Led by Chuni Goswami and subsequently by Jarnail Singh the Mariners soared high in the early years of the 1960s…
The 1960s were a golden period in the illustrious history of Mohun Bagan. A star-studded squad boasted gems of Indian football like Subimal ‘Chuni’ Goswami, Jarnail Singh, Mariappa Kempaiah amongst others.
Assistant general secretary Dhiren Dey handed over the armband from Sushil Guha to Goswami after Mohun Bagan were knocked out of the Rovers Cup in the second round by Matunga FC. Although Arun Ghosh jumped ship and joined East Bengal, the presence of A.T. Rahaman, Singh and Guha assured Dey that the backline was in safe hands.
They used to play a 3-2-5 formation that paid rich dividends.
Bagan started brightly in the Calcutta Football League (CFL) in 1960 but midway in the league, seven first-team players including Goswami, Singh were called up for the Indian national team’s Olympic preparatory camp. This prompted coach Sailen Manna to put on the Green and Maroon jersey once again. He slotted in as a centre back for a couple of matches at the business end of the league. Amiya Banerjee and Dipu Das stepped up their game in the absence of the regulars and Bagan went on to win the league by two points.
Their rich vein of form continued in the IFA Shield as well. Das scored the winner in the final beating Indian Navy. But in the Durand Cup, they had to share the honours with East Bengal. Two matches were played but none of the teams could get the better of each other. But in the Rovers Cup, Mohun Bagan was beaten by East Bengal 2-1.
On August 27, 1960, Sailen Manna hung up boots once again after playing in a charity match against Indonesia in the presence of then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
A successful year paved the way for Mohun Bagan to travel to Africa to participate in an invitational tournament. They played 19 matches and won 15, drew thrice and lost only once. They lost the only match to Kenya XI by 3-1. Goalkeeper C R Das had a bad day in office and two errors in quick succession handed Bagan their only defeat in the tournament. Returning to India, they participated in IFA Shield and once again they had to share silverware with East Bengal as the two-legged finals ended in a draw. In the Durand Cup, they reached the finals but Andhra Police had the last laugh as they won the final 1-0.
In 1962, Bagan began the season on a winning note. They lifted the CFL by beating East Bengal 2-0 in a playoff match after both teams finished level on the points table. Mangal Purkayastha scored in each half to avenge the earlier loss during the league stages.
Their juggernaut continued in the IFA Shield as well. They started the campaign with a 10-0 win over local rivals Bhowanipore FC. In the semis, they beat BNR SC (Bengal Nagpur Railway Sports Club), whereas Hyderabad FC defeated East Bengal. In the final, Purkayastha scored a brace whereas Arumaiynayagam netted the other one. The Nizams were outplayed in every department and Mohun Bagan went on to create history by winning the shield for the third successive time. The Indo-China war broke out in 1962 and hence, the Durand Cup could not be completed and the season ended prematurely.
But in this year legendary footballer Gostho Paul received the “Padmasree Award” on April 28 from the President Dr. Rajendra Prasad.
In 1963, Dhiren Dey made the most of his political connections to establish the current tent of Mohun Bagan. Previously, both the Kolkata giants used to share the same field. But Dey struck a deal with Calcutta Club President F J Brearly and Bagan shifted base to Gostho Paul Sarani. On May 14, the new facilities were inaugurated in the august presence of then West Bengal Chief Minister Prafulla Chandra Sen and Army Chief Jayantanath Chowdhury.
(Sailen Manna and Chuni Goswami)
Making the most of the new facilities, they beat East Bengal 3-0 in the CFL and subsequently went on to win CFL by a narrow margin of one point. They also won the Durand Cup by beating familiar foes Hyderabad in the replay of the final with Goswami scoring both the goals. His second goal was a solo effort as the forward dribbled past a couple of opposition players before slotting past Salim in goal. He also received the Arjuna award this year for his heroics on the pitch.
In 1964, Bagan went on to win the CFL for the third time in a row. They leap-frogged arch-rivals East Bengal by a point in the league standings, courtesy of a 3-1 win. The two teams met once again in the IFA Shield final but they were locked at 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes. IFA could not organise a replay and once again the prize was shared.
