ROBIN SINGH IS EXCITED at the prospect of the Kolkata Derby being played in the Indian Super League.
With Mohun Bagan now in the ISL fold and East Bengal pursuing investors to follow suit, Indian football landscape is abuzz with the possibility of the two arch rivals battling it out under the ISL banner.
Discussion about the Derby and the story behind this heated rivalry also came up at Mathcday with Yorkie, a live chat show featuring Manchester United legend Dwight Yorke, organized by Apollo Tyres. Ahead of the Reds' FA Cup semi-final clash with Chelsea, the show which is co-hosted by noted football presenter Khuri Irani, saw the Indian international forward Robin Singh drop in for a word. Immediately, talk turned to the Kolkata Derby.
Robin spoke with nostalgia about his time spent with the Red and Golds and the experience he had participating in the historic match-up,
"Before the Kolkata Derby, you felt the anticipation everywhere. Even when you're out getting coffee, everyone talks and asks about the Derby. At East Bengal, we were playing in front of a hundred thousand fans. That's the kind of support the fans give you. When you're out there and thousands of fans are chanting your name, it's a different feeling altogether. I'm getting goosebumps just talking about it."
Khuri Irani, who explained the historic rivalry between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan to Dwight Yorke, highlighted how the passion of the fans of both clubs goes beyond football and into the social fabric of the state,
"It's the oldest Derby in the country, it's more than a century old. You're born into either of the two clubs. They don't even marry into each other's families!"
Dwight Yorke expressed surprise when he heard about the Derby rivalry's effect on marriages.
It's not yet clear whether East Bengal will be able to join Mohun Bagan in the ISL this season or not, but it's widely believed that even if they miss out this season they will definitely be a part of ISL from next season onwards.
At the same time, East Bengal are leaving no stone unturned to get it done this season itself; with talks ongoing with multiple potential investors, and even with the state government for organizing co-sponsorship via some of the West Bengal-oriented businesses.