Much to the joy of millions of fans across the world, East Bengal announced that they have secured an investor in Shree Cement, with the help of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and now their participation in the Indian Super League (ISL) remains a mere formality.
Their arch-rivals Mohun Bagan had already ensured their berth in ISL after merging with ATK, and the Red and Gold officials kept striving to make a breakthrough, which is finally set to bear fruit in the next few weeks upon completion of a few formalities and paperwork.
The entry of the two Kolkata giants into the top-tier of Indian football certainly bodes well for fans and Tarun Jhunjhunwala, Chief Executive at Reliance, went a step ahead even termed the development as "a new beginning in Indian football".
With both the Kolkata giants set to participate in ISL, this will be for the very first time that two teams from the same city will ply their trade in the league at the same time, since its inception.
In 2017, when FSDL (Football Sports Development Limited) invited bids for interested parties, to add a maximum of three teams in that season, Kolkata was one of the cities in spite of having ATK being based from the city. The ten cities were Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Cuttack, Durgapur, Hyderabad, Jamshedpur, Kolkata, Ranchi, Siliguri, and Thiruvananthapuram.
It must be remembered that East Bengal had picked up the bid document in 2017 as well though they ended up not submitting it.
It is commonplace in football to have two giants from the same city, which only fuels the rivalry and competition between the two. The best derbies in world football have sprung from the co-existence of two rivals in the same city, and the Kolkata derby is no exception.
There were apprehensions amongst fans that they might have to spend a season without witnessing the famed 'boro match' of Maidan on the national stage but with the East Bengal already having one feet in ISL, their fears have been quashed for good.
The glitz and glamour of the ISL will combine with the passion and legacy of one of the oldest derbies in the world. The fixture that gave fans countless unforgettable memories, one that evokes a feeling of nostalgia among the older generation who have been accustomed to watching the Kolkata giants battle it out in the National Football League (NFL) or the I-League, now gets a different a dimension.
It is only going to get bigger and better with enhanced marketing, promotion, coverage and the overall experience for fans be it at the stadium or in front of devices.
Indian football is indeed set for a new beginning.