Dynamos Ultras: More than just a fan club, it is a force throughout the region

Introducing ‘Behind the banners’, a feature dedicated to finding out more about ISL fan clubs sporting profiles, as we want to know more about the people behind the banners and slogans, the cheers and jeers, the riots and revels – not only during the tournament phase but they also dedicate part of their life to a club deserves way more recognition.

Delhi is one of those cities in the world which is known for its rich cultural facts, deep rooted history, vibrant lifestyle and madness for football.

For all its passion, glamour and fashion, the capital of India was not on the same pace when it came to football. Cometh the ISL, the revolution began.

In the recent times, Delhi Dynamos has improved leaps and bounds in helping the national team on the football scene. And the Dynamos Ultras is a well recognised fan-club by the club management and have constantly featured in the thick of things.

What started as a four member clan – managed by one Whatsapp group – in the initial stages, is now a family of a plethora of Ultras across different zones in Delhi.

Just like their name the fan club is also dynamic and proud to say that they are more than just a fan club. Ultimately, the importance of the Dynamos Ultras for Delhi Dynamos not only demonstrates that an active supporter community can earn itself a status at its own club that embraces not simply the ‘silent masses’ but also to develop the entire North Indian Football North Indian Football as a whole.

Without supporters taking up these opportunities, without fans taking the initiative to create their own cultural spaces, the Dynamos Ultras would not be what it is today – a mediator between the club and supporters, a place to meet and chat, a source of information, somewhere to vent frustration, and an HQ for fans.

Last year was a season of ups and downs for the club but the Ultras stuck to their team. Also, the city and club have been ridiculed for air pollution, poor attendance and empty stands but that never been able to discourage the Ultras who never waivered no matter the score.

 

There is no such thing as a quiet summer at Delhi Dynamos. Managerial signings, transfer requests, and never-ending rumours have become commonplace on the Capital City May through to September, and things have been different to the norm this time around.

An ambitious dream of a top finish is at the back of most supporters’ minds for the coming campaign. The Lions have a new manager, a couple of new signings, and go into their Indian Super League opener against Pune this Wednesday off the back of a generally solid pre-season.

Nevertheless, if there is one club that have shown they can put aside what’s going on away from the pitch, it is Delhi Dynamos. And in order to improve after a difficult campaign last season, they will have to do just that.

Now they are ready for more. They are proud. They are definitely loud. At the den they are always vociferous. The team can always look towards the stands for inspiration as their unflinching eyes and tireless heart keeps cheering them for more.

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How Dynamos Ultras started?

The Ultras originated by a handful of friends who were divided by the teams they support in Europe but were united by the love they have for Delhi. They decided to put their European loyalties aside and work together for their local team. Now, the Ultras are a big family, a family ready for anything, anytime and always supportive.

The Ultras team has been the main dot connecting the club, players and fans but apart from that they have great bonding within the club. “We chat with them, we share our thoughts and they acknowledge and respect our presence on and off the pitch. They even played Holi with us folks last year, that’s how close the bond is,� says one of the Ultras members.

First memories as a Dynamos fan?

First memory would be the announcement of a team from Delhi, we didn’t know about the league but having a team from Delhi made us really excited. Also, the first ever Dynamos game against FC Pune City in 2014 that witnessed the likes of Del Piero and David Trezeguet was really special.

And how well you guys get well on with local rival clubs?

Pune City and Mumbai City are the two teams we usually clash with apart from the Bengaluru FC fans. It’s not really a very good relationship with Mumbai fans since there has always been a historic rivalry between the two cities.

We hope that transcends into a healthy football rivalry. It would be intense and will help both the sides. We believe in healthy rivalry and banter with all the rival fan clubs, makes the season interesting. The ultimate goal of every Indian fan is to improve football culture in their respective cities and in turn help Indian Football.

 

Process behind the banner creation?

 For banners we usually consult everyone in our groups, we invite ideas and then vote for the best out of them. Top ones are painted on a holiday. We usually inform everyone about it and when the Ultras family comes together it’s a lot of fun besides the work. We try to do this in public places where a lot of people can see us and in turn know about Delhi Dynamos.

