Northeast United FC have been the only team that has failed to reach the playoffs in the last four editions of the Indian Super League. Strange, given the fact that football is an obsession in these eight states and arguably Indian football’s talent factory.
The Highlanders were woeful last season and the fans rightfully punished them. Crowd turnout was always a thing to brag about but poor performances led to dwindling numbers, with the lowest point being when just 1102 attended a game. Fans are the heart and soul of any club’s success and clubs make an all-out effort to engage with their fans, yet that not been the case with NEUFC.
The Highlander Brigade, the club’s official fan club is reportedly annoyed with the NEUFC management, issued a letter offering to manage the clubs social media accounts.” We have heard the club is under economic restrictions on their spending and therefore can’t even afford a social media manager. If so, then we have capable members in our fold who can manage the social media handles for free. The importance of social media in today’s time should not be neglected. Therefore our offers stands.”
Nothing has changed since the end of last season. While other clubs were well into their stride for the upcoming season, NEUFC was the last side to announce their foreign contingent signing and even cancelled their pre-season tour to Sweden. It is evident that the club will be struggling again.
Few years back in an interview, Club owner John Abraham when questioned about NEUFC being the only club without corporate backing, he had said, “Tomorrow if I get a partner who wants to come on board and shares my vision, would I look at him? Of course, I would. If I can do this alone, I would love to that too. I’m keeping all my options open,” He further added, “I may be spending an X amount on the team at this point of time. I know when the popularity of the Indian Super League increases, there is going to be a certain value asset creation. I will then decide whether to hive off some stake to take care of the working capital losses I’ve incurred over the first 2-3 years. But that is a decision I will take at that point of time.”
With the Indian Super League entering its fifth season, maybe it’s time for the owners to sell its stake and bring in fresh corporate investment into the club. Lot was promised to the people of this region but not much has been delivered. Time to act and act fast, patience is running thin!