Sohom Sehanobish’s blog: It was a rainy morning during July 2008 when I went to attend the practice sessions of East Bengal at the Barasat Stadium. I was already on cloud nine when I went to the dressing room post practice and witnessed the same group of players, whom I’ve cheered and jeered during every match day. I started taking autographs of some, and that was the time when my father urged me to take autograph of a man, with whom I was less familiar with. Little did I know that the man has been the cornerstone of the club post the 80’s era and he has been a silent guardian for everyone, not only for East Bengal club, but for kolkata football as well. The man was none other than Mr.Swapan Bal, the manager of East Bengal club.
Ever since he became a member of his beloved club in 1970, Bal dedicated his entire life for the welfare of the club. After acting as an investor for the club for the first few years, he gained faith and became a go-to-man of the Legendary Paltu Das, then secretary at East Bengal, who inducted Bal as a manager of the team in 1985 and also in the technical committee in 1987, a post he held until 2004. He was ever present with the club in any of the tournament the club featured, and has been a part of numerous glorious victories of the Red and Gold Brigade. His own way of motivating players, his mindset of being a supporter first, his act as a guardian to many will forever stay in the footballing folklore. The term ‘manager’ was revolutionized by him, as he showed the correct way that how a manager should contribute in the topsy turvy journey of a team.
Although he passed away yesterday after fighting out a long and ferocious battle with cancer, Bal will be remembered for a long long time for his love for the game of football and of course, his contribution to East Bengal. The club lost a guardian yesterday. Rest in peace, sir.