East Bengal Ground
East Bengal Ground
|Former names||National AC Ground|
|Public transit|| Esplanade Bus Terminus|
|Owner||East Bengal F.C.|
|Field size||100 metres by 60 metres|
(109.4 yd x 65.6 yd)
The stadium lies in the Kolkata Maidan area on the northern side of Fort William and its near the Eden Gardens. The Esplanade metro station on the North-South Corridor of the Kolkata Metro is also nearby.
When East Bengal Club was formed in 1920, they used to play at the Kumortuli Park Ground in the initial days. In 1921, East Bengal Club started playing in the Calcutta Football League Second Division. Most of the matches were held at the Calcutta FC Ground.
After the 1921 season, East Bengal Club owners were in the lookout for a club ground of their own where the team can play their matches. According to the existing rule of the maidan, two clubs used to share one common ground. Club's founders and then vice-presidents, Shri Sureshchandra Choudhury and Raybahadur Taritbhushan Ray came to learn that Mohun Bagan shared its ground with National Association, which by that time had ceased to exist. They referred this discrepancy to the police authorities and subsequently demanded the share for East Bengal. It was then that Police Commissioner Charles Tegart ordered Mohun Bagan to share its ground with East Bengal. This sudden decision enraged the Mohun Bagan officials however despite their protests, East Bengal Club got the ground for their own in 1922, which they co-shared with their arch-rivals Mohun Bagan until 1963, when finally Mohun Bagan moved out to their own Mohun Bagan Ground. In those days, the goal posts were placed East-West and East Bengal took possession of the half towards the Red Road.
Another famous club from Kolkata, Aryan F.C. started sharing the club ground since then.
The East Bengal Ground has galleries on three sides. The west side is the member's gallery with modern facilities like bucket seats and elevators installed. The half of west side is also shared with Aryan F.C. who have their member's gallery as well, covered in bucket seats which acts as an away gallery for the matches which East Bengal F.C. plays. The east side and north side galleries are still made of a temporary wooden and steel structure and are designated for non-member supporters. The playing pitch is about 100 metres x 60 metres in dimension. Just adjacent the stadium, below the member's gallery is the club tent and the main office located. In 2014, the club tent opened its own cafe lounge for the fans, just beside the members' gallery.
In 2016, renovations were done at the ground with entire playing field being relaid and galleries being renovated with member's gallery being filled in with Red and Gold bucket seats. Elevators were installed and the commentary box was modernised. The playing turf was relaid and drainage was improved for the ground. East Bengal FC officials informed the AIFF that they wanted to host I-League matches at the club ground after the heavy renovations.
In 2018, floodlights were installed at the East Bengal Ground. The flood lights would be the biggest among the three Maidan clubs of Kolkata. The first match under floodlights was played in the 2018–19 Calcutta Premier Division when East Bengal faced Tollygunge Agragami in the season opener, which was however abandoned due to heavy rains as the match was tied 1–1 at half time.
It also hosted a number of matches for the 2019 Durand Cup.
Non Sporting events
- In 2015, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol hosted the promotional event for their film at the East Bengal Ground. Both were given life-time membership by the East Bengal Club.
- On 7 July 2016, Mexican-American professional wrestler, Alberto Del Rio visited the East Bengal Ground for a promotional event for WWE. He was handed over a Red and Gold East Bengal jersey with his name printed on it.
- On 11 December 2016, East Bengal Ground hosted the official Manchester United F.C. event "ILOVEUnited". Former United legend and club ambassador Dwight Yorke along with former players Quinton Fortune and Bojan Djordjic came in for various events that followed throughout the day. The screening was also organised for the English Premier League game between Manchester United F.C. and Tottenham Hotspurs in the event for fans in Kolkata.
- On 28 October 2018, East Bengal Ground hosted the La Liga official screening of the El Clasico for the fans in Kolkata. Former Liverpool FC and Real Madrid CF player Steve McManaman came in as the La Liga ambassador for the event.
- "Home Ground". East Bengal FC. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
- "History". East Bengal FC. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
- "Slice of Heaven opens East Bengal Cafe Lounge in Kolkata". Retail 4 Growth. 2 September 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
- "East Bengal inform AIFF: 'Interested to play I-League matches at home ground'". Goal.com. 9 September 2017. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
- "CM inaugurates floodlights at East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting Club grounds". Millennium Post. 26 March 2018. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
- "Match called off after downpour". The Telegraph. 4 August 2018. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
- "Dilwale East Bengal let SRK host event at their ground for free". The Fan Garage. 10 December 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
- "WWE champion Del Rio shares stage with East Bengal players". Xtra Time. 7 July 2016. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
- "Manchester United in Kolkata: #ILOVEUNITED party". Sportskeeda. 10 December 2016. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
- "Manchester United Trio Enthralls Fans at East Bengal Ground". Xtra Time. 11 December 2016. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
- "LaLiga comes to India's football headland Kolkata". La Liga. 3 October 2018. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
- Goswami, Ramesh Chandra (1963). East Bengal Cluber Itihas (in Bengali). Kolkata: Book Garden.
- Bandyopadhyay, Santipriya (1979). Cluber Naam East Bengal (in Bengali). Kolkata: New Bengal Press.