The Nabab Bhattacharya-led United Sports Club is still a breeding ground for future football stars
United Sports Club is a familiar name in the Indian football fraternity, having regularly plied their trade in the top tier of Indian football between 2008 and 2014.
The club was established in 1927 as Everready Association but it rose to prominence only in the 90s when a bunch of youngsters then, which includes the current general secretary of the club Alokesh Kundu and director Sidhartha Bhattacharya or ‘Nabab’ as he is fondly known in the Kolkata Maidan, revived it.
The club climbed up the rungs of the Calcutta Football League (CFL) and reached the top division in 2002. In 2005, they made their presence felt at the national level for the first time when a young Everready side reached the final of the IFA Shield. They lost the final against Bayern Munich’s reserve side 5-1, but their run in the competition was inspiring.
They were later re-christened as United Sports Club and they finally got promoted to the I-League in the 2008-09 season.
United Sports Club, under the guidance of their director Nabab Bhattacharya, has been nurturing young talents for more than a decade now.
Over the years, the club has nurtured some bright young talents. Snehashish Chakraborty, who had played for both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, Provat Lakra, who currently plays for ISL side NorthEast United FC and Monotosh Chakladhar, who joined East Bengal this season are some of their famous youth products.
Other than their academy graduates there are quite a few big names who made it big after starting their career at United Sports like Lalkamal Bhowmick, Kingshuk Debnath, CK Vineeth, Denson Devadas.
United Sports were ousted from the I-League at the end of 2013-14 season after the club had failed to fulfil the AFC Club Licensing criteria.
Since then, the club has been without a sponsor and is competing at the state level. Nabab Bhattacharya is single-handedly running the show at the club for now.
Even though the club aren’t in limelight for quite some time now, United Sports have youth teams at the U-13, U-15 and U-18 level, something which very few top clubs of Indian football, including Kolkata giants East Bengal can boast of.
The youth teams also participate in the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) Sub-Junior League, Junior League and the Elite League.
They currently run two teams simultaneously who participate at the senior level, United Sports Club and Pathachakra. All the training sessions are held at the ground in Kalyani.
Around 200m from the training field is a residential apartment where the club keeps their outstation footballers both at the senior and youth level. The club management has left no stones unturned to provide their footballers healthy meals and proper accommodation.
“It is our duty to provide the basic facilities to our players as many of them come from very humble backgrounds”, said Bhattacharya when asked about the club’s residential setup.
Nearly INR 70 Lakhs yearly is spent to maintain the entire setup at United Sports club, according to Bhattacharya and the entire sum of money comes from the pockets of the management.
Just to get a fair idea of how strong United’s youth setup is, their U-18 side recently made it to the final round of the ongoing Elite League finishing second behind ATK in the Kolkata zone. They finished above both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan’s junior teams.
Out of sheer love and passion for the sport and without a single penny in return, Bhattacharya has invested a lot his time into United Sports Club.