Friday, August 31, 2007


A Lost Weekend

I had hoped to see Persija play Persela on Sunday but the game has been switched to Yogyakarta because of the trouble that plagued the recent Persib game. Talking Persib I fancied their game at home to Persikota but figured Jakarta registered may not be that welcome.

Anyway the Arsenal play Pompey at 7 pm. During the day an Arsenal Soccer School opens up locally so I'll pop along and take some snap...depending on my hangover!

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Gajayana Stadium, Malang

Persema Malang's stadium is currently being renovated to the tune of hundreds of billions of rupiah. The East Stand and the VIP bit are getting a lick of paint and when finished the stadium will bask in the name of Malang Olympic Garden. Don't hold your breath for an Olympic Games bid though.

While it may seem odd that the second team in Malang, Arema are the biggest, are doing up their stadium, especially when there crowds are so pants, it's worth remembering who's paying. The taxpayer, may they know it or not.

Still, at least there is some recognition Indonesia needs quality sports venues.


Midweek results

Persikabo v Sriwijaya 3-0 7,000
Persikota v Persitara 2-0 5,000
Persiraja v Persija 1-0 9,000
PSDS v S. Padang 3-2 5,000
PSMS v PSS 1-0 (abandonded due to rain)

Persiter v Persebaya 1-0 10,000
Persmin v Persigi Bali 3-0 12,000
Persibom v PSIM 0-0 6,000
Persma v Deltras 0-1 12,000

Sriwijaya fall on the road again. Persikota win at home again. Persija lost in a bad tempered affair in Aceh with a goal 8 minutes from time. 7 bookings there. Quewetly Alweni scored for Ternate as they beat Surabaya 1-0 and move one point behind leaders Persijap. Nice name...


Division One Play Offs

Don't know whey they're bothering with this promotion stuff, I thought this season just the top 9 went on to form the SuperLiga?

The semi finals and finals will be held in Solo early September, wow, that's next week.

Semi Final 1 :
7 September 2007, PSP Padang - Persibo Bojonegoro
Semi Final 2 :
7 September 2007, Persikad Depok City – PS. Mitra Kukar
Final :
10 September 2007,


Is there nothing clubs won't do???

It appears Arsenal have applied to trademark the name Gooner. What that means is we could soon be seeing Gooner pens, Gooner t shirts, Gooner G Strings.

In recent years a Gooner has come to mean an Arsenal fan of any hue but for those of us a bit older it has a deeper meaning. Gooners used to be one of the names that was given to the gang of hooligans who followed the club round the country. It later evolved to encompass any 'lad' who followed the club and dressed in a 'casual' manner and became the name of a best selling fanzine.

Back then the club would be quick to disown any acts of violence involving the Gooners and the chant Ooh to be a Gooner usually only meant one thing. It is also worth pointing out that our support then wasn't what it is now and frequently at away games these Gooners formed a large proportion of our support. I recall games back in the early 80's up north where we had no more than a couple of hundred and probably half of them were identifiable as casuals/gooners.

Since the inception of the Premier League the club has been ever quick to snap up our money and with the move to the new stadium very little is left of the Arsenal I grew up with. The footballing experience has changed, in many ways for the better it must be said, but much has been introduced that plainly ignores the wishes of the fans. Well, some of them.

For the new breed who fill the season ticket waiting lists and flock to buy the new shirts Gooner is a quaint song that has no meaning. But for others it encapsulates part of their youth when we could pay on the day, travel with mates and have a laugh. That was our footballing experience and it is slowly being taken from us. Maybe I'm just an old git with nothing left but memories but at least the club cannot take them from me.

Even as they try to cash in on the interest in all things hooligan.

Please note : I was not nor do I pretend to have been involved with any hooligan activities. I did though know people who were and once or twice I did take, and give, a slap. Many young lads going to football then will have had the same or similar experiences...



Indonesia qualify

Following Indonesia's battling performances in the Asian Cup their First Round Qualifying opponent Guam have decided to forget about playing in the World Cup for another 4 years. They have withdrawn allowing Indonesia to go through to the second round where they play either Oman or Nepal over two legs. The Indonesian FA are relieved because their logistics people had failed to find Guam on the wall map they have and were afraid to call the Guam FA because they couldn't find a Guamese speaker.


Malaysia win the Merdeka

Malaysia beat Myanmar 3-1 to clinch the Merdeka Games in their 50th year of independence. Given a woeful year football wise where headlines were hogged by the on again, off again tour by Manchester United this victory may shed some light onto a gloomy football scene up there but as Malaysia celebrates it's worth pointing out it was just a friendly tournament. The World Cup Qualifiers are soon and Bahrain will be a tougher nut to crack for the full Malaysian squad.


Persiraja Banda Aceh v Persija Jakarta 1-0

Local media have described this as a real David and Goliath upset with bottom dwelling Persiraja getting one over city slickers Jakarta up in Aceh but given Persija's woes on the roads this result was on the cards.

Like the rest of the Top 4 Persija just cannot seem to put a run together and getting 3 points away from home seems a job to far for them. Better save the money on flights and hotels and just DHL a white flag next time.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


PSDS Deli Serdang v Semen Padang 3-2

Don't get to see Padang too often on TV but this was a corker.

They may be crap away but they pushed PSDS all the way. Twice they fell behind, twice they levelled but finally it was a goal too much.

The only problem was the brass band supporting the Yellow Tractors...


Last weekend's scores

Persikota v Sriwijaya 2-1 3,000
Persikabo v Persitara 1-1 7,000
Persiraja v S. Padang 0-0 7,000
PSDS v Persija 2-0 5,000
PSMS v Persib 1-2 13,000
PSSB v PSS 2-2

Persibom v Deltras 2-2 6,000
Persma v PSIM 2-1 12,000
PSM v Persipura 0-1 12,000
Perseman v Persiwa 2-2 14,000
Persiter v Bali 1-0
Persimin v Persebaya 1-1 12,000

Some odd results! It seems in Group 1 no one wants to win it! PSMS, Sriwijaya and Persija have all had good runs but decided this was the weekend they should start losing while Persib started winning again in the tie of the round. Three points separate the top 4. You want daft? PSDS would be top if the leadership was decided by home results alone. Based on away results they would be second bottom!!

In Group 2 PSM fell again while Persipura moved into second spot. Persebaya got their first away points of the season. Like I said, odd results!


Merdeka Cup Final

Against the odds Malaysia finally gave local football fans something to smile about, remember Manchester United started the season poorly, when they beat Singapore 3-1 in the semi final to set up a final against last year's winners Myanmar.


Persija v Persila

I understand this weekend's game Liga Indonesia game will be held at Cilangkap, Depok on Sunday without fans.

This is as a punishment for the serious crowd misorder at the recent game with Persib.

Shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted springs to mind.

Even I, new to the game here, knew the Persib game was a potential flashpoint. Having the visiting team escorted from the stadium in armoured personnel carriers isn't a good thing is it, so whey weren't preventative measures taken for that game? Why penalise a harmless fixture?

