The Fans
The Fans

From Kolkata to The Hawthorns

How one West Bromwich Albion fan from Kolkata began his journey to visit every major footballing nation in the world.

Debanjan Banerjee traveled from India to realise his dream of visiting The Hawthorns

The author of a blog about his love for West Bromwich Albion, Debanjan Banerjee is a 28 year-old data analyst living in Kolkata.

Whilst all his friends started supporting Manchester United as they were growing up and discovering football, he got hooked on 'The Baggies'.

Having never travelled outside India before, this season he finally managed to realise his dream to visit The Hawthorns, home to West Bromwich Albion.

In his first live Premier League experience, he saw them beat West Ham United in a thrilling match - and met some of his footballing heroes.

This Is Premier League: West Brom v West Ham

Here Debanjan tells his story of his unwavering support: "Things have been moving too fast, I admit. A week back, I was in Bangalore, with zero stamps on my passport.

West Bromwich Albion was a satellite sensation and The Hawthorns was a dream.

"I remember, while writing my article about my journey as a West Bromwich Albion fan, I would stop for a second or two to introspect if this made sense at all. I had become so used to my chosen path of unrequited love, that I had serious doubts whether my heartfelt lines would ever reach the club.

"Yet, today as I write, I cannot stop thinking about the incredible amounts of love I have been shown by the club and its fans over the last three days. Makes you wonder how fine the line is between taking a chance and not.

"My tryst with West Bromwich Albion Football Club started in 2002/03 - their first season in the Premier League.

"I remember the first game I ever watched them play was against Manchester United on the opening day of the season. How tempting it was to back the team in red, when that was what everyone else around me was doing! For some unfathomable reason, I got hooked on the navy and white.

"I was 13 then, young and passionate. I remember reading up everything I could, watching every video I could find and downloading as many pictures as I could lay my eyes upon.

Indian West Bromwich Albion fan Debanjan Banerjee, met Darren Fletcher and Hal Robson-Kanu at The Hawthorns

"In those days the internet was hard to come by and expensive; 50 rupees for half an hour on a dial-up connection. Comparing that to today, at times I wonder how I managed.

"But I did. I negotiated, I sacrificed, spent hours at the house of friends who had a broadband connection - staying up all night at their place, making use of the broadband.

"A year ago, I remember having a heart-to-heart conversation with a bunch of backpackers at a seaside shack in the coastal town of Gokarna, India. The shack was dimly lit by hurricane lanterns and with the sound of the sea waves crashing against the shore, it was a perfect evening to reflect and be inspired.

"Each of us took turns to tell others a story that had changed our lives and a longing that we wanted to fulfil. When it was my turn, I talked about my love for West Bromwich Albion and said, 'I want to travel to every major footballing nation in the world, visit the top 100 football stadiums and then pen down all my experiences in a book."

With his Premier League experience at West Bromwich Albion this season, Debanjan has certainly made a great start.

The Fans

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