On Twitter fights

On twitter, we always go through a lot of weird handles. People, who still believe European football is the big thing and don’t care about Indian football. They are the people who have never experienced true feeling of being there in the stands and roaring for their beloved local club. We love fighting them, insisting them to watch a game with us. You never know, they might start believing soon.

Main objectives of the Ultras

We are not just a football fan club. There’s more to it than what meets the eye. Our main aim was to develop the entire North Indian Football ecosystem as a whole. We would like to have good city and regional rivals (likes of Hindustan FC, Delhi United FC, Minerva Punjab FC, etc) and regular games against them.

Delhi is the melting pot of Indian cultures and it’s good to see people join us, share their thoughts and interests about sports, and support and celebrate the achievements of the local teams.

 

What Ultras do during the off season?

Normally, we wait for news related to the club, or watching the match of reserve or B team with ultras.

Unlike the ISL, there’s no off season for us. We constantly keep in touch with our group members, the players and the club to work on activities for promoting football in the city. A lot of time during the off season we have our reserve sides playing in the I-League Second Division and other DSA tournaments. We attend and back our team in those games.

We also have a side arm, Dynamos Ultras FC, for Ultras who still play football. So, that’s how our Sundays are spent.

Is the banter and rivalry is motivating for ISL to grow or should be controlled not cross over into hatred for the opponents?

Banter and rivalry are a prominent part of any sport, be it Football, Cricket, Basketball or even Kabaddi. However, in football the fanbase takes up the responsibility of giving the opponent and their fans a tough time. This is something which is actually enjoyed by everybody as long as it stays healthy.

All the fans who travel to our den know how harsh we can be, we expect people to have a mature and open mind. There was an instance last year when Delhi Dynamos FC thrashed Bengaluru FC at home and so did Ultras to their fanbase but we shared a good laugh, smoke and some chai at the end of the match. We are rivals not enemies and the ultimate goal is the same – Development of Indian Football & a local fan culture.

On social media

Just like our name “Dynamos Ultras� our social media handle is also dynamic and we have stated from day one that we are more than just a “fan club�. Through Ultras we aim to serve our society on our terms and we’re focussing on making a solid group rather than a brand.

As far as reaching out to the people is concerned, it shouldn’t be just limited to just social media, which is just a medium.

Fan engagement over the years?

People in cities like Delhi and Mumbai suffer a very busy lifestyle and they hardly get time for themselves, let alone following sporting cultures in the city.

It’s in the numbers that most metro cities have had very low turnouts in the last two seasons. But as far as the Ultras group is concerned, we’ve seen an incremental rise in the people joining our group.

 

On signings and this season expectation

We are aiming to finish the season at the top of the table and the podium. Some pundits are busy talking trash about the club and how it had a poor record last year but to be honest the club played some good football last year and the only problem was finishing. During the latter half of the season we were unstoppable. The coach is expecting a positive start from day 1 at the office and we share the same thoughts.

On new coach Josep Gombau

We have had a few interactions with him. He is a nice guy, friendly, part of our ultras family now. We absolutely believe in him. We can finish this season with a miracle, if all things go as per his plan.

Match-day preparations

Home games definitely because of two pertinent reasons. First, we’re mostly students and all our opponents are on the other side of the country the closest one Jamshedpur takes around 20 hours via train and sadly we’re not rich enough afford flight tickets. We do not enjoy the privilege of a 6-12 hour bus ride for an away game.  Second, barring last season our home record has been fantastic.

What’s next for the Ultras?

There are a plethora of initiatives planned for the season. We would love to show it from the stands and the roads of Delhi rather than saying it now.

Most used chant

Delhi Dynamos Delhi Dynamos Ole Ole Ole” would be the most used chant out there. Well, during the games we improvise in response to away fans.

And finally, we asked them to give their all-time Delhi Dynamos FC XI…

Well, this one’s arguable since we have had some terrific players grace our skin and all of us have different favourites, but this is the one that a lot of us agree upon to be our best line-up until the 2017-18 season.

Toni Doblas

Lalruathara

Pritam Kotal

Ruben Gonzalez / Hans Mulder

Anas Edathodika

Marcos Tebar

Florent Malouda

Marcelinho/ Gustavo Marmentini Dos Santos

Lalianzuala Chhangte

Nandhakumar

Richard Gadze

 

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Source: Matchday Frolics
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