Further crowd trouble at the weekend saw little old Persitara North Jakarta take it to Persikabo Bogor. The same old situation. A large, unexpected, travelling support and no coordination between the clubs, authorities and police.

The Asian Cup showed football can be organised here. Why isn't that experienced being passed on to the Liga Indonesia?

Apathy rules eh?

Someone needs to get serious about security at fixtures here. It can't just be left to the fans.

UPDATE - The Jakmania website say the game is to be played in Yogyakarta!


Home United v Geylang United 2-1

Geylang would have come away from this game feeling hard done by as they saw 3 points slip from their grasp deep in injury time.

They had started the brighter of the teams and fully deserved the lead when it came.

However with 15 minutes or so on the clock one of their players was sent off and from then on it was hosts Home in the ascendancy.

It was a vital win for Home as they sought to keep the pressure of SAF and victory saw them back on top.

The following night SAF were held 1-1 at Gombak leaving Home two points clear.

Sorry, no more details...lost my notes! More details on the SLeague site

Pictures here later...

Friday, August 24, 2007


Merdeka Scores

Singapore v Bangladesh 2-1
Indonesia v Zimbabwe 1-2

All hinges on the final matches Saturday when Indonesia play Singapore and Bangladesh play Zimbabwe.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Arsenal Supporters



Midweek stuff

Group 1

Sriwijaya v PSDS 4-1 15,000
Persitara v Persiraja 1-0 3,000
Persik v Persikabo 1-0 10,000
Persema v Persikota 1-0 10,000
Persita v PSSB 2-0 10,000
PJ Purwakarta v PSMS 2-0 8,000
Persib v Persela 0-0 20,000
PSS Sleman v PSIS 2-1 10,000

Poor old Semarang Dave. You should have seen the expletive filled text message I got from the airport when I tried updating him about how his beloved PSIS were doing. Things didn't improve when his flight was delayed 4 hours! More teenage kids throwing water bottles make he headlines, this time at Persib. You might think they would stop selling water bottles in the stadium but hey, better have the vendors sell them then use them as weapons eh? Sriwijaya knocking in goals for fun but then it was PSDS who are crap on the road, awesome at home. Sunday they play home!

1. Sriwijaya 42 points
2. Medan 40 points
3. Persija 39 points
4. Persib 38 points
5. Persik 38 points
6. Persita 38 points

Group 2

Persigi Bali v Persma Manado 1-1 2,000
Persebaya v Persibom 1-0 4,500
Arema v Persmin 1-0 15,000
Persekabpas v Persiter 0-1 4,000
Persijap v Perseman 2-0 10,000
Persis v PSM 3-2 15,000
Persipura v Persiba 2-2 15,000
Persiwa v PKT Bontang 2-0 8,000

That man Seator can't stop scoring, another couple as he led his new club Persis Solo to a victory over PSM. Arema continue to chip away, a nice goal from Ortizan enough to put them up to 7th, 3 points off the top 4. Perseman lost away but that's not really news is it? New signing Arturi Villa was booked as Persekabpas fell at home. Again.

1. Persijap 39 points
2. PSM 37 points
3. Persiwa 36 points
4. Persipura 35 points
5. Persiba 35 points


Best league in the world

A bumper crowd at Wembley last night helped repay some of the debt owed by the national stadium but came away gutted John as they watched England lose 2-1 at home. Despite Lampard scoring a goal. Normal service was resumed when an England goalkeeping clanger let the Germans back in and they managed to win without the help fo penalties. Alan Ball was captain last time we beat the Germans at Wembley and it seemed unlikely we would repeat it last night. No doubt bringing on Crouch and Dyer in the second half had England fans sooooo excited at the thought of the Beanpole and his sidekick Muttley inspiring an exciting comeback but oddly enough it never happened.

Meanwhile Ireland beat Denmark 4-0 in Copenhagen. Wales got a 1-0 in Bulgaria. Northern Ireland beat Liechensitein 3-1 and even Scotland won 1-0 against South Africa.

But hey, it's only friendlies, we have Wembley and we still have the best league in the world...and people out there still believe this nonsense.

I can't be arsed to go on about our national team but whenever I look at the teamsheets I feel monstorously underwhelmed. Apart from Gerrard and Rooney no one has the ability to influence a game in the manner of a Bowles or Currie or Hudson. Oh yeah, look what happened to them...


More Merdeka

Laos v Lesotho 1-3
Malaysia v Myanmar 1-2

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


PSS Sleman v PSIS Semarang 2-1

2-0 to PSS at half time.

I think I like PSS. Nice pitch, nice stadium and as their fans showed the other week at Persija good support.


Merdeka Latest

Indonesia U23 v Bangladesh 1-0
Singapore U23 v Zimbabwe 4-2

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


SLeague latest

Last night Singapore Armed Forces crushed title rivals 4-1 at Warriors Arena in front of more than 3,500 fans. Two goals from Duric, who now has 636 for this season, in the second half lifted the Warriors above Home on goal difference.

Which sets me up nicely for this weekend's fixtures when I'm back in Singapore taking in a couple of games. Sunday sees Home United host Geylang United and they'll be desperate for 3 points while Monday sees me out in the wild industrial west of the island taking in Gombak United and SAF. Goals a plenty there methinks.


Indonesia v Uruguay

Looks like this fixture has been quietly shelved. Nothing on the FIFA or Indonesian FA websites about it.

It was always going to be pie in the sky with most Uruguayans playing in Europe and the season under way, none would have been allowed all the way over here for a friendly.

Still, at least the Indonesian FA can say oh look, we tried to get someone but they didn't want to come!

Instead all eyes are on the Merdeka Games in Malaysia where the Under 23's are competeing but I'm not sure whether the games are being shown live here or not.


Dodgy penalties at Anfield

It's pathetic to hear the blubbing coming out of Anfield at the moment. Steven Gerrard says the ref cracked under intimidation from the Chelsea players when he gave that controversial penalty that got the Blues a point on Sunday.

Rafa, well know Spaniard, tinkerer, goatee wearer and Mr Rent an excuse, said "I want to have a lot of respect for referees, but sometimes I cannot understand why they give some decisions." He also went on to blame Rob Styles for the problems in the Middle East, global warming and the lack of car parking spaces at his local Tesco.

I mean come on. A dodgy penalty given at Anfield???

Nah, never...


Machester City, a Thai and a Swede

Manchester City fans haven’t had a whole lot to gloat about in recent years. In recent decades. It’s been 30 years since they last won a trophy, 40 years since they won the Championship. In that time the manager’s position has become idiomatic of high turnover. Oh that Johnny, he’s had more wives than City have had managers. Now though as they sit pretty on top of the Premier League oh boy are they gonna milk it. God knows when it may happen again.

Thaksin has come in and flashed the cash, bringing Sven out of his FA sponsored hiatus, and now Blue Moon is being sung with a gusto unequalled in living memory. Sven, given the new owners’ gold AMEX went shopping on You Tube and has changed the face of the perennial strugglers while keeping an English flavour with Richards and Johnson.

