant free kick in the second half and got Chinaglia, but he failed to score. In the 70th minute, Mohun Bagan conceded a penalty when a Sudhir Karmakar sliding tackle found the referee pointing to the dreaded spot. Chinaglia made it 2-2 and the match ended in a 2-2 draw. Mohun Bagan players mostly Shibaji Banerjee, Gautam Sarkar, Shyam Thapa, Habib and Subrata Bhattacharya played extremely well against the formidable opponent and earned the kudos of one and all. Ananda Bazar Patrika described Gautam Sarkar as “India’s very own Backenbaur”. Pele about his memories of the match reminisced, “I still remember Calcutta and also some memorable occasions, particularly goalkeeper Shivaji Banerjee who dived to save a goal on my feet which I could have scored.”

Shibaji Getting a pat on the back from the football king Pele

Shibaji Getting a pat on the back from the football king Pele

The team that played for Mohun Bagan on that day—

Shibaji Banerjee (Biswajit Das, 45'), Sudhir Karmakar, Subrata Bhattacharya, Pradip Chowdhury, Dilip Palit (Compton Dutta, 45'), Prasun Banerjee, Goutam Sarkar (Dilip Sarkar, 45'), Habib, Bidesh Bose, Shyam Thapa (Manas Bhattacharya, 45'), Akbar (Dilip Sarkar, 45').

This year Dhiren Dey (1977–1990) was elected as the Honorary General Secretary of the club.

 
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