East Bengal Football Club was formed on 1st August 1920 as a Sports and Cultural association of people who primarily hailed from the eastern provinces of Bengal before partition. The Club became an ardent epicenter for millions of people who were constantly questioned of their identity. This spirit of club laid foundation of its glorious legacy, where the support extended by the club was much akin to the bonding of an extended family. From then, every milestone of East Bengal Club became the symbol of celebration of its supporters. ‘The Hand holding Flame Torch’ became the club’s symbol and identity.
East Bengal Club takes immense pride in the supporter base of approximately 3 Crores across the nation and the overseas, which is an aggregate number only second to the Manchester United.
1911 – Mohun Bagan’s historic success at I.F.A Shield final laid the foundation of football’s popularity among the Bengali youth
1917 – 1919 – Indian football clubs like Kumurtuli and Town denied promotion to the First Division of League. Reason was being that during this period, British and I.F.A. governing body rules permitted only two Indian football clubs in the First Divisions of the League. Natives had to appease their appetite by playing in Coochbehar Cup and Trades Cup and it was the former tourney, which played a significant role in the formation of East Bengal Club.
1920 – July 28, 1920 - On a humid afternoon in July 28, 1920 Mohun Bagan was scheduled to clash with Jorabagan in a Coochbehar Cup tie. The latter took the field minus their star halfback Sailesh Bose, who dropped for some unknown reason. Jorabagan Club's Vice- President and Industrialist Suresh Chandra Chaudhuri pleaded for Bose's inclusion with the club authorities but it fell on deaf ears. A visibly annoyed Chaudhuri immediately severed all connections with the club and formed a new one along with Shri Tarit Bhusan Roy, Manmatha Nath Roy Chaudhuri, Bose, Ramesh Chandra (Nasha) Sen and Aurobinda Ghosh.
1st August 1920 – The foundation of a new football club was laid and christened East Bengal as the founders hailed from that region of Bengal.
August 1920 - Incidentally Manmatha Nath Chaudhuri was the Maharaja of Santosh, now in Bangladesh, after whom the Santosh Trophy is titled. Thereafter the founders debated intensely over the choice of colours for the club jersey. After a long search they opted for a red and golden colour shirt hanging impressively at the Whiteaway, Laidlaw & Co. Departmental Store at Chowringhee. These colours became permanently associated with the club.
August 1920 - The club played its maiden tournament in the same month of its establishment i.e. August 1920. The tourney was Hercules Cup, a seven-a-side competition that the club won without any herculean effort. The club set up its first managing committee with Prof. S. Roy, Principal of Vidyasagar College who assumed the post of the President.
1922 - East Bengal Club got the affiliation of Indian Football Association (then run by the British) in the face of some grim opposition, sadly though, from other Indian football clubs of Calcutta - Mohun Bagan and Aryans. Gradually, with their performance, East Bengal Football Club entered the I.F.A. League's Second Division in the place of Tajhat Football Club. Mr. Suresh Chaudhuri used the good office of Raja Gopal Roy, Tajhat Club's owner, to secure the club's entry. East Bengal FC immediately made their impact by not only securing third position in the Second Division but also went down fighting to Dalhousie A.C., a first division club, in the third round of I.F.A. Shield, only after the fourth meeting, under controversial circumstances.
The club's officials thereafter started hunting for a ground and soon found out that Mohun Bagan's partner in their ground was one National A.C. with roots in Behala; it was already defunct and Bagan was having the use of the whole ground. East Bengal FC took up their claim with the authorities and despite their rival's protests became co-sharer of the ground in 1922. In those days the goal posts were placed East-West and East Bengal took possession of the half towards the Red Road.
1924 – QEBFC became the Joint Champions of the Second Division and also the club contributed in a large measure by raising funds for setting up the statue of Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee in front of C.E.S.C. office at Chowringhee.
East Bengal FC was jointly tied at the top spot of the 2nd Division along with Cameroons "B"; but as the Cameroon's "A" team was already playing in the First Division, the mantle of promotion fell on East Bengal.
Still the club's elevation was not as smooth as the I.F.A. governing body rules permitted, only two Indians teams qualified for the elite division and Mohun Bagan and Aryans had already filled up the bill. It called for a change of rules and in the following Governing Body meeting, those who opposed the club's promotion were ironically the Indian football clubs of Mohun Bagan and Aryans again. The remaining nine British Clubs conveyed their approval.
East Bengal embarked upon their campaign in the Premier Division. The rule restricting the promotion of Indian football clubs was abolished due to the club's efforts. They had achieved what other Indian clubs, Kumartuli and Town had failed earlier. East Bengal soon became a leading Football club of the country. Throngs of fans and supporters started rallying behind the club. Their numbers swelled after the partition when bulk of refugees from erstwhile East Pakistan identified with East Bengal in their pursuit of an identity.