Bagan also celebrated their Platinum jubilee in 1964. Dey left no stone unturned to make it a grand success. On November 5, a mega rally started from the first training ground of Mohun Bagan and after walking the green and maroon bastions of North Kolkata, it ended in the club tent at maidan. Amidst the celebrations, the team left for Delhi to participate in the Durand Cup. In the final, the two bitter rivals once again met each other and Bagan came out on top with Arumaiynayagam and Asoke Chatterjee scoring in a 2-0 victory. East Bengal had their share of opportunities but Aseem Moullick missed from the spot in the first half, much to the frustration of the red and gold faithfuls.
In 1965, Jarnail Singh was named the skipper. Under his leadership, Bagan continued their dominance in CFL by winning it with a margin of six points. They also became the first non-military team to win the Durand Cup thrice in a row. Dipu Das was in scintillating form throughout the tournament and in the final, they beat Punjab Police 2-0 and Das was once again on the scoresheet along with Goswami.
Bagan managed to keep most of their star players intact during this period which was a major reason for their success. They went on to win 12 trophies (excluding Trades Cup and Coochbehar Cup) during this period, a club record.
1960: Sanath Set, Chittaranjan Das, Subhasis Guha, Sailen Manna, Jarnail Sing, Rahman, Asim Dhar, Prasanta Sarkhel, Kempiah, Narsiah, Amiya Banerjee, Dipu Das, Amal Chakraborty, Sunil Nandi, Sukumar Samajpati, Chuni Goswami (C), Salauddin, S.Ghosh
1961: Sanath Seth, Sushil Guha, Jarnail Sing, Rahaman, Prasanta Sarkhel, Kempiah, Narsiah, Asim Dhar, Dipu Das, Salauddin, Amal Chakraborty, Asoke Chatterjee, Amiya Banerjee, Chuni Goswami (C), Arumaiynayagam
1962: Sanath Seth, R.Guha, Rahman, Prasanta Sarkhel, Fenn, Mrityunjoy Banerjee, Jarnail Sing, Subhasis Guha, Kempiah, Bidyut Majumder, Narsiah, Amiya Ban, Asim Dhar, Seikh Ali, Binu Chatterjee, Dipu Das, Amal Chakraborty, Ajoy Das, Mangal Purakayastha, Chuni Goswami (C), Arumaiynayagam.
1963: Peter Thangaraj, Prasanta Sarkhel, Fenn, Mrityunjoy Banerjee, Jarnail Sing, Bidyut Majumder, Rahaman, Mariappa Kempaiah, Bimal Chakraborty, Rahamullah, Sunil Nandi, Mangal Purakayastha, Chuni Goswami (C), Arumaiynayagam, Amal Chakraborty, Dipu Das, Asoke Chatterjee, Meerkashim.
1964: Peter Thangaraj, Pradyut Barman, Shambhu Banerjee, Bikramjit Debnath, T. A. Rahman, Mrityunjoy Banerjee, Prashanta Sarkhel, Fenn, Amiya Banerjee, Jarnail Singh, Bidyut Majumdar, Kempiah, Bimal Chakraborty, Chaina Paul, Harkripal Singh, Sk. Ali, Dipu Das, Chuni Goswami (C), Amal Chakraborty, Mangal Purokayastha, Sarmad Khan, Balu, Balu, Sitaram Rajak, Arumoynayagam.
1965: Pradyut Barman, Kamal Sarkar, Bikramjit Debnath, T. A. Rahaman, Mrityunjoy Banerjee, Fenn, Prashanta Sarkhel, Jarnail Singh (C), A.Mukherjee, Bidyut Majumder, Bimal Chakraborty, Nitya Ghosh, Amiya Banerjee, Kempiah, Chaina Paul, Dulal Mondal, Dipu Das, Kajal Mukherjee, Amal Chakraborty, Asoke Chatterjee, Kajal Mukherjee, Arumaiynayagam, Sk. Ali, Chuni Goswami.