On December 5, 2019 I was in Mumbai and after spending the day at the India Football Forum in the evening I went to the Mumbai City FC vs Kerala Blasters match at the Mumbai Football Arena.
As many will know, I had worked for Mumbai City FC in the first season of the Indian Super League, but since their shift to the Mumbai Football Arena in 2016, I have not had a chance to watch a home match of the Islanders and support #ApunKaTeam.
It actually was nearly five years ago to the day – December 7, 2014 during my time at the club that I had watched my last Mumbai City FC home game live, then against Atlético de Kolkata, a 2-1 win in the final home game of ISL-1.
So I was curious to be back at one of the clubs home matches knowing that numerous staff from five years ago were still with the franchise besides finally experiencing an ISL game at the Mumbai Football Arena.
So post the India Football Forum, I headed to the Andheri Sports Complex and was excited to meet many known faces plus also hoping to be able to help the club break it’s home jinx as the club hadn’t won at home since late-January 2019.
I do get sometimes superstitious when it comes to football…
I big thank you to my former colleagues as I was given a top ticket inclusive of hospitality.
Now the speciality of the Mumbai Football Arena is that it has a weird shape of an extended U covering three sides of the field while one end is actually open and that section has a temporary stand which accommodates the VVIPs and VIPs during ISL matches.
So one arrives in Andheri around the ground with people either in Mumbai City FC blue or Kerala Blasters yellow in the middle of a bustling locality.
One goes in via Gate 3 after my car actually found a parking space close-by. One goes through the procedures of security to enter the venue, ticket checked, given a hospitality armband and ready to meet people to talk Indian football and a small snack.
Thereafter it was the football, which on this day wasn’t the best as it ended all square at one-all between Mumbai City FC and Kerala Blasters.
But I had a memorable experience on a Thursday night in Mumbai bring back a lot of old memories…
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Thanks to my @mumbaicityfc #family of having me for last nights game against @keralablasters at the #MumbaiFootballArena. Great to have finally been there despite the match only ending in a 1-1 draw. #IndianFootball #HeroISL #arunfoot #IndianSuperLeague #MumbaiCityFC #MCFC #TheIslanders #KeralaBlasters #Blasters #KBFC #football #soccer #mumbai #India