For the time being Thaksin and Sven are milking the applause but for how long? Thaksin may be a smiley cuddly Thai in Manchester at the moment and he may be doing wonders for the local Thai restaurants but he does have a shady past and his future is uncertain. Thousands died in his war on drugs where police shot at anyone suspected in dealing on the street while the big shots sat back and waited till the leader declared drugs were no longer a problem in the country.

Thaksin doesn’t take kindly to competition or dissent . If City do become successful, how odd does that sound, then Svenmania may well take some of the spotlight away from the former cop. How would he react to that? Would he be content to bask in the reflected glory or would he elbow his way into the spotlight. If City get relegated how will he react to chants of ‘we want Thaksin out’? This is the man who as Prime Minister in Thailand insisted his was a CEO type role and while he took the plaudits, the brickbats he passed on to his acolytes. That won’t work in England. Not if City are losing.

So for many City fans, enjoy it while it lasts. The Thais were swept along by the good doctor’s promises before then took to the streets to get rid of him. Will history repeat itself?



Merdeka Cup Latest

Myanmar v Lesotho 1-0
Malaysia v Laos 2-0

Monday, August 20, 2007


Weekend round up

Persija v Persib 1-0 12,000
Sriwijaya v Persiraja 5-0 15,000
Persitara v PSDS 3-0 4,000
Persik v Persikota 2-2 10,000
Persema v Persekabo 0-0 5,000
Persita v PSMS 1-0 6,000
PJ Purwakarta v PSSB 2-2 5,000
Persib v PSIS 0-1 15,000
PSS V Persela 0-0 12,000

It's been a bad start to the second half of the season for Persib Bandung with just one point from nine. Given the atmosphere surrounding the Persija game I think it's fair to assme they were never going to get anything out of that (but is it football when players and officials can be so intimidated?) but going down 1-0 at home to Semarang would have been hard to swallow. PSMS fell at Tangerang in a game that was, umm, how to be polite? It was a nothing affair. PSMS had aerial superiority but failed to make it count while at the back Ernest caused them problems but I guess pundits would decribe it as disappointing. But I ain't no pundit so excuse me while I say it was a load of old bollocks. Bireuen came from behind twice to get a point at Pelita Jaya, their first away draw of the season.

1. PSMS Medan 21 12 4 5 28-12 40
2. Sriwijaya FC 20 11 6 3 33-15 39
3. Persija Jakarta 21 12 3 6 32-23 39
4. Persib Bandung 20 11 4 5 30-16 37

Arema Malang v Persiter 1-0 10,000
Persebaya v Persma Manado 3-2 4,000
Persigi Bali v Persibom 0-1 5,000
Persekabpas v Persmin 0-3
Persijap v PSM Makassar 1-0 17,000
Persis Solo v Perseman 3-1 15,000
Persipura v PKT Bontang 2-0 15,000
Persiwa v Persiba 1-0 8,000

In the highlight fixture Fakruddin scored for Persijap Jepara to clinch a 1-0 victory over leaders PSM. Frank Seator scored a goal! Yeap, all of Solo celebrated as he hit the third in their 3-1 victory over cellar dwellers Perseman Manokwari who at least managed to score a goal. That makes it two goals away from home for the Papuans from 10 games.

1. PSM Makassar 21 11 4 6 24-16 37
2. Persijap Jepara 22 10 6 6 22-19 36
3. Persipura 20 10 4 6 34-18 34
4. Persiwa Wamena 20 10 3 7 26-18 33

Persik Kediri are still the league's top scorers with 35 from 20. Their opponents from last weekend, Persikota, have the worst goal's for with just 11 scored. Makes you wonder how they carved out a 2-2 dunnit? PSMS have the best defence with only 12 shipped in 21 games while Banda Aceh have let in 38 in 21 games.


One Robbie Savage

You gotta love Robbie Savage. Not since Vinnie Jones has so little talent graced the higher echelons of the game for so long and both coincidently played for Wales.

He knows his limitations and managers know his limitations yet the fans of the clubs he plays for love him as much as everyone else hates him. He gives 100% everytime and fans appreciate that. Thierry Henry divided the Arsenal support last season because there were times when it looked like he wasn’t giving his all but that is an accusation you could never level at Savage.

He is a dirty player but that’s his job. Once upon a time every team in England had a Savage. A player whose sole job was to rough up the opposition. To intimidate them and to get niggly. It ain’t pretty but it’s effective. Just like his boss Mark Hughes used to do when he played at Man U when they had Moses, Robson and Whiteside

The surprise is he doesn’t get as many red cards as he should. Maybe it’s because he is such a woos. Touch him and he rolls around like a peroxide hippo enjoying bath time in the mud but when he clatters someone he’s the first to get upset when a player stays down. Fair enough, he’s just putting pressure on the match officials but it’s guaranteed to get the opposition players and fans riled up and that after all is his job. The fancy stuff he can leave to Bentley and McCarthy.

Maybe no other player riles fans like Savage. There is Lampard at Chelsea but given the choice between the overrated Chelsea midfield player and the pantomime villain most would happily boo the Welshman. Which of course is what he seeks. The more people he upsets the less they are doing their job, the more successful he is.

It’s a shame there aren’t more like him.



United looking doomed

Manchester United’s defeat at the City of Manchester Stadium more or less ended their defence of the title they won back from Chelsea last season. Despite the investment during the summer Fergie has already lost Rooney and Ronaldo for some crucial games and the feeling is things will get worse before they get better.

We are nearly in September and already United are 7 points off the pace, ironically their city rivals City lead, but given their impotence on front of goal you can’t help wonder where the next one might come from.

The Glazer’s backed Fergie with an open cheque book during the summer and they are entitled to see some return. Loyalty means nothing in boardrooms across the pond where the bottom line is the be all and end all. Fergie has his work cut out reenergizing his squad over the next few weeks and sticking O’Shea up front isn’t the answer. He may rue the fact he didn’t sign an out and out forward when the fixtures pile up and injuries and suspensions kick in.

Championships are not won in August for sure. But they can be lost!


Sunday, August 19, 2007


Yesterday's scores

Sriwijaya v Persiraja Banda Aceh 5-0
Persitara North Jakarta v PSDS Deli Serdang 3-0
Persik Kediri v Persikota Tangerang City 2-2
Persema Malang v Persikabo Bogor 0-0

Persigi Bali v Persibom 0-1
Persebaya Surabaya v Persma Manado 3-2
Arema Malang v Persiter Ternate 1-0
Persekabpas v Persmin Minhasa 0-3

Today sees some interesting features not least in Group 2 where Persijap Jepara who currently lie second host leaders PSM MakassarPersipura will be hoping to get back in the top 4 with a home victory in Group A.

Closer to home PSMS Medan hope to make it 4 straight wins when they travel to Persita Tangerang. Persib Bandung host inconsistent PSIS Semarang looking for a return to winning ways after falling to Persija last time out.


Change the name lads eh??

This story grabbed my attention on my last trip to Singapore.

