Thursday, April 22, 2010


Etoile Red Carded?

New SLeague club Etoile really have made an impression in the short time they have been in the league despite being a controversial choice. First, they turned up after the season had officially begun! But once they got in place they clicked with a slick marketing campaign that saw match day programmes, pre match entertainment and regular column inches in a local media that recently has shunned anything to do with Singapore football.

They produced a snazzy website, set up a Facebook account with far more members than any other SLeague team and also went a twittering. Apparently you must have Facebook and Twitter these days. The buzz around the club was positive and there was of course a knock on effect to the league.

It helped of course that the team started brightly. They won the League Cup just weeks after landing and were unbeaten in their first seven SLeague games. All this was accompanied by unprecendated, by local standards, media coverage as the club gushed effusively about how they were here for the long term with talk of junior academies and the like.

One win in six games has seen talk of winning the title in their first season fade though they still sit 4th, four points behind leaders Tampines Rovers who have a game in hand.

Closely involved in the setting up of Etoile and the marketing was Sasikumar, one time Singapore international, through his sports marketing company Red Card.

No more. Red Card haven't been working with Etoile since the beginning of April saying it wasn't worth their while financially.

We've been here before of course. A foreign club arrives in Singapore with big talk and big plans before seeing everything go tits up. That hasn't happened to Etoile. Not yet. But their high profile owner has been strangely quiet recently, their website is down, their Twitter is short of twits and even their unofficial blog is looking tired with the guy behind it not even going to the games.

Like many I was disappointed they even entered the SLeague but as they cranked up the PR I changed my view thinking anything that raised the profile of the SLeague has to be a good thing.

But to sustain that early interest, and justify the highest ticket prices in the league, the club needed to maintain that high profile. Singaporeans had responded positively to the club and things looked rosey. Instead what has happened is Etoile have disappeared from the sports pages off the field while on it their results have not been that impressive.

Now comes the, belated, news that their PR people have quit and we start to wonder what's going on. Despite all the fine talk and hype are Etoile just another one season wonder? A Gallic flash in the pan? A group of aging footballers looking for a tropical kick around?

The club owners have never been backward in coming forward in the past. Now is the time for them to state clearly what is going on with the club or they will rapidly lose the goodwill of much of the Singaporean football community.

Except the punters who back them for a draw!

UPDATE - Less than an hour after I posted this the following story appeared in Today Online. I am intrigued. Etoile say they want a company with a larger international presence than Red Card. Yet a look at the Red Card site shows they are arranging events in Thailand and Bangladesh, neither of which, last I checked, are in Singapore.

Anyway true to form they, Etoile, are saying they have big plans on the horizon so we shall see what we shall see.

Might be the beginning of the end, let's watch the space.

- fishoutofwaterspfc
FACT: "Etoile did not commit to their payments to Red Card... Hence, the dropping of Etoile FC's account."

FICTION: "Etoile's looking for a company with a larger international presence..."

Etoile might not be in any trouble financially, but i've confirmed with sources that the payment issues was due to the French club's chairman Johan Gouttefangeas unwillingness to pay Red Card the money owed for their marketing and branding.

The obvious fact could be derived from common sense: "why would Red Card drop a major client's account; 'Etoile FC', when they were the ones responsible for bringing a new dimension to what a S-League Football Club could be? Did the marketing and branding work? It most certainly did... It started with such a huge impact that S-League fans actually believed that soccer in Singapore might finally pick up..."

So, the main reason for Red Card to drop Etoile? Entrepreneurs in Singapore are very business minded, no businessman/woman who aspires to be successful will be kind enough to run a charity organization helping others becoming well-known.
thanks for that

red card and etoile certainly helped t raise the profile of the game in singapore.

can etoile do it alone or w\are they bringing someone else in?
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