Northeast and football have a different and unique connection. The European clubs have a great fan following in the region and they celebrate their favourite clubs' victory in different ways. After the Mizoram fans celebrated Chelsea’s UEFA Europa League by donating blood in Aizawl, now the Liverpool fans have conducted a charity drive for an orphanage at Itanagar to celebrate the English club’s UEFA Champions League victory.
“We enjoyed the win and the sixth trophy and we wanted to share our joy. We can't really do much since we are not funded by anyone and are a small group so we did whatever little we could,” Ranju Dodum, a writer who is the president of the group based at Itanagar tells Outlook.
Liverpool beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 to win their sixth title on June 1 which was played in Madrid.
“It was a small thing. We aren't a big group and most of us are already in our 30s who've been supporting Liverpool when the team wasn't winning any major trophies. Someone like Steven Gerrard who was an influential and talismanic figure in the club always had a ‘never say die’ attitude. That attitude was also on display during the second leg of the champions league match with Barcelona this season,” adds Ranju.
As a part of their celebrations, the fans of the Reds donated food and other essential commodities at Jeevan Jyoti Children Home, an orphanage based at Nirjuli in Papum Pare district of the state. It's run by a couple- Hibu Tage and wife Meena Tage. There are 12 girls currently as wards.
They have contributed 100kg of rice, 50kg of potatoes, 30kg of dal, 10kg sugar, tea packets, umbrellas, buckets, sanitary pads, notebooks, pencils and geometry boxes. Apart from that badminton racquets, ludo sets and carom board, footballs and chess sets among others were given to the girls of the orphanage.
Though they have been long Liverpool supporters, it’s been just two years they started to get together to watch the matches together and celebrate through a WhatsApp group – Arunachal Kopities. Now, they have named themselves as ‘Arunachal Liverpool Supporters Group’.
“Currently we're around 18 of us. We used to show up at match screenings at pubs in Itanagar wearing our jerseys and fans of other clubs would ridicule us for our made support and would often remind us of how the club hasn't won the league in so many years. Banter is common among rival fans so these things happen,” Ranju says.
They are now praying for the Premier League for their club.
Earlier, Mizo Chelsea Supporters’ Club (MCSC), a die-hard fan club of Chelsea celebrated by donating blood earlier this month.