Friday, August 26, 2011
Over Land & Sea. And Kunming.
Many were saying last December that Singapore football was in terminal decline. The perceived wisdom among the wizened old hacks and the keyboard warriors who impotently vomit their self loathing on anonymous message boards was that following the failure to win the ASEAN Football Federation Cup, as if the Lions have the right to win it every time, and following a humiliating domestic season that saw all three trophies won by foreign teams, the game was dead, better everyone just spend their money buying replica shirts of EPL teams.
The problem with that reasoning was that it just weren't true. The national team had spent a longtime together and it was time for new faces. But anyone who had actually been to an SLeague would have told you that the excitement on the field wasn't being passed on to the public.
But there was a sea change occurring. Not in the glare of publicity or from the vision of some PR outfit charging mega bucks by the hour. This sea change was taking place where all sea changes take place. Be it hip hop, punk rock or Abba revival bands any meaningful cultural shift happens on the street and that was what was happening in Singapore.
Some fans, pissed off at the lack of initiative shown by them who were supposed to run the game and by media treating the game as a piss take, decided to do something about it. Decided that a strategic plan big on MBA terminology but low on nuts and bolts was never gonna be enough to change the say people looked at football in their own back yard.
So they kicked up a racket. On the terraces. They decided what Singapore had in football terms was something Singaporeans should be proud of. Stick your Rooney, Lampard and Gerrard where the sun don't shine, they wanted to be proud of Harris, Shahril and Fazrul.
Mindsets are as difficult to change as bandwagons are easy to follow. Unfortunately there is no bandwagon yet in Singapore football but there are a few pioneers seeking to raise the tempo for the Lions something like 30 of them will be travelling to Kunming next week to see their boys take on China in their opening World Cup Qualifier.
No matter the result, they were there and they were doing their bit for their team and country. Which is more than can be said for the keyboard tossers wasting cyberspace with their turgid negativity.