Youngsters plan virtual get-togethers to relive the pre-pandemic days of cheering their favourite teams
They are discussing strategies, weighing the odds and letting off the pent-up tension by calling up and pulling each other’s leg.
That’s the general mood in the two fan camps gearing up for the UEFA Champions League (UCL) final between Manchester City and Chelsea on May 30, 12.30am.
Since getting together in person and cheering is not an option because of the pandemic, youngsters have found a way to catch the match live with their friends. ‘
Discord, an instant messaging and digital distribution platform, has come to the rescue. The app allows users to chat with each other real-time using text, voice and video calls.
With both the England teams playing in the finals, the rivalry between City fans and Chelsea fans is at the peak. Here are three groups on Discord, all set to root for their teams and engage in some banter while watching the match on Saturday night.
OLE’S RED DEVILS
Saujanya Singha Roy, a third-year Computer Application student of Techno India Salt Lake; Arnab Karmakar, a third-year Civil Engineering student of Narula Institute of Technology; Rishav Biswas, a third-year English student of Surendranath College.
This gang has grown up watching matches together at sports cafes and house parties. For the first time, the trio will have to watch the match from their homes due to the pandemic.
“The excitement of catching a match together can never be matched but at least we can watch it virtually together. We have stocked up on chips and soft drinks. We are prepared to sledge Manchester City fans... according to their performance, though,” said Arnab, a 21-year-old Manchester United fan who will be supporting Chelsea in the finals.
Shaurya Dutta, a 2020 Architecture graduate from Jadavpur University; Somrit Mittra, a fourth-year Computer Science and Engineering student of B.P. Poddar Institute of Management and Technology; Mainak Dasgupta, a 2020 Electronics Communication Engineering graduate from the Institute of Engineering and Management.
These English Premier League fans are armed with chilled beverages and nachos with salsa and cheese dip.
“The last two years have completely changed the football experience for both the fans and the players. The shift from watching matches together to streaming important matches online via Discord, we have definitely adapted to the new normal when it comes to football,” said Shaurya, a 23-year-old die-hard Chelsea fan.
ALL STAR FOOTBALL FANATICS
Soumyadeep Dutta, a 2020 BCom graduate from The Bhawanipur Education Society College; Diptamoy Das, a third-year BCom student of Heramba Chandra College; Arnab Mahapatra, a fourth-year Mechanical Engineering student of Heritage Institute of Technology.
This group of para friends are all Manchester City fans. “We will discuss strategies on Discord, but we plan to cheer together loud so that our neighbourhood gets the same feel as they used to two years back,” laughed Arnab. This gang used to stay the night at one of their friends for every important football match till the pandemic struck.
“For the first time in UCL history, Manchester City will be playing in the finals. Wish we could watch it together like before. Nonetheless, we are all geared up with munchies and plan to share our tensions and joys on Discord,” said Soumyadeep, a 22-year-old resident of Topsia.
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