Friday, January 13, 2012


Etoile Keep 'Em Guessing

Etoile have never been everyone's favorite cup of tea. A bunch of French journeymen pros parachuted into the tropics in the hope of kick starting their stagnant careers?

Since they arrived in 2010 the club have been involved in controversy after controversy, much of it of their own making. David Ginola for example or the mysterious case of the clubhouse that never was or their role in a brawl with Hougang United or even their Indonesian-esque late salary payments.

To be fair they have played some good football and of course they were the first foreign team to win the SLeague when they lifted the crown in their debut season and their leading scorer that season, Frederic Mendy, went on to play a lead role in Home United's assault on the title last season.

Now they are in the headlines again for the wrong reasons. This situation stems back to the middle of last year when the chairman quit and new backers got on board. As is often the case in changeovers at the top it was less than smooth and the recriminations seem to be echoing over to the new year now that the former chairman is now deputy CEO of the SLeague and charge with reinvigorating a product many feel has gone stale.

When Etoile arrived on the scene they spouted off about how they wanted to help develop Singapore football (the white man's burden?!), they were in it for the long term, words designed to win over a sceptical football fraternity accustomed to seeing foreign teams arrive, make lots of noise and disappear with nary a toodlepip. Or au revoir.

But now, on the eve of the 2012 season, they are throwing a hissey fit because their former chairman has a new job. Football in Singapore has been forgotten about while they pout and sulk, threatening to quit the league just weeks before it is due to begin.

In a rare moment of steely resolve the President of the FA has come out and said that the tail should not be wagging the dog and it is up to the FA to make a decision, not a team. He's quite right of course, yeah I know I can't believe I said that either.

The fixture list has yet to be drawn up because les drama queens are hogging the limelight so clubs have no idea yet of when their season will begin and against whom.

This sulking from a professional football club shows a distinct lack of respect to Singapore football and the FA needs to make a firm decision; not let themselves be dicked around like this.

Etoile's throwing the toys out of the pram like this, so close to the start of the season, shows how empty their words of two years ago really were. Develop Singapore football? Long term? What a load of bullshit. Fine words designed to mollify the hosts yet when some ego gets damaged they take umbrage and flout and bitch like some air headed model or celebrity.

Their delaying tactics, and the FA's less than robust response, leaves football in a pickle. With the SLeague being expanded to 14 clubs playing each other twice a season we now could be, should be, left with 13 clubs. Just one more than previously. Unless the FA have a club waiting in the wings to fill the void.

The AFC and FIFA are none too happy with odd numbers in domestic leagues but obviously Etoile don't give a shit about that. And they obviously don't care too much either if they cause problems for the SLeague and the other clubs either.

COMMENT - this post relates to the flapping around by Etoile and their 'look at me stance' in relation to their 'talk' when they first joined the league. There are serious questions to be asked about the appointment of their former chairman as Deputy CEO of the SLeague, and perhaps another post, but that does not excuse their actions.

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