Arsenal of course is a famous name in world football. I recall there being one in Egypt way back when and of course there are teams in Argentina and Ukraine. On my first visit to Singapore I recall a team called Pioneer Arsenal though I have no more record of them.

Instead we are left with Bishan Arsenal, a team struggling in the National Football League Division 1. After 18 games they lie bottom with one draw and 17 defeats. That's one point for those mathematically challenged souls out there. Plenty of goals for the Bishan faithful but they have only celebrated 14! 75 have gone in the other end, an average of 4 a game!!! Last time out they lost 5-0 to Champions Admiralty which in the circumstances wasn't such a bad score. Not when you consider their abject performance against Tessensohn Khalsa.

Their second last game of the season you could almost forgive the team for not bothering anymore. They didn't. Seven players were at the Jurong Stadium in time for the kick off and as this was the minimum needed for a game the ref kicked off. On the bench the Arsenal were in trouble having no substitutes. Or indeed coaching staff! Another player arrived half way through the first half but it was to no avail. Arsenal's faith in the offside trap proved futile and they lost 13-0 to the delerious opponents. 33% of their season's goals came in this one game!

Change your name eh Arsenal?


Saturday, August 18, 2007


SLeague Update

1st met 3rd last night at Jalan Besar as Home United took on Tampines Rovers and it ended 1-1 in front of 2500 fans.

The foreign teams have been showing signs of improvement recently. Lioaning, who I saw beat Gombak recently, won 1-0 at Sengkang and Korean Super Reds drew 1-1 with Japanese backed club Albirex Niigata 1-1, a fixture which drew more fans to Jurong East Stadium than the Home United clash with Tampines!

Table here


Persik Kediri v Persikota Tangerang City 2-2

Persikota have had a grim time of it on the road this season. Up till now their 9 games have produced 3 goals and 3 draws. No chance against the top scorers and reigning champions you'd imagine.

So why after 35 minutes are Persikota 2-1 up?

I would imagine Persik hate the sight of Tangerang what with Persita Tangerang breaking their impressive home unbeaten run earlier in the season

Football eh???


Blackburn Rovers v Arsenal



Persebaya Surabaya v Persema Manado 3-2

Sriwijaya also won 5-0, tonking Persiraja Banda Aceh

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Persija Jakarta v Persib Bandung 1-0

The game kicked off 30 minutes late to clear the pitch and allow the Persija fans to exhasut their supply of plastic bottles but within 6 minutes the Persib keeper was flat on the ground, felled by an overlooked projectile. Play was held up for a few minutes but luckily no one played silly buggers because it won't take much to push the hotheads over the edge.

15 minutes in and a free kick from the right by Ismed Sofyan was smartly turned in at the near post by Agus Indra

1-0 Persija at half time. It's going to be a very brave referee who's going to give Persib much in this game. Patricio stamped Ismed in the stomach as they jostled down by the corner flag and while the Persija captain's reaction was over the top it was a daft move by the Persib player, right in front of Persija fans who were sat pitch side.

Second half and Hamka Hamzah went closest with a header from a corner hitting the crossbar.

To be fair to the players they seemed aware of their responsibility to keep it pretty clean and while there were loads of yellows by local standards it was fair play!


A local rivalry

The nation may be gearing up for Independance Day tomorrow but before everyone can get their merah putih out and celebrate Indonesia's 62nd anniversary as a country there is the small matter of Persija taking on Persib this afternoon at Lebuk Belus and any feelings of Unity through Diversity will be put on hold as these rivals go for it. For added spice both clubs are in the Top 4 of Group 1 of the Liga Indonesia and both fancy their chances of winning the Liga come December.

Earlier this season Persib came out on top beating the team from Jakarta 3-0 at their own Siliwangi Stadium but Persija will be feeling confidant after a couple of straight wins.

As many eyes will be focusing on the crowd as the game. Last season the Jakmania wouldn't let Persib fans near the stadium and the few that did were unceremoniously removed in what can only be described as bullying. As I've mentioned before here no Persija fans travelled with colours to the game earlier in the season. It remains to be seen whether any Vikings from Bandung make the journey today. To give some idea of the hatred between these two rivals witness the scene in Purwakarta the other week when the Jakmania coaches arrived for the game with Pelita Jaya. Fans who had been quiet on the journey down were suddenly pumped and calling out for any Vikings to show their faces.

Bandung's hatred of Jakarta has many sources. Bandung is a big city in it's own right and the people there take offence at the perceived arrogance of folks from the capital city. Things are made worse because everyweekend and holiday Jakarta folks take their gas guzzling cars away from their own clogged streets and clog the streets of Bandung. The Jakarta folk fill the roads, malls and restaurants and are seen as pushy and condescending by their hosts who may dislike their presence but they certainly love the money they leave behind.

There's also regionalism. Persib Bandung are seen to represent the hopes and aspirations of the old Sunda kingdom that once held sway in the region. Their support stretches across huge swathes of what today is rather boringly known as West Java but was once Sunda with it's own language. Like Leeds and Yorkshire, Barcelona and Catalan, Persib is a living embodiment of a state that may never exist again but plays a role in people's vision of themselves. Jakarta is a cosmopolitan mongrel city full of people from all across the country and the support of Persija reflects that. Second and third generation migrants fill the terraces while their parents pine for Medan, Surabaya or Makassar, cities they left long ago and have little hope of returning to. Persija and their support see themselves as modern and open, they see Persib as provincial and old fashioned.

Modern Indonesia discourages any show of regionalism and one way of doing that has been to consign names like Sunda to the history books but governments cannot legislate for people's desire to belong. Down at street level there still exists a Sunda and the repressed energy is released at Persib games. Persij just heightens the feeling of us, Sunda, and them, Indonesia. and for a few hours regional rivalry gives some people something they can identify with.


Frank Seator

When it comes to nomads this guy is in a class of his own.

He started last season at Persija Jakarta but after struggling to find the net he was shipped on to Sriwijaya mid season where the trend continued.

At the start of this season PSMS Medan signed him up but again he was released mid season. Since he left the normally goal shy Sumatran giants have whacked in 9 goals in 2 games.

Frank is now back on Java playing for Persis Solo.

I'm sure Frank is a lovely guy but what about Indonesian players? He's in his 30's and on his 4th club in 18 months. In that time he has done little to impress. Why do coaches continue to play him at the expense of young Indonesian talent?

There are too many journeymen foreigners who do the rounds here and get very well paid thank you very much but produce little on the pitch

Of course maybe there is no one coming through but I do find that hard to believe...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


PSIM Yogyakarta v Persipura Jayapura

Half time 1-0 to Persipura


Sack Wenger!!

Arsene Wenger must be the luckiest manager in the English game today. In two years Arsenal, one of the original big 4, have won nothing. Indeed they have finished bottom in the mini league being played out at the top of the Premiership in both seasons. They have lost two cup finals after leading on both occasions. Both defeats coming at the death. Both defeats seeing Arsenal players red carded. He has allowed a mature team with a winning mentality to break up and responded by signing teenage unknowns. Time and time again he has seen his team out muscled and outfought in grim north western towns and return home with no points. Time and time again his teams have failed to convert their chances and been punished as the opposition gets one chance in the last minute and earns themselves a point or three. With all these set backs in most lines of business you would imagine Arsene would be shown the door.

