Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Ex Arsenal Trainee Sent Home

News from Singapore that one of the ex Arsenal trainees who joined Geylang United has been dropped before he could kick a ball in anger.

Oliver Nicholas came over to Singapore to take part in trials conducted by the Singapore Football Association along with several other hopefuls and Geylang must have seen enough because they signed him up.

And now they have released him!

Reports from Singapore suggest the chairman was at training one night and didn't like Nicholas' attitude, instructing the coach to drop him immediately.

Before I go off on a tangent here there are a couple of factors at play here. Culturally it is deemed to be ok for a coach to accept interference from those who pay his wages. Not all coaches of course accept this, Peter Butler at Kelantan was complaining about this issue just last week, but many, especially the local coaches, think it's not in their interests to rock the boat and start upsetting the man who pays their wages.

From the owner/manager/chairman's viewpoint he is doing his job. If his advise is not followed or if it is followed and things still go wrong he can still point the finger at the unlucky coach, saying it's his job.

The other factor is that foreign players, and foreign employees in general, are usually held to a higher standard than the locals. They are in my day job, for example. With the bigger bucks and the better benefits come responsibilities; implicit as far as the club is concerned, unknown as far as the player is concerned.

OK, now to go off on one!

There is a tendency in this part of the world to think that if something or someone is European then automatically they are better than any local. Now that thinking is a crock of shite. Yes, Nicholas may have been an Arsenal trainee. But he was let go. Just as he was let from other clubs.

If he was that good then what the hell was he doing in Singapore trying out for a club who haven't won a trophy in yonks? This is not to slate Singapore of course or Nicholas. But clubs in this region need to get smart and need to do their homework better. Grant Holt had a spell in Singapore years back, came over, was hungry and got himself back on the radar back home; now doing the business with Norwich City.

French striker Frederic Mendy was brought to Singapore by the short lived Etoile, impressed in his debut season, earned a move to Home United and continued to impress. He didn't act the billy big bollocks, he worked hard, annoyed the hell out of people and is developing into a very respected player.

Hopefully that is what the other ex Arsenal trainee, Rhema Obed, will do. He is no longer with the Arsenal just as I am no longer travelling to see the Arsenal week in, week out. It's a different environment and while the attendances may be crap, while the club owner may over rule the coach and while no one will recognise him on the MRT there are people who still take the game very seriously.

I don't know what happened with Nicholas and the Geylang president but I would love to see a player like Obed knuckle down, do the business and, if that's what he wants, earn a move back to England. Then Singapore football can rightly say they had a hand in his upturn in fortunes.

UPDATE - club saying the chairman had nothing to do with Nicholas leaving the club.

Gayland oops Geylang United coach Mike Wong was quoted in the papers as saying this player have family problems back home in England so the parting was mutual?
Facts need to be CORRECT before being published. Nicholas was not " sent " home. Revise your information
hence my update at the bottom.
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