Up Close And Personal: Know The Inside World of Pune City Orange Army
Whenever we start thinking about the city of Pune, the first thing that comes in our mind is that it’s a Tech-City, a city for the youth which has a touch of history. Rarely we relate this place near the Metro of Mumbai with the game of football.
But for the last few years the former capital of the Maratha Kingdom has shown it’s fare share of craze as far as the game of kick and run is concerned. The inception of Indian Super League and participation of the Pune Franchise by the name of FC Pune City has promoted the fandom to the next level. The galleries of the stadium turn Orange on the Matchdays of FC Pune City. No it’s nothing political, it’s the Pune City faithfuls who proudly call themselves the ‘Orange Army’.
LNTUP caught up with Kiran Hedalkar, a core member of the Orange Army and got to know a thing or two about this prominent emerging fanclub from Western India.
□LNTUP: Tell us about how it all started? The starting days of your Fanclub
●Orange Army(Kiran Hedalkar): Our fan club started in 2014, it was a group of people who used to support FC Pune City and through Facebook we came to know about each other. Then we formed our WhatsApp group for FC Pune City supporters. And we got official recognition from Pune City when the CEO of FCPC had met with us.
LNTUP: What are the projects of your fan club or in other words where do you want to see your institution in 5 years time?
●Orange Army: We want to be the biggest, strongest and loudest fan club. That’s the motto.
LNTUP: Where is your fan club different from the others of its kind?
●Orange Army: We have special connection with FC Pune City management. There is a strong bond between Orange army and FC Pune City management. We are the first supporters who started away fan culture in the Indian Super League.
LNTUP: Besides the on-the-field activities, tell about your off-the-field activities.
●Orange Army: We keep footy sessions for Orange Army members for to make our bond strong with each other. And we not only support FCPC but we support our national team also. We go to the national team matches too. We conduct Orange Army Cup for the supporters.
LNTUP: Tell us something about the Orange Army Cup.
●Orange Army: Okay! To gather more fans to support our home team we have gathered all European supporters clubs like Manchester United Pune fan club, Manchester City Supporters Pune, Real Madrid Pune fan club, Arsenal Supporters Pune club, Chelsea Football Club Supporters Pune, Liverpool Supporters Pune, Barcelona Supporters Pune, Bayern Munich Pune supporters etc. To make their bond more stronger with the club and to make them part of Orange Army. That will make them feel to be part of our club. And FC Pune City is supporting us in conducting this tournament.
LNTUP: Do your club allow memberships from overseas? If yes then how?
●Orange Army: We have online form fillup system and payment also. So people from abroad can obviously apply for the membership. But the courier charges is the concern. If the requesting members are ready to take that up then we can plan for it.
LNTUP: Are there any new things that you guys are going to do this time to support your team that you did not do last times?
●Orange Army: Last year we travelled only to Goa and Mumbai for FCPC away matches. This time we are planning to arrange trips to more locations like Kochi and Banglore. We are planning to make huge banners this time.
LNTUP: How do you see the future of Fanclub culture in Indian football?
●Orange Army: It’s positive and really good for football in India. Fan clubs will help to grow and spread awareness regarding football, it will make football popularized. There are many good fan clubs in India like Orange Army, West Block Blues, East Bengal Ultras, Yellow Brigade, Mumbai Supporters Club and many more and I hope there will be more fan clunbs in coming years.
LNTUP: Thanks for your time! It was a nice conversation.
●Orange Army: Thank you!