But we’re The Arsenal and we’re not like most other businesses. The Champions League Final was a surprise swansong for an aging team that had reached the end of its shelf life. The Carling Cup Final was reached after beating Liverpool and Everton among others and only after the youngsters had pushed Chelsea all the way did we lose. Pires, Bergkamp, Vieria and now Henry have gone and it was never going to be easy to replace such quality. The fact that players like Fabregas and van Persie have come in and looked comfortable is down to Wengers’ shrewd eye for talent and man management ability. Calming young nerves is as important as channeling their ability for the good of the team and you can be sure the likes of Diaby, Denilson and Merida are learning the same habits that made earlier Wenger vintages so successful.

I won’t even go down the road of comparing us with big 4 wannabes. Sack Wenger? Do me a favour!


Tradition or Innovation

A big debate has been appearing on various Arsenal message boards ever since the club announced the new second kit would be a white shirt with redcurrant trimmings. The traditional fans hate it. For them, and me, our away shirt should be yellow and yellow alone. Over the years we have had various forms of blue as well as a one season wonder that saw green shirts with blue sleeves. But the traditional fans’ view is that white shirts are associated with that lot from the other end of the Seven Sisters and we should have nothing in common with them. We don’t of course. We win trophies, they don’t. We qualify for the Champions League, they don’t. We sign Dennis Bergkamp, they sign Chris Armstrong. No, we have nothing in common with them. The white shirt? Well, if you know you’re history then back in the 1960’s, before TV, we often wore an all white kit when we played at places like Old Trafford or Anfield. So you could argue the white shirt is as much a part of our tradition as the yellow, it’s just there are not so many people round who remember it.

The club are selling the shirt as a continuation of Herbert Chapman’s role of successful manager and innovator Younger fans may not know who he was or what he did so check this link: . it would be interesting to know what people thought when Arsenal first started wearing white sleeves on their previous all red shirts? Were ‘traditional’ fans outraged at this change? The point is of course is that any tradition starts off as an innovation. Back in the early days of football there was no blanket coverage across the media and introducing hoped socks would have probably slipped through without so much as a by your leave. People have accepted the blue second kit at Arsenal, at least I imagine they have or they wouldn’t keep regurgitating them in different designs. I don’t doubt the white, with its 40 year vintage, similarly will find acceptance among the buying public and that ‘traditional’ fans will be left to grumble on about the loss of tradition at their club.


More predictions

Days away from a new English season I’ve donned my Mystic Meg outfit and gazed into the crystal ball and can confidently state the following:

The Premiership will be won by one of the big 4.

The domestic cups will be won by one of the big 4 or either Everton and Spurs
11 players will fail to score in a game and their manager will blame the referee for a single mistake which ‘costs’ them the 3 points
A manager will complain about fixture congestion and his players are tired
A manager will complain his players aren’t playing regularly enough and are rusty
Paul Scholes will be booked or sent off for a late tackle
Richard Keys will say absolutely on any given show
Rafa Benitiz will blame the Liverpool board for not giving him enough money to spend as his team struggle to find consistency
Arsenal will field a youth team in the League Cup
Steve McLaren will be booed at Wembley when England fail to beat some international minnow 14-0. he will respond with there are no easy games at this level and look for positives
Fans and media will have their annual whinge about Wembley ticket prices but nothing will change
Arsenal fail to score in a game and the media tell us they miss Henry
Arsenal score in a game and the media fail to tell us they miss Henry
An English player will be sold for a ludicrous sum. Sorry, that’s already happened! Darren Bent and 16 million??!!
Tottenham win a couple of games and their fans get very excited and see glory
Big Sam will continue to be the pundits favourite manager
Most fans will continue to think Big Sam is nothing but a giant walrus and pray he doesn’t come to their club
Arsene Wenger will reach for the tissues after Arsenal lose 1-0 up north to a team of bruisers. But they play football the wrong way says the urbane Frenchman through sobs
Manchester City will win nothing but provide great entertainment under the leadership of Thaksin Sinatra and Sven
Another one time hooligan comes out with another never run, never done book
A promoted team will start brightly and be compared with Wigan and Reading
Lampard will continue to under whelm at international level
Roy Keane will be asked if he wants the Manchester United job
Most fans will struggle to name half of Derby’s first team


Firms and heroes

You know when, as a 40 something, you’re getting old. When you look back fondly on days when you traveled the length and breadth of the country in all weathers to stand on windswept terraces, to munch on dry paper thin hamburgers and to drink panda pops. When you spent a 100 quid on a Sergio Tachini tracksuit only to find your mates nicked theirs off nearby clothes lines. To rush home to see Match of the Day in the hope of seeing your mug on the TV. It’s the sepia memories that make the 30’s seem so romantic for another generation.

One thing we lived with week by week was hooliganism. In the late 70’s literally hundreds of thugs would take great delight in attempting to take the home fan’s end and papers were full of the mayhem round the country on any given Saturday. It was such a frequent event I’ve forgotten more incidents than I now remember. I remember Nationwide reporting on Manchester United season in the old Second Division as Norwich, Orient, Cardiff et all were invaded by the fearsome Red Army. I remember feeling nervous approaching the North Bank when we played Spurs as they would often try to take the North Bank. Usually gathering on the north west corner and charging at about 5 to 3. I always wondered why the police took so long to cotton to this.

I recall seeing a documentary on Panorama, I never watched the news magazine normally so why that night, about Harry the Dog and Millwall. Another time I came back from an away game, Luton I think, in time to watch a documentary about the West Ham Inter City Firm. There was some kind of mystical awe about people involved in this stuff. My mate’s brother was a little runt but my opinion changed when I saw him at Aldershot giving it to some Northampton fans on the pitch. A mate who went with me to some Arsenal games had a brother respected at Portsmouth and I used to drink in the tales passed on to me. I got to be on nodding terms with some of Arsenal’s baddest and meanest which is not as daft as it sounds. Our away support dropped for a while and you soon recognized the faces at Leeds, Everton and Manchester United midweek. They also happened to be the keenest supporters in our darkest days.

20 years later and you might think some of these nutters would move on to bigger and better things. Think again. Have a wander round a bookstore in England and you find these guys have translated their deeds into words and the hooligan book has sparked a revival of the hooligan culture (which never really went away of course). Books have become movies and kids round the country have a new breed of hero to look up to. While the lads on the pitch have morphed into Hello lifestyles far removed from your average fan, lads on the terraces have become the new working class hero who young lads can identify with. With websites and book signings the one time terrace yobs are a lot more approachable than the modern player and the kids on the street have responded.

