Mahindra United FC

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Mahindra United FC
MahindraUnited.png
Full nameMahindra United Football Club
Nickname(s)Jeepmen
Short nameMUFC
Founded1962; 60 years ago (1962) (as Mahindra & Mahindra)
Dissolved2010; 12 years ago (2010)
GroundCooperage Ground, Mumbai
Capacity12,000
LeagueI-League
MDFA Senior Division

Mahindra United Football Club (formerly known as Mahindra & Mahindra)[1][2][3][4] was an Indian professional football club based in Mumbai, Maharashtra.[5][6] Founded in 1962, the club competed in the I-League,[7] then top tier of Indian football league system, before closing down at the end of 2009–10 season.[8][9] Affiliated with the MFA, the club participated in both the National Football League,[10] and MDFA Elite League.[11]

Nicknamed "Jeepmen",[12] the club was popularly referred as India's MU after the English Premier League powerhouse Manchester United.[13][14] It was one of the most popular football clubs in the country and was known for its consistent good performance in the last four decades of its existence.[15] The club had won many major tournaments in India,[16][17] and also clinched an international tournament, 2003 POMIS Cup in the Maldives.[18]

History[edit]

Formation and journey[edit]

Mahindra United players (in red) in action during an I-League match against Salgaocar in 2007

The club was founded in 1962 as the Mahindra & Mahindra Allied Sports Club under the patronage of Mahindra Group.[14] They secured admission into Bombay's Harwood League in 1964 and won the first title in 1970. Players like renowned goalkeeper E.N. Sudhir appeared with the club at that time.[19] The club later lifted its first knock-out tournament, Bandodkar Gold Trophy in 1980.[20] They later clinched Durand Cup title in 1998,[21] and 2001–02.[22]

In leagues of Mumbai[edit]

Since their inception, Mahindra became a member of Western India Football Association (WIFA) and later in 1983, became affiliated with Mumbai District Football Association (formerly BDFA). They participated in later editions of Bombay Harwood League alongside Maharashtra Football League, and won the Harwood League four times in 1970, 1982, 1984 and 1985.[23][24]

Mahindra later participated in W.I.F.A. Super Division from 1990 to 1999 and clinched WIFA title in 1995.

They later participated in MDFA Elite Division and lifted trophies consecutively from 2000 to 2004 and 2006 to 2009.[24][25]

NFL and other domestic competitions[edit]

From 2002 to 2003, Czech coach Karel Stromšík managed club in the National Football League.[26] In the summer of 2006, it was renamed to Mahindra United. The shirt colour was also changed from orange to red.

Team played its NFL home matches at the Cooperage Ground in Mumbai,[27][28][29] but due to the bad state of the stadium, as of February 7, 2006, they had to play almost all of their NFL games at away venues.

Mahindra were crowned champions of NFL Premier Division for the first time in club's history in the 2005–06 season, with two games to spare.[30] They followed it up by beating their arch-rivals, Air India for the first time in the season. They are also two-time winners of the Indian Federation Cup, having won the title in 2003 and 2005.[31][32][33] The win in 2005 ensured that Mahindra became the first club in the history of Indian football to win the Federation Cup and National Football League double in the same season.[34][35] They did however lose the NFL Super Cup to East Bengal by a margin of 1–2.

Later years[edit]

In the 2006 edition of IFA Shield, Mahindra United emerged as champions, defeating Mohun Bagan AC by 1–0 in Kolkata.[36][37] They also participated in the 2006 Federation Cup and achieved third place, defeating Dempo SC 4–2 in the penalty-shootout.[38] In the 2008 edition of IFA Shield, they defeated South African side Santos FC by 3–1 to win the title.

Mahindra United players blocking a freekick in an I-League match against ONGC.

Head coach of the team was Derrick Pereira. Players like Subhashish Roy Chowdhury, Manjit Singh and Surojit Bose have been associated with the team. The club also tried forming under-15 and under-19 teams in order to nurture the young talent in the country.[34]

Stadium[edit]

Cooperage Football Ground before renovation

Mahindra United used the Cooperage Football Ground,[39] located in Nariman Point, Mumbai,[40] for its home matches of both the National Football League and I-League, alongside MDFA Elite League. It had a capacity of nearly 12,000 spectators.[41][42]

Disbanding the club[edit]

In 2010, it was announced that club will be disbanded after the end of the 2009–10 I-League.[43][44][45] The decision was a major blow for football in Mumbai,[46] and financial reason was one of the main factors behind it.[47][48][49] Alan Durante, the chairman of Mahindra United, who's been with the team since 1991 and under whom Mahindra have won almost everything in Indian football, said it wasn't about costs.