1942 - The club's maiden League triumph was achieved in 1942.
1943 - East Bengal Football Club came into limelight and ultimately got the first flavor of the Calcutta I.F.A. Shield by winning in the year 1943.
1945 - Club achieved the Double win, both in Calcutta League and I.F.A. Shield and also recorded their highest margin of victory when they thrashed B.B.C.I. Railway 11-0 in a Rovers Cup tie. Pagsley the Club's Anglo Burmese Centre Forward scored eight goals in the same tie setting up a record for maximum number of goals scored by an individual player in a match.
1946 - Club's Nayar's record of scoring 36 goals in the 1946 I.F.A. League is still unbroken.
1948 - East Bengal FC defeated the Chinese Olympic XI-2-0 (Scorer - Appa Rao and Saleh) and gained the rich heritage of performing well against foreign club sides. Shri J.C. Guha (1948-69) made a significant contribution during this period in making the club a premier Football Club not only in India but also abroad.
1949 – East Bengal FC won Rover's Cup. Also, a winning streak of historic triumph of the I.F.A. Shield three years in a row (1949-51) as the first Indian team, earned them the unique distinction of being adjudged the best football club by the English F.A. annual almanac of 1951-52.
1950 – Won D.C.M. The trophy was presented by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in the presence of his daughter Indira Gandhi and grandson Rajiv Gandhi. The three prime ministers of India! The tournament was also attended by Mr. Dharma Vira, the then executive head of the DCM group, who later served as Lt. Governor of Delhi and Governor of West Bengal.
1951 – Won Durand Cup. The club performed well against the foreign sides as they defeated F.C. Gotheburg (Sweden) 1-0 (Scorer - Saleh). The club also pioneered in raising funds for Prime Minister's Relief Fund by playing a number of exhibition ties.
1953 – The 3 years winning streak at I.F.A Shield paved the way for the club being invited to tour Soviet Union and Romania as the first Indian football team to have gotten such an honour. East Bengal Football Club is the only club in India who has been invited by Romania Youth Festival Committee to participate in their football tournament at Bucharest in the year 1953. The club was recommended the best football club of India by the then President of India, Late Dr. Rajendra Prasad.
1955 - Masood Fakri, who played for East Bengal Football Club in the years 1952 - 1954 became the first Asian footballer to play professional football in England from 1955.
1956 - An IFA XI comprising of players mainly from the club defeated Chinese Olympic XI 3-1 (Scorer - Moosa, Kittu & P.K.Banerjee).
1948 - 69 Great Indian football legends like Ahmed Khan, Byomkesh Bose, Appa Rao, Saleh, P. Venkatesh, Dhanraj, Taj Mohammed, Sanat Sett, Prasanta Sinha, Tulsidas Balaram, Peter Thangaraj, Santo Mitra, Arun Ghosh, Md. Habib, Syed Nayeemuddin and many others who represented the country in Olympics and in other International football tournaments played for the club during this period.
1970 – The club defeated Pas Football Club of Iran this year, and also set the record of winning the Calcutta Football League six years in a row 1970-1975. East Bengal FC’s most outstanding achievement has been their historic victory over PAS Football Club (Iran) 1-0 in the I.F.A. Shield final 1970. Parimal Dey scored the winning goal at the last minute. It was the first victory of an Indian football club over any foreign team post-independence. Over 80,000 supporters who had thronged Eden Gardens that afternoon heralded the club's triumph by lighting torches (the club's symbol). Since then the torches have become symbolic for any sporting triumphs in our nation.
1972 - Won the League with I.F.A. Shield, Rovers Cup, and Durand Cup in 1972. East Bengal is the only Indian Football club to win the famous Indian 'Treble' (IFA Shield, Durand Cup & Rovers Cup simultaneously in a season) twice: in 1972 and 1990. Russian goalkeeping great Lev Yashin presented the Shield to IFA Shield Champions East Bengal Club. The legendary actor Dilip Kumar met East Bengal club during Rovers Cup final in Mumbai.
1973 – Defeated Piyong Young Football Club of Korea in 1973 in the I.F.A. Shield final and Dok-Ro-Gang Football Club of Korea in the final D.C.M. football tournament held at New Delhi
1978 – Defeated Port Authority Club of Thailand in the final of Bordoloi Trophy in Guwahati (Assam). The club won the Federation Cup in 1978, 1980, 1985 & 1996.