In a way it’s oh so English. We respect the real deal and are suspicious of anything that smacks of being fake or insincere or wealthy. Coronation Street is a tale about working class folk and has been the most popular programme on TV for decades alongside Eastenders, another soap based around homely working class folk. From Steptoe and Son to Only Fools and Horses to pictures by Hogarth to music by the Clash and Sex Pistols we in Britain celebrate ‘the street’. Despite the cult of celebrity being promoted by tabloids and other media we are suspicious of glamour. America has Paris Hilton, an heiress with apple pie looks and bathed in fake sincerity, we have Del Boy and his beat up Robin Reliant. As the Beckham’s and the Rooney’s of this world try to gate themselves off from the plebs, the likes of Cass Pennant and Jason Marriner embrace it and become the posters of a new generation.


Life of Brian

I’ve never really been a great one for buying football magazines but I’ve always made an exception for World Soccer. It always appeared to me to be a far more high brow affair than Shoot and Match which were the best selling mags back then. On my last trip back to England I picked up a latest edition and was pleased to see some familiar names there, not least of which was Brian Glanville. England can be so comforting at times, despite the internet, and the growth in call centres there is much that remains the same. Charlie Harper is still fronting the UK Subs, Ken Barlow is still in Coronation Street and Brian Glanville is still taking pot shots at the powers that be in UEFA and FIFA.

I wonder though whether the great Mr Glanville is not getting a tad bored writing off the Geneva based bods. I’m pretty sure Charlie must be getting fed up singing Stranglehold 30 years on, couldn’t Brian try a new song?

I’ve steered clear of football politics since taking up writing for a number of reasons. First and foremost it’s boring and depressing. Secondly, see number one. If I ever sat down and looked into the politics of football in Indonesia I would probably end up topping myself.

You want farce, a play about the FA would run for years on Broadway and rival Cats at the box office and the beauty of it would be that no one would believe it! I mean come on, imagine a national team coach having meetings with the Chairman of the FA in a prison cell where the latter is being held on corruption charges. Then having the same guy stand for re election and say that whatever went wrong in the previous 5 years wasn’t his fault, he was just continuing his predecessor’s policies. And then having him reelected. Unopposed!

Imagine having local government stop funding the game. At a conference to discuss ways of generating extra revenue only one club out of 36 was represented and his idea was to get more money from the government because fans here don’t like paying to watch football. You couldn’t make it up.

Come over Brian, you’d love it. And the best thing is no one would believe a word of it!



A tale of two cities

A tale of two cities

You don’t have to spend very long in Asia before you realize just how popular English football is over here. Pinpointing when that attraction began is harder. I recall being in provincial Hat Yai and buying a magazine that had a special feature on Champions Arsenal and this was in 1991, pre premiership.

1994 saw Thais up all night watching the World Cup as they got behind Roberto Baggio. Not only was he blessed with film star looks (so I’ve been told anyway) but he was Buddhist. Put the two together and you have a Bangkok marketing man’s dream. Also about this time a football shop opened in Bangkok’s Panthip Plaza selling various shirts and sundry items. This must have been a gamble because Thailand is of course famous for its counterfeit trade but soon branches were opening in malls throughout Bangkok. Fans were able to buy real Liverpool and Manchester United merchandise as well as rent broadcasts of English games on video.

This was also the time that saw Manchester United dominate. Increased affluence saw people getting cable TV and access to Cantona and Beckham every weekend. Glamour sells and with Old Trafford a raucous racket every week and trophies aplenty people were soon hooked. Some flirted with Blackburn and Aston Villa but their success was fleeting and the support transient. Liverpool’s appeal throughout their trophy drought endured though as a new generation were brought up on tales of The Kop and Keegan.

Teams started touring to cash in on the interest and pretty much most of the big Italian and English big names have trawled through the region promoting their brand and they have been rewarded by Beatlemania type scenes at airports throughout the region. Beckham, Owen, Shearer, Zola, Henry, Bergkamp and Gullit became better known than local athletes and celebrities and everyone adopted an English club. English football was cool.

Given this interest it was only a matter of time before east looked west. Beer Chang, a Thai beer, started sponsoring Everton’s shirts. Mansion from Indonesia got involved with Spurs on a similar level though this has done little to increase the club’s appeal here. Now the investor wants more than his brand on a million shirts worldwide. He wants the club. From the trophy room down to the boot room Asians are looking to reverse the flow of funds and grab some of the cake for themselves.

Thaksin Shinawatra has been trying to buy into the English league since he was Prime Minister of Thailand. Both Liverpool and Fulham have fallen under the eye of the communications baron turned politician before he finally managed to buy into Manchester City. Possibly the wrong club at the wrong time? As a Prime Minister Thaksin was popular with rural Thais who benefited most from his policies. The urban folk were less enamoured with him and street protests led to his overthrow in a military coup. Tanks on the streets of Bangkok may have kept Thaksin away from Thailand but they haven’t dampened his desire for football but the Thaksin of today is not the Thaksin when he started looking to invest. What may have started as a ploy to attract football mad middle class Thais now looks like a desperate gamble by a man seeing much of his money being seized by the government under suspicions of corruption. Manchester City fans are famous for their sense of humour and boy do they need one. Over the years they’ve had a month of false dawns including City legend Francis Lee buying the club at one stage. City are a soap opera based round a football club whose ever optimistic fans studiously ignore the red half in the hope they will actually go away. Indeed there is a section of City’s support who claim United aren’t even a Manchester club and should change their name. But while for many in England City are the back legs of a pantomime horse who have now managed to recruit Widow Twanky as manager, in Asia they are as familiar as Halifax Town. Or Provincial Electricity Authority.

Sven has profile. He also has the baggage carried over from being England boss in a country where England shirts are more popular than Thailand ones. Thais may be aware of City through an incident a few years back when midfielder Joey Barton slapped a teenager in a hotel in Bangkok. Add Sven, a divisive figure like Thaksin and a trophy cabinet that is rarely dusted and you can forgive a wave of apathy sweeping the country. Had bought Liverpool while still PM the country would have been swept up in a sea of hysteria and nationalism that would have dwarfed any cronyism allegations.

Carson Yeung investing in Birmingham City is another story altogether. Yeung is a businessman who has steered clear of politics and concentrated on what he knows best. He’s not controversial and he’s successful. But Birmingham City? They make Manchester City look like serial champions. Birmingham don’t even have a trophy room, they’ve never needed one. But getting behind the second city’s (Birmingham) second club (after Aston Villa) could be a smart move if handled properly. There is room for growth at the club both in terms of support and on the pitch.

One area for expansion is the brand. Both Manchester and Birmingham are little known outside of England. One idea I've seen mentioned is Birmingham themed cafes. I dunno about this. Having the Crossroads theme all nite while waiting for a cover band to cover UB40's covers and being served by Benny doesn't do it for me. Pictures of the A34(M) and Bull Ring anybody?While the Uniteds and Liverpools of this world have supporters worldwide the two City’s are limited by geography and without a successful team on the pitch it is difficult to see where the new breed of fan who will snap up the merchandise is going to come from.