We have decided to get out of competitive football and get into it at the school level. From the end of the I-League (2009–10 season), we will not take part in any competitive football. The players have promised to give their best in our remaining three I-League matches. We will then try to defend our title in the MDFA Elite Division, before closing down. Nobody in Indian football makes money and had that been the reason, we would have shut shop five years ago.

Alan Durante, chairman of Mahindra United FC, after taking the decision of disbanding the club[50]

Ruzbeh Irani, executive vice-president of the club, said: “It was in line with our group’s philosophy and shift, from taking part in professional sport to developing it. We feel we can make much difference to sport in India at the school level in football, instead of running a professional team”.[51]

Achievements[edit]

Overall[edit]

Mahindra United had won almost all the major competitions in India.[52] It was the only team from Mumbai to win Durand Cup, the second oldest football competition in the world, twice.[53] It was also the first team from Maharashtra to win the Harwood League and Nadkarni Cup three times in a row. The club has also been two times winner of IFA Shield and Federation Cup. There are several other championships like Mammen Mappillai Cup, Rovers Cup, Chief Minister's Cup and Super Cup where Mahindra United has registered victories.[34]

On international level, Mahindra United achieved success through lifting the 2003 POMIS Cup trophy in the Maldives, beating Club Valencia 3–1.[54][55] They also became the first Indian club to reach the quarter-finals of the 2007 AFC Cup, but their journey ended with an aggregate 4–5 defeat to Lebanese side Al-Najmeh SC.[56][57][58][59]

Ranking[edit]

Mahindra United emerged as top ranked Indian team, and 464 universally, in the international rankings of clubs during the first ten years of the 21st century (2001–2010), issued by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics in 2011.[60]

Honours[edit]

Invitational[edit]

Continental[edit]

Domestic[edit]

The Durand Cup trophy won by Mahindra United for three times in 1998, 2001–02 and 2008.

Others[edit]

  • Chief Ministers Cup
    • Champions (1): 1998

Performance in AFC competitions[edit]

2004: Group stage
2006: Group stage
2007: Quarter-finals

Continental record[edit]

Season Competition Round Country Club Home Away
2004 AFC Cup Group stage Oman Dhofar 2–1 2–4
Syria Al-Wahda 0–0 1–5
2006 AFC Cup Group stage Lebanon Al Ahed 2–1 2–2
Bangladesh Brothers Union 1–0 2–2
Bahrain Al-Muharraq 0–1 1–1
2007 AFC Cup Group stage Singapore Singapore Armed Forces 0–1 2–0
Maldives New Radiant 1–0 2–0
Hong Kong Happy Valley AA 3–1 1–2
Quarter-final Lebanon Al-Najmeh 1–2 3–3

Notable former players[edit]

For all former or notable Mahindra United players with a Wikipedia article, see: Mahindra United FC players.

Foreign players[edit]

Final staff[edit]

Role Name
Head coach England David Booth
Assistant coach India Arshad Hussain
Team manager India Henry Menezes
Physio India Sandeep Kurale
Medical head India N. N. Shingornikar

Youth teams[edit]

Mahindra United under–19[edit]

In an attempt to nurture young talent and promote football in Mumbai, Mahindra United fielded an under-19 team from 2003.[106] The team performed extremely well in the National Football League (Under-19) and reached the semi-finals, beating teams like Churchill Brothers and Salgaocar.

Mahindra United participated in I-league (Under-19), held since 2008.

Under–15 and 17[edit]

Spurred by the success of its U-19 team, Mahindra United fielded both U-15 and U-17 teams from 2006. The U-15 team played Manchester United Premier Cup Asian Qualifiers held at Kolkata, where top NFL clubs also participated.

Youth setup has also participated in the Manchester United Premier Cup in 2010.[107]

Managerial history[edit]

Dronacharya coach Syed Nayeemuddin was manager of Mahindra United from 2004 to 2005.[108]

Other department[edit]

Field hockey[edit]

The club had its field hockey team that participated in both the Beighton Cup and Bombay Gold Cup.[119]

Honours

  • Guru Tegh Bahadur Gold Cup[120]
    • Champions (1): 1980

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The POMIS Cup (President of Maldives Invitational Soccer Cup), an international club football tournament incorporated in 1987, is the only international club tournament held in the Maldives, organized by the Football Association of Maldives (FAM).
  2. ^ Fourth oldest football tournament, organized by the IFA (W.B.), and played between the local clubs of West Bengal and other invited ones.

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