The story of Mohun Bagan Day began way before 1911. Mohun Bagan played the IFA Shield for the first time in 1909. They played against YMCA in the first round and won the match. Mohun Bagan lost their second-round match against Gordon Highlanders and was out of the competition.
In 1910, Mohun Bagan lost in the first round of the IFA Shield. This defeat left the officials and players of Mohun Bagan heartbroken. The officials of the club then requested Sibdas Bhaduri, one of the best players of their team, to make a powerful team so that Mohun Bagan can cross at least the second round in next year’s IFA Shield. Sibdas Bhaduri made some changes to the position of the players and brought some new players in the team.
The 1911 IFA Shield journey of Mohun Bagan started against St Xaviers, they defeated St Xaviers by 3 goals and proceeded to the second round. This time Mohun Bagan was up against Rangers. Sibdas Bhaduri scored twice to give his team the lead in the first half of the match. The Rangers team was desperate to pull the game their way in the second half. Poor referring ensured that the Rangers got three penalties in the second half, but MB keeper Heeralal Mukherjee saved all three of them. They won a match that Mohun Bagan could have easily lost (2-1) owing to Sibdas and Heeralal’s brilliance. MB survived the second round scare for the first time in their IFA Shield history.
Mohun Bagan’s next match was against the Rifle Brigade team. The match was practically Rifle Brigade vs MB goalkeeper Heeralal. While Heeralal kept saving the shots from Rifle Brigade’s attackers, against the run of play Sibdas Bhaduri scored a goal and Mohun Bagan reached the semis of the IFA Shield.
In the semis, Mohun Bagan was up against a powerful Middlesex team. A lot of spectators turned up for the match, but it ended in a draw. They replayed the match the next day. Next day also quite a few spectators turned up to watch the match. Middlesex’s goalkeeper was Tigot. He was a top-class goalkeeper, and the Mohun Bagan players had their task cut out against him. Sibdas Bhaduri passed a ball to Abhilash Ghosh, Tigot ran towards Abhilash and jumped towards the ball, but Abhilash quickly pushed the ball to the goal from Tigot’s left. Tigot got injured and left the ground. Mohun Bagan was high on confidence. They had a 1-goal lead and Tigot out of the way. With that confidence, MB scored another goal. MB went to the finals with a thumping 3-0 victory against Middlesex.
On 29th July 1911, Mohun Bagan was to face East Yorkshire Regiment in the finals of the IFA Shield. People started coming to the ground from all nooks and corners. It was a momentous occasion in the history of Indian football. In the first half itself, East Yorkshire Regiment got a free-kick. Their free-kick specialist Jackson took it. Mohun Bagan’s goalkeeper Heeralal Mukherjee was riding high on confidence after his back to back wonderful performances throughout the competition. Heeralal asked all his teammates to move away. He was confident he could save the free-kick on his own. His teammate Bhuti Sukul was not sure that they should leave him alone and stood there. Jackson took the free-kick, the ball deflected off Bhuti and went inside the goal. East Yorkshire Regiment were 0-1 up at the half time.
With 10 minutes left in the game, Sibdas Bhaduri changed his place and started playing from the right. He dribbled past the East Yorkshire defence and scored the equalizer. The score became 1-1. With 2 minutes to go in the match, the crowd started becoming restless, and the tension built up. Sibdas Bhaduri passed a ball to Abhilash. Abhilash ran with the ball and went inside the goal with the ball. Mohun Bagan became the first Indian club to win the IFA Shield. It was a monumental moment in Indian football. Eleven Indian men had beaten a strong English side. Out of the 11 of them, apart from Reverent Sudheer Chatterjee, the rest of them used to play barefoot. They etched their names in India’s football history. They created history on the 29th of July 1911. Every year 29th July is celebrated as Mohun Bagan Day.