From a game to a brand

I’m Arsenal. I’ve been Arsenal since forever. In fact I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t arsenal. There is no single definable moment when I staggered from the dark to the lights of Highbury. It seems to have always been in my subconscious. Maybe it’s geography; I spent some formative years a short bus ride away. Maybe parental influence; my old man is London. Or maybe it was given to me by a higher being. If you talk to sad old buggers my age most will say the same. Im Arsenal because … I am.

Without morning till night sports coverage we were left in the dark about pretty much everything but then we knew no other way. There’d be some coverage in the papers at the weekend and a couple of highlights programmes and maybe we’d buy one of the football weekly magazines but that was it. Football was a game and we were umbillically tied to our club in a way we never questioned or sought to understand. You no more wanted to change your club than you wanted to visit the dentist. We’d go to the game, buy a programme, maybe a scarf and that was it. We were Arsenal through and through but we had little to show we were. Apart from our soul.

Without blanket coverage most people my age fell into football the same way. It was hereditary or it was a shared experience with mates. The club was the focus; once in a while we’d get a hero like Charlie George but he was a hero because we wanted him to be. He wasn’t the creation of an agent or a packaging company. He was a hero because he was us and he was living our dream. And he liked to tell refs to fuck off.

Today in our neatly packaged world it’s different isn’t it? Kids grow up on a diet of Sky Sports News where David Beckham sneezes and the world knows. People have become familiar with players and through this familiarity they have chosen to follow their club. It’s almost like people follow a brand first and foremost, then the loyalty and addictive kicks in. Kids here in Asia grew up with Michael Owen and are still mad Liverpool fans. The Gallowgate hasn’t replaced The Kop overnight in the dreams of millions. They slowly absorb the culture of football that says the club is bigger than the player. They still look for a hero because this is the age of the cult but they start to understand what those of us who came to a football club other ways have known all along. A team is for life.

I’ve always felt that the same clubs dividing the spoils season in, season out would ultimately have a negative impact on football, that familiarity would soon breed contempt. This is in fact a frequent thought over the last couple of seasons. When we win it becomes irrelevant! Now I’m not so sure. Look at other sports. Golf seems to be doing well even though Tiger Woods turns up and everyone goes home. Federer’s Wimbledon monopoly hasn’t stopped people queuing to get wet every summer and how many people got interested in Formula 1 because of Michael Schumacher? Maybe the familiarity doesn’t breed contempt. What it breeds is comfort with a brand, or a person or a team, like it does in the market place. From following the German maybe people start to realize that while he wins every race the sport has value on its own. Schumacher moves on but the interest remains, maybe in the car manufacturer, maybe the sponsors. Likewise football. Cantona moved on from Old Trafford and the stadium didn’t disappear in a flood of tears. Someone else took his place and the club went on being successful and generating more fans. Fans maybe attracted initially by success or a player become fans for life. Which is all well and good but it does make getting tickets difficult for people like me as the recent generations have usurped my place on the terraces. Or the stands...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


PSDS Deli Serdang v Persita Tangerang 2-0

A second PSDS game live on the box! Did you know they actually play in Lubuk Pakam which is in North Sumatra.


Poor Benny Dollo. Victory today would have put them on 35 points, just one point behind 4th placed Persija but twas not to be.


Persib Bandung

I've said elsewhere that Persib Bandung probably have the largest cyber presence of any Indonesian club. They also have a variety of magazines and tabloids that serve the fanatical support.

I guess then it is only right that they have very possibly the first English language blog for an Indonesian club side. Persib hasn't been updated since June so I hope the fella hasn't given up!


A step in the right direction?

Bogor City Council are seeking assistance for the private sector to take care of Pajajaran Stadium as they find operating costs far exceed budgets.

I understand Pelita Jaya, now based in Purwakarta, have looked at Pajajaran as they seek a more permanent base but have been put off by the costs needed to effect repairs. In the meantime PSB Bogor carrying on using the stadium for their First Division games while any incoming US Presidents have also been known to drop in though I understand Dubya was not in town for the football. He was attending some gobfest in Bogor and his helicopter landed at the stadium.

Whether someone comes in to help run the stadium remains to be seen but it would surely be a step in the right direction. Private investors with long pockets and short arms would be loathe to pick up the tab everytime some wannabe hooligan decides on a rock throwing party and perhaps they would try and make the football going experience an attractive option for an afternoon's entertainment

Monday, August 13, 2007


Merdeka Games Schedule

GROUP A1. Myanmar, 2. Lesotho, 3. Malaysia, 4. Laos
GROUP B1. Singapore, 2. Zimbabwe, 3. Bangladesh, 4. Indonesia

20th August
MBPJ Stadium 18.30:1.Myanmar vs Lesotho, 2. Malaysia vs Laos
21st August
Shah Alam Stadium 18.30:1. Singapore vs Zimbabwe, 2. Bangladesh vs Indonesia
22nd August
MBPJ Stadium 18.30:1. Lesotho vs Laos, 2. Malaysia vs Myanmar
23rd August
Shah Alam Stadium 18.30:Singapore vs Bangladesh, 2. Indonesia vs Zimbabwe
25th August
MBPJ Stadium, 18.30: Singapore vs Indonesia;
Shah Alam Stadium, 18.30: Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe;
MBPJ Stadium. 21.00: Malaysia vs Lesotho;
Shah Alam Stadium, 21.00: Myanmar vs Laos
27th August
Shah Alam Stadium,
18.30: Winner Group A vs Runner Up Group B;
21.00: Winner Group B vs Runner Up Group A
29th August
FINAL, Shah Alam Stadium 20.45



Weekend Roundup

Group 1

Persikabo Bogor District v Persikota Tangerang City 3-0 7,000
Persiraja Banda Aceh v Persita Tangerang 1-2 Behind closed doors!
PSDS Deli Serdang v PJ Purwakarta 3-0 3,000
Semen Padang v Persib Bandung 1-1 8,000
Persija Jakarta v PSS Sleman 2-1 11,000

Zaenal Arief celebrated the overturning of his 6 month ban with a late equaliser for title challengers Persib in their trip to West Sumatra. Roger Batoum has moved to Bogor and managed to score against his former club Persikota as well as get booked. Banda Aceh don't need fans to put on a show. Their game with Persita produced 6 yellow and one red card from the Medan ref.

1. Persib 18 11 4 3 30-14 37
2. PSMS 19 11 4 4 26-10 37
3. Sriwijaya19 10 6 3 28-15 36
4. Persija 20 11 3 6 31-23 36

Group 2

Persibom v Persijap Jepara 3-0 13,000
Persma Manado v Persis Solo 2-0 10,000
Persmin Minhasa v Persiter Ternate 2-0 3,000
PSIM Yogyakarta v Persiwa Wamena 0-1 7,000
Sidoarjo v Persipura Jayapura 2-0 15,000

Persipura don't travel well so their defeat at Sidoarjo came as no surprise. Nor did the fact that 2 foreigners scored. From 26 goals this season for the East Java club, only 2 have been scored by Indonesians! Pronetto scored his 10th in ths home victory. PSMI lost in the final minute to Wamena, their first home defeat of the season, which upset their support somewhat! Rafa's long lost distant cousin 34 times removed Arnaldo Benitez scored a hat trick for Persibom, the only team in the league whose full name I can't be arsed to write out each time! There's a very unfamilar look about the top of the Group 2 table but come November time I reckon we'll have Sidoarjo, Persipura and Arema back up there or thereabouts.

