Created on 21-05-2010 at 00:00 AM
“Millions of Indians will be rooting for FC Bayern Munich on Saturday – and many of the fans have put that promise in writing,” reported Prof. R. P. Banerjee, Deacon of EIILM College in Kolkata, to Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. The head of the largest business school in the 15 million-strong metropolis then unrolled the first scroll of a unique Good Luck campaign, which more than 200,000 Indian fans have signed.
It is a seemingly endless list inscribed on almost 5,000 scrolls, the signatories led off by the police commissioner of the West Bengal capital, Bollywood star Prasanjit Chatterjee, fashion designer Agnimitra Paul, India’s best football players and Olympic participants, and a school choir which sang to a crowd of 125,000 at the Salt Lake stadium two years ago as part of Oliver Kahn's testimonial match.
“It's incredible what our amazingly enthusiastic international Bayern fans can achieve,” commented Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, praising the one hundred students who had driven a truck decorated with photos of Mark Bommel and Co through the city for four days, collecting signatures from Bayern supporters as they went. “There has never been a supporters’ campaign like this, particularly for a foreign club, in the history of Indian sport,” explained joint organiser Kaushik Moulik from Kolkata Today website.
India is not the only source of pre-match goodwill, as good luck messages have been arriving at the Säbener Strasse in huge volumes from all the Asian cities and countries visited by Bayern in recent years. “On behalf of the Allianz team in Indonesia and the FCB Indonesia fan club, we wish you the best of luck in Madrid,” wrote Jens Reisch, Allianz boss in Jakarta. In an atmosphere likely to resemble the actual Allianz Arena, he and his friends from the FCB Fan Club will be cheering their team’s efforts at the Bernabeu stadium at a public viewing event at quarter to three on Sunday morning, followed at half past four or five by the largest Bayern-themed dawn party ever to take place on the island.