1970 – 1999 Renowned Indian football legends like Subhas Bhowmick, Sudhir Karmakar, Manoranjan Bhattacharya, Bhaskar Ganguly, Sudip Chatterjee, Krishanu Dey, Bhaichung Bhutia and many others who represented the country in international football tournaments played for the club during this period. Well known foreign football legends Majid Baskar, Cheema Okorie, Emeka Ezeugo, John Devine, Julian Camino, Monem Munna and Sammy Omollo also donned the club’s colours during this period.
Indian football legend Bhaichung Bhutia who started his career in this club later went on to play professional football in England as the first Indian footballer.
During this period two officials made a significant contribution and left an indelible mark in the club's affairs. The first was Dr. Nripen Das (1970-78), a renowned surgeon in whose period the club won a huge number of laurels and completely dominated the Indian football scene. The latter was Mr. Dipak (Paltu) Das (1984-2000), who gave a new dimension to the club by bringing in professionalism and sponsors, and finally converted the club into a private limited company.
1985 – This year saw the club become the first Indian football club to represent the country in the finals of Asian Cup Championship in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) in 1985-86 after their triumph in the preliminary round in Colombo.
1990 – The club repeated the feat of winning the Triple Crown (Shield, Durand, Rovers) again in 1990.
1993 - The club won the international Wai Wai Cup tournament at Nepal this year. The club also represented India in Asian Club tournaments several times. Their triumph over Al Jawra (Iraq) 6-2, in 1993, was noteworthy.
1998 – Collaborated with Kingfisher. Dipak Das after being at the helm of affairs soon realized the need for large funds for running the club affairs as the sources from private donation and club membership were being restricted. He initially roped in limited sponsorship from local brands/ companies but his major success was going into partnership with Vijay Mallya's United Breweries Group in 1998, which gave a new facelift to the club. Through corporatization the football team was named "Kingfisher East Bengal" which achieved many firsts among India's football clubs.
2000’s - Mr. Kapil Dev, Mr. Sachin Tendulkar, Mr. Ajay Jadeja, Mr. Navjot Singh Sidhu, and also Bengal cricket icon Mr. Sourav Ganguly played for the club for a couple of years. Mr. Inam-ur-Rahaman, Mr. Gurbux Singh, Mr. Joginder Singh, Mr. Shibaji Pawar, Mr. Govinda and Mr. Mohammed Sayeed, the ex-hockey stars of our country donned the colour of our club as well for the hockey team.
2001 - East Bengal was the first football club in India to have launched a number of merchandising items, which took Kolkata by storm during the Durga Puja celebrations.
2000 - East Bengal won the National Football League title in 2000-01 and even became the first club in India to win back to back National Football League titles in 2003 and 2004. The Club won the IFA Shield thrice in a row (2000, 2001, 2002) and again in 2012.
2002 – Won Durand Cup twice in 2002 and 2004.
July 26, 2003 - East Bengal FC wrote a golden chapter in the history of Indian football by becoming the first football club to win a prestigious International tournament abroad by winning the ASEAN CUP at Jakarta, Indonesia. It was a historic moment for East Bengal FC. The red & golds did India and Indian football proud through this stupendous achievement.
2004 - East Bengal FC was invited to the tournament by Leicester City Football Club of England celebrating LCFC's 120th Anniversary. During that tournament in England it was a grand honour for Kingfisher East Bengal Football Club to be invited to the House of Commons and welcomed by none other than the then Deputy Prime Minister Mr John Prescott.
15th April, 2007 - FIFA President Mr. Joseph S. Blatter visited the East Bengal Football Club tent on his historic official visit to the Club to discover India’s pride – East Bengal Football Club, where the football tradition is very strong, with an enormous fan base all around the world.
June 2007 - The Club’s U-15 football team qualified for the Manchester United Premier Cup World Finals which was held in August 2007. In the World Finals the U-15 team got a word of praise from English legend Sir Bobby Charlton. The English legend commented, “I saw a few matches, including one featuring this Indian side. They had certain handicaps but what struck me was their stomach for fight, which was astounding. It was really impressive to see how eager they were for a fight.”
April 2, 2008 - East Bengal secured victory over Al Wihdat, Jordan; this was the day when an Indian football club won any such major tournament in West Asia. The club won the prestigious Federation Cup in 2007, 2009, 2010 & 2012 and also won the Super Cup in 2006 & 2011.
2013 - The club created another history as East Bengal FC became the first Indian team to qualify for the prestigious AFC Cup four years in a row -- 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. They became the first Indian team to qualify to AFC Cup semi-finals remaining undefeated in 2013.
2016 – The club created history when they won the Calcutta Football League six years in a row for the second time (2010-2015) thereby emulating their feat of winning the same League six times consecutively (1970-1975).