MOHUN BAGAN ASSISTANT SECRETARY Srinjoy Bose dropped some major hints about the potential investors the club is looking into, and one of the chief candidates is none other than ATK owner Sanjeev Goenka.
This revelation has given fresh wind to a years-old rumour about ATK and Mohun Bagan merging to form one team that will play in the Indian Super League after the Indian league system is restructured.
Speaking to Xtra Time, Srinjoy Bose said,
"ATK is definitely a good team. At a time when few invest heavily in football, Sanjeev Goenka has come forward and he's investing a lot of money in sports as well as football. So it's a good thing for football... who knows, what will happen next year, who will get married to whom, no one knows."
"At one point UB (United Breweries) invested money... Sanjeev Goenka's RPG is a good company that's investing in football, just like the Jindals and Reliance who invest a lot in sports. Corporatisation is coming and it's a good thing."
When asked by the interviewer bluntly whether Goenka's companies - the RPG group or CESC - can become the chief sponsor/investors of Mohun Bagan, Bose said,
"See, many things can happen, you don't have to resist your temptation (sic)... Bengaluru took a stake in Delhi (referring to the Jindal group purchasing shares in IPL franchise Delhi Daredevils), so in today's modern times there have been many mergers, acquisitions, partnerships that ultimately help in the long run. Many things can happen, we will try to do whatever is better for Mohun Bagan... hopefully there will be good news for all Mohun Bagan supporters in the future."
You can watch the entire video right here, courtesy Xtra Time.
Hints of such a development have been dripping through the grapevine for the past couple of weeks, especially after Mohun Bagan's club elections concluded on 28th October.
Former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, a minority stakeholder in ATK, also happens to be a lifelong Mohun Bagan fan and a former player of the Mohun Bagan cricket team. During Mohun Bagan's club elections, Ganguly openly declared his support for the Bose group at a campaign meeting, who went on to win the polls by a landslide. Afterwards, newly elected club secretary Tutu Bose announced that Ganguly would be given an honorary lifetime membership of the Mohun Bagan club. At the same time, rumours started circulating that Ganguly was in the market looking at potential sponsors for Mohun Bagan. Many people put two and two together and wondered if these were signs of an upcoming alliance between Mohun Bagan and ATK.
Even in the past similar rumours have surfaced, with Mohun Bagan lending their stadium to ATK for practice sessions and promotional shoots. Even a week back, Mohun Bagan football secretary Swapan Banerjee was seen at an ATK home game, wearing ATK colours.
Bose's comments today have confirmed that indeed, there is fire beneath these gallons of smoke.
However, this development leaves many questions unanswered. If ATK and Mohun Bagan are to be merged, what will the team be called? What will be their jersey colours? All these questions are going to remain unanswered until this "merger" becomes official, if at all. But chances are, this new unified team will retain the identity of Mohun Bagan, in which case the ATK brand may disappear. Given the fast-falling populairty of the franchise, that would not come as a surprise to many.