Slowly and steadily, Jamshedpur FC’s Red Miners are making a mark
At the home of Indian Super League (ISL) club Jamshedpur FC, a stadium popularly known as ‘the Furnace’, over 10,000 people turned up to watch a pre-season friendly between the Men of Steel & Real Kashmir FC in September 2019.
Those are remarkable attendance figures, considering how other ISL clubs, who are known for their home attendance numbers, have suffered a huge drop in the number of stadium-goers.
During the season, only ATK registered a higher average attendance for home games than Jamshedpur, whose official supporters’ club Red Miners made sure they turned up in large numbers for every game.
“When the club came into existence, four or five of us started a small group. We then made a Facebook page named Jamshedpur FC United. We started making plans via Whatsapp group, added many people who were interested and the count soon reached 100 before our first match,” Imran, a member of the fan group, told Goal.
He added, “We regularly conducted fan meetings and slowly, we grew in numbers. We changed our name to Red Miners, designed our logo etc and we’re still growing. After three years, we are currently around 4000 fans strong.”
The fanbase of Jamshedpur FC, a club who has failed to progress to the knockout rounds in all of their three attempts so far, has recorded impressive growth. People in the city seems to have welcomed the Men of Steel with both arms, despite their struggle on the field.
“Jamshedpur is a football-loving city. Irrespective of the season, the people here play football. Also, it is like a festival of people here because I don’t remember such sporting events happening here since 2006,” said the Red Miners’ member.
The Tata Group, who owns the club, has adopted the city and are hugely involved in the development of sports in the region. The famed Tata Football Academy (TFA) is a golden feather in their cap.
Jamshedpur have not been that bad in the league, but they have not been great either. The fanbase is hopeful of further growth in the future. “We lack good quality Indian players. Without them, we cannot survive depending on the foreign players. After Piti and Castel got injured last season, we struggled to win,” Imran echoed the feelings of the supporters’ group.
The Red Miners have sub-groups in Bhubaneswar, Kolkata and Bengaluru and they’re confident of expanding their territory further in the coming years.
The 2019-20 season saw Jamshedpur register good attendance figures consistently. They pulled off better figures than Kerala Blasters, who is known to have one of the largest fanbases in India. A goalless draw against Bengaluru recorded their highest turnout – 23,157. This could be the beginning of an exciting story if the club plays its cards right.