Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Hold Your Cherries

Is football about football or fruit machines? The answer should be obvious but after reading this story I'm not so sure.

The former vice chairman of Sengkang Punggol has been appointed chairman of Woodlands Wellington and his former chairman at Sengkang Punggol will act as his adviser at least until the 2011 season begins.

When questioned about a possible conflict of interest it seems nobody is too worried, instead hiding behind one of Singapore football's favourite words; strategic. The Singapore FA of course released a strategic plan earlier in the year. Strategic can mean many things and I can't help but think it's ambiguity is what makes it so attractive. And it sounds so important.

Any old hows, back to the main stuff. I normally avoid stories like this 'cos they're normally boring but this one has a few things crying out. Not only are the respective chairman closely involved with each other they have also worked together at national Football League side Tiong Bahru

This past season Tiong Bahru finished bottom of the table and scored four goals in their 18 games. In just 2008 they had won the NFL Division 2. This abject failure on the field is puzzling when you consider the success they are having off it. Membership of the club has risen by some 50% over the least five years and they have added more fruit machines. Presumably to help subsidise the football club?

Sengkang Punggol have also seen little real investment on the football side of things but they have added more fruit machines to their stable and have asked for approval to add more.

Could the same business plan be employed by the new chairman at Woodlands Wellington?

No one denys that running a football club is an expensive hobby, not least in Singapore where gate reciepts and merchandising contribute about 620 dollars all year. But fans have a right to expect some of the funding from elsewhere being invested back into the club. Fans dream of future success, it's all most of us have left to cling to, but they also need to know the club's owners are pulling in the same direction.

Football is the focus, not the fruties. The fruities are there to help the football club, not the other way round.

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