Thursday, December 03, 2015


Singapore - Retirement Home For Aging Pros

I caught up with the Andy Penders show yesterday on Red Card Connect and what a show it was. With an all star cast featuring Dez Corkhill, Sasikumar and contributions from Shahril Jantan and John Wilkinson the topic was nothing less than Is It Time To End The SLeague?

Among some of the points raised on the show, including LionsXII joining the A League (!) Sasi made an excellent point and one that I think has long been overlooked by the football administrators who, for all their business school speak, fail to look out of the box.

What do Xavi (Al Sadd), Denilson (Al Wahda) and Ryan Babel (Al Ain) have in common? Big name players now plying their trade in the Middle East where no doubt they are earning serious wads of cash playing football in front of pretty small crowds.

Why are they heading to the gulf? The cash of course but surely for people used to playing in front of large baying crowds, surely the prospect of transitioning and whatever other buzz words there are out there in front of meagre crowds must be pretty disheartening. For all the petro dollars, you can not import a football culture no more than you can buy one.

Singapore has the remnants of a football culture. Admittedly one being slowly choked by unimaginative leadership, free tubes of potato crisps and institutional apathy but it is there. 27,000 people turned out recently to see a bunch of overweight puff and pant on a field purely because they had once played for Liverpool and Manchester United!

Singaporeans love football but their centre of their affections tends to be in places like Anfield and Stamford Bridge, not Bedok or Jurong; they need a reason to love their own football again as they did once before and the current crop of imports, good though they may be are not the names to have people interrupt their evening at the food court for.

Yet which footballer, looking back on a successful career, would  not want to live in Singapore? Family friendly, easy to get a round, so much to see and do on the doorstep and of course a passionate football nation. What is not to love?

So when these players approach the end of their careers why isn't Singapore on their wish list of retirement homes? Why aren't FAS doing something to encourage the likes of Stevie G to make his home in Hougang and not some US city where gun crime is rife and the locals actually think Donald Trump would make a good president?

Can you imagine the immediate shot in the arm the local game and Singapore would receive? The publicity? And yes, the sponsors would be falling over themselves to be associated with the big names. Fans would be queuing up to see a real life hero and think of the knock on effect on the local lads. Ex Home United coach Steve Darby was telling me recently the impact players like Egmar Gonzales and Surachai the geezer with the long surname had on the local players; their professionalism, their attitude.

Having spent time in the gulf and Singapore who wouldn't want to swap the desert for the beach? Singapore has the potential to be a retirment home for aging pros like no other and surely it is not beyond the wit of the FAS to recognise this possibility?

At a time when a Singaporean businessman is appointing one of his business partners to coach Valencia isn't it time people pulled together to help rejuvenate the rotting corpse that is Singapore football. It only takes a few people with vision...

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?