Monday, September 15, 2014


The Day The Lions Were Saddled

I must admit I don't know much about Walsall. Only that I don't like them very much. Ask any Arsenal fan about 1933 or, to a lesser extent, 1983 and they will likely grimace. Yuck...let's just not go there.

Anyway, not too long back I was idly surfing ebay and somehow I came across a football programme from a game between Walsall and the Singapore national team and obviously my interest was piqued. I never knew they had met, what was all that about?

So I bid and I won and excitedly awaited delivery of this piece of history. I asked a few Singapore contacts about the game and they knew nothing about it. At least they answered! Walsall never bothered reply to my request for any info about the game.

The game was played 26 April 1972 at Walsall's ground Fellows Park. I love these old programmes. It cost 3p...England hadn't been decimal for a long time and many were no doubt still getting used to this new fangled money. 3p? Not worth anything these days!

On page 5 of the eight page programme there is a Welcome Singapore column. Yipee thinks I...until I read the first words. 'The vagaries of the postal system seem to have deprived us of any details of our visitors tonight but they are nonetheless welcome and we thank them for agreeing that proceeds from this game be devoted to local charities.

It then goes on to talk about how the game was to serve as an opener for Walsall's tour of Singapore, Malayia, Thailand and Indonesia! Does anyone know anything about that?

Normally I hate programmes that have been written on but in this case I was happy to make an exception. Plus, an added bonus, it had a newspaper report inside which added some more precious information.

The game ended 7-1 to Walsall (Beresford 3, Woodward 2, Shinton, Gregg; Kua Kim Lye)

Walsall were 4-0 up at half time before substitute Brian Beresford, then a 17 year old apprentice, hit a second half hat trick to make sure Singapore felt well and truly whacked!

According to the gentleman who had patiently jotted down the team changes, goal scorers and substitutions for posterity, Singapore wore all tangerine kit, not all red as mentioned in the programme. The black and white photo of the two teams sat together in the paper clipping is not conclusive but the Singapore players appear to have a large flag where a club sponsor may expect his logo to be and the red in the flag is easily recognisable from the shirt colour.

For those who follow Singapore football today, a glance at their line up back in 1972 may be of interest

1 - Lim Chiew Peng
2 - Amat
3 - Jitta Singh
4 - Sugat
5 - S Rajagopal
6 - Kumar
7 - Omar
8 - Othman Baharom
9 - Kua Kim Lye
10 - Abdullah Kassim
11 - R Krishnan

Subs - Jitta Singh is also named as a sub as is Jaafar Yacob.

If anyone does know more about this game I would love to hear from you!

I think it was a Arsenal, Chelsea, Walsall training tour. One incident reported in local newspaper was that the Singapore players was un-merrily asked to move to a further side of a traning field by one of the club coach. I was still a student starting supporting local football then. Archive also England FA Representative XI 9-0 win at old Jalan Besar Stadium. The Singapore goalkeeper was Ahmad Wartam, father of Fandi Ahmad...
you have the link?
This is what I manage to find from the national newspaper archive, maybe you can research there if you are keen.

Seems like there is also another bunch of players called the Wanderers playing here at the same time.
This one I remember was called Royal Navy Wanderers from the British Royal Navy...
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