Old Trafford, Manchester, England, November 18th, 2016
Football Paradise, an amateur football blog based out of Mumbai upset the odds at the International Football Blogging Awards held at English football giants, Manchester United’s home stadium, Old Trafford, by winning the prestigious Judges’ Choice Award, becoming the first from India to ever achieve the feat.
Vijay Goel, the Honourable Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports of India reached out to congratulate Football Paradise on social media following their unprecedented win, and has personally invited the team “to discuss football and ways to boost the game in India”.
The Mumbai-based website was handpicked by judges from the BBC, SKY networks, CNN, The Guardian, The Telegraph, ESPN, BT Sport among other major news and media publications, as well as former legendary footballers, as the world’s Best International Football Blog for the year of 2016. The gala dinner ceremony at Old Trafford on Friday night was attended by the who’s who of the football blogging community.
Started in the summer of 2008 as a small blog based out of Mumbai, Football Paradise is the brainchild of Gaurang Manjrekar, a senior consultant with Ernst & Young, New York. Football Paradise have been critically acclaimed for their thought-provoking, passionate and insightful feature pieces on European football, book reviews, and interviews. The finalists of the International Football Blog category were Adam Joseph (Australia), Anything Palmeiras (Brazil), Football Paradise (India), Omar Momani (Jordan), Phil Mac Giolla Bháin (Scotland), Sempre Inter (Italy), The Home of Caribbean Football (West Indies) etc. Over 300,000 fan votes were cast in the 2016 edition of the Football Blogging Awards, with over 2000 blogs nominated from 5 continents stretching from Europe to Oceania.
After receiving the award, Gaurang said, “I feel incredibly humbled that we’ve been recognised for our efforts. We’re a group of full-time professionals – engineers, consultants, copywriters, editors, MBA students, and MS students – and have been pursuing this as a project of passion for the past 8 years because all of us believe in the lost tradition of storytelling. In an era of clickbait websites and increasingly short attention spans, we’ve kept our focus on the art of creating quality football literature which is at par with anything rest of the world can offer, and more.”
The editor of the website, Srijandeep Das, formerly with Hindustan Times, was quoted, “This is a tip of the hat by the global football community towards the quality of reportage and journalism that India has to offer. This acknowledgement is a victory for every child growing up back home who loves the game of football, and dreams of someday pursuing it in any capacity, in a country biased towards cricket.”
Gaurang, who was among the top 20 entrepreneurs coached by Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, was also profiled by the Harvard Business School as a Pioneer Student of their HBX programme earlier this year . After putting India on the football map, Gaurang says he would like to take it a step further by getting Football Paradise involved with the ISL, Indian National Football and the Indian football community at large.
To hear more from Gaurang, click on the following link