Monday, June 20, 2016
Stay Away Fans Highlight FAS Incompetence
So I was at the Tampines Rovers v Balestier Khalsa game on Friday night in the SLeague and as far as I am aware the season hasn't finished and Albirex Niigata had not been crowned champions. So where were the fans? What has happened to all that early season hype, Pennantmania, that saw increased attendances across the league?
No doubt there are three arguments the stay aways would like to put forward starting with the Euros going on in France, So? Shouldn't the marketing geniuses at the FAS being doing something about getting bums on seats and doing their utmost to prioritise the local game, like actually do their job and not cling to airy fairy ideas about strategic plans. ASEAN Super Leagues or their dreams of working at FIFA?
It was a Balestier home game but they don't seem to have much of a fan base at the best of times, did I really see one of their number wearing a swastika t shirt? But Tampines fans surely could have, should have made the effort. After all they are the swashbucklers, the team that signed all the top players from LionsXII though given their financial status now they are bringing little tangible benefit to the club through the gate.
I sat with the Tampines fans and apart from one clown who kept making daft loud comments that saw him earn the mildest possible rebuke from a cautious steward, they made little in the way of noise. But it wasn't just that. In other countries people go to a game, meet their mates, have a crack, share a bit of banter. These Tampines fans didn't seem to know each other. They sat in little pockets, played with their phones, nibbled their potato chips and talked to each other and seemed to live in total isolation to the rest of the world. They weren't at a football match, they were at a family picnic, sitting amid other families, amid yet apart.
The fasting month may have had an impact on the attendance as may the rain but then games are going on in Indonesia for example with little impact at the turnstile.
No, these are just excuses from the apathetic. Simply put the SLeague and the few remaining clubs are doing next to nothing to reach out to fans. Tampines deserve some kudos for making an effort but it hasn't been sustained and rather than a regional powerhouse being developed the danger is they become the Leeds United, living the dream, spending money they have yet to earn.
Perhaps it is time to end the SLeague as it stands and start afresh with franchised clubs backed by owners with deep pockets? But that would mean the current turkeys voting for Christmas and given some people's international ambitions that is unlikely. The fact the SLeague is in such a poor state is down to these people and they would like to take their incompetence to the AFC and FIFA. Sadly so rotten is the core of the game and so well versed are they in business school speak they stand a chance.