Premier Leagues in a Premier Institute!

You might step into any dorm TV room on a typical Sunday evening and think “I’ll bet there’s some engrossing discussion transpiring”. And, guess what? You’d be absolutely right! This is the time that the most logical, cogent, rational thinkers ruminate on why David Moyes has chosen to play Ashley Young and Danny Welbeck again when Shinji Kagawa and Javier Hernandez are there for the taking. Or indeed, why Manuel Pellegrini has Edin Dzeko in the squad if he’s always going to be on the bench! Or what Arsenal’s latest hot catch Özil has lined up for our revelry.

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This is IIM Ahmedabad! And it might be surprising to hear off the bat, but the football fanaticism here is as high as maybe anywhere in the country. Each week, scores of WIMWI-ans fill up dozens of dorm TV rooms to see their favourite teams go head to head and to celebrate in their triumphs and mourn in their defeats. The club with maximum backing is (unsurprisingly!) the defending Champions and this author’s favourite club- The Red Devils of Manchester United. Not far behind, though, are the ardent (and often overtly vocal) supporters of Chelsea and the elegant, loyal, “we’ll win it next year” chaps of Arsenal. Manchester City, much like everywhere else, finds itself devoid of any true support- but ends up getting plenty from everyone who hates Manchester United!

And let’s not forget our beloved exponents of “The Beautiful Game”- the fans of Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid. Heated debates about the relative prowess of Barca with Neymar and Real with Bale and Isco often ensue- and unsurprisingly end in a cross between “How many Champions Leagues have you won?” and “Who won the Liga BBVA last year?” The seemingly eternal quarrel between fans of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo re-surfaces time and again, and it’s almost always the Messi fans who walk away triumphant- 4 consecutive Ballon d’ors will do that!

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Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Munchen have found ardent support in the wake of last season’s Champions League Final. Reus, Lewandowski, Gotze, Muller, Robben and Ribery are more household than segmentation, balance sheets or critical path methods. With Napoli spending big and Juventus going all out with signings like Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente, Italian football enthusiasts are not to be left behind. Paris Saint Germain with Lucas Moura and Zlatan complement a fierce Falcao-spearheaded Monaco side that has created a very niche French football fan base too on campus. All of this makes for a rather delicious melee for Champions League football matches in dormitories.

Champions League games are the perfect antidote to the malaise that plagues the average WIMWIan in the middle of a week filled to the brim with case assignments, projects, placement preparation and all the rest of the joys that accompany the lives of first year students. For second years, well it’s another way to pass the time.

All I can say as a proud WIMWIan and Manchester United fan is more power to all of them! Football is THE game in IIM A and I am thrilled to be there to experience that atmosphere every week. It reminds me of the happier things in life, and God knows we need that sometimes!

Abhishek Raj is an ardent Manchester United fan and a member of the Media Cell at IIM Ahmedabad. When he is not busy attending classes and cheering for his favorite club, he finds time to write for the IIM Ahmedabad blog.

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