1. PSM Makassar 19 11 3 5 23-14 36
2. Persiba Balikpapin 19 9 5 5 25-16 32
3. Persiwa Wamena 18 9 3 6 25-17 30
4. Persijap Jepara 20 8 6 6 20-19


Troubled terraces

10 days into the second half of the season and the warm glow of the Asian Cup has faded to be replaced by a barrage of bottles and rocks as Indonesian football reverts to type. I won't list them all but there have been incidents of crowd misbehaviour at:

PJ Purwakarta v Persija
PSMS v Persik
Persita v Persija
Persijap v PSIM Yogyakarta
PSIM v Persiwa Wamena


Much of the trouble involves the throwing of missiles, be it rocks, wood or bottles. OK, people know what is likely to be thrown. Tidy the place up! Many grounds are tips in streets surrounded by tips. Garbage is everywhere. Of course garbage isn't just the ecxclusive problem of football, rather a society that accepts having trash everywhere or at least passively accepts it.

Who ultimately is responsible for crowd misbehaviour in and around a stadium? Each game has hundreds of security personnel but they seem impotent to act beyond doing some hooking and a whacking of their own. As far as I'm aware no one gets charged with anything - it's just too much paper work. It's left to Supporters' Club officials to act as peacemakers and soothe frayed tempers but these guys are fans. They have no legal capacity and at the most they can suspend an offender's membership. But the lack of an ID card is never a problem here.

There is communication between most of the fan clubs and most of the fan clubs speak with one voice. They abhor the violence that is attached to the game. Some clubs have developed good relationships while other, because of history or lacation, are never going to get along. But at least in Scotland it is possible to go and see Celtic play Rangers and avoid trouble. Go to Tangerang with a Persija shirt and trouble will find you. Each year there is a fans jamboree which brings together the fan clubs. This years' was held, in a master stroke of planning, slap bang in the middle of the Asian Cup. The trouble with trouble is it is often caused by people who aren't members of any official groups.

What needs to happen is a concerted effort from the FA, the police and the clubs to take serious action before one day someone gets killed in a big city. There have been a few deaths in Papua but that is very far away from Jakarta or Bandung so have little impact on the national psyche. Sunday's game between Persija and PSS showed what can happen when club officials get together and organise things. Little, though, can be done when 5,000 fans turn up unexpected and won't go away quietly because they don't have tickets and clubs need to get more involved to stop this type of nonsense.

There is no firm and fast cure to the ailments on the terraces for football mirrors the society where it is played. In Singapore fans travel on organised buses, sit in organised parts of the ground and sing organised songs in organised stadiums that are neat and tidy and lack any form of security. In Indonesia the stadiums are messy, unorganised and are packed to the rafters with security bods enjoying one of their few perks. Free football with the promise of skullbashing always there.

On Thursday Persib Bandung travel to Lebuk Bulus to take on bitter foes Persija Jakarta. Bandung hate Jakarta with a passion and any Viking who makes the journey later this week wearing club colours will wish they had some decent health insurance. The Jakmania didn't travel to Siliwangi earlier in the season, just a few hardy souls who left their colours behind and their Jakartan registered cars in safe car parks far from the stadium. Last year any fans who made the journey were prevented from entering the stadium. Is this how Indonesia wants their football to be?



Sultan of Selangor Cup

Some 45,000 turned up at the Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday to see the Singapore team beat Selangor 3-1. Report and pictures here

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Persija v PSS Sleman

Pictures can be found here.

Persija squeezed through against a dogged PSS thanks to the predatory instincts of Bambang whose first minute goal set the Jak on their way to 3 points. Make no mistake though, PSS came for 3 points and a bit more accuracy in front of goal and the 700 travelling Sleman fans would have been very happy bunnies indeed. As it was Bambang's predatory strike and a penalty needlessly given away also in the first half were enough for Persija to record their second win on the bounce.

It was also refreshing to see both sides get on with the game and not indulge in inane didving and rolling to influence the match officials. The stretchers came on far too often but there was no malice in this game and it made it the more enjoyable. Fair play also the the Sleman fans who outsung the Jakmania for lengthy periods of this game and showed how it is possible for two sets of fans to enjoy a game without pelting each other with bottles. I know a lot of work goes on behind the scenes between officials of the supporter's clubs to ensure things go smoothly and yesterday the Sleman fans had some Persija fans acting as a buffer in case some idiots wanted to have a pop.
Things may be different on Thursday when Persib Bandung come to town!


Saturday, August 11, 2007


PSDS Deli Serdang v Pelita Jaya Purwakarta

The hosts who rejoice in the nickname of 'Yellow Tractors' beat Fandi's team 1-0 in North Sumatra today.

My cable company aren't showing the English football at the moment but who needs Sunderland playing Spurs when ypu can have Persijap Jepara v PSIM Yogyakarta?


Arsenal Supporters Club, Jakarta

Friday, August 10, 2007


Arsenal this season

Call me biased but I fancy us for something this season, if we can sort the defence out once and for all.

Up front is as good as anything anywhere. Henry was a sulk last season and this effected the other younger players. He should never have been captain and Arsene should have told him to cheer up. He's gone and that will benefit the team who always sought him even when better options were available. Robin van Persie...well, what to say. He has Bergkamp's guile and vision and Henry's eye for goal. I hope he doesn't get injured because he will have an important role to play this campaign.

Eduardo looks mobile and of course fast. Shades of the Bergkamp/Henry partnership perhaps with the Dutchman playing just behind the new signing? With an improving Adebayor to provide a Plan B we look a lot more varied going forward than we have done for a couple of years and don't forget there is Walcott and Bendtner who will be waiting for their chance. In our prime we had Henry good for 30 goals then Pires/Freddie/Bergie chipping in with double figures. This time round I see RVP and Eduardo pushing 20 each while Adebayor should get another 10 or so. More from midfield would be good!

Pre season has seen Eboue bombing forward and if he can get down the flanks more than we have another outlet. I've always wondered why we didn't go wide more often last season, especially when you'd see Hleb get clogged up in midfield. As the season progresses we could see Diaby come more to the fore, perhaps at the expense of Gilberto but whether the young Frenchman is the man to get on the scoresheet regularly remains to be seen. I think Arsene will be looking for more from Rosicky in that department as well as Fabregas. 10 goals from the Spaniard would make him the complete midfielder. Now is time for Hleb to start delivering. For many Arsenal fans he chooses the wrong option far too often and his reluctance to shoot is just so frustrating. He needs to look for the simple ball more and worry less about the slide rule pass that would get past 3 pairs of legs only if the globe tilts on it's axis by -3 degrees and if one of the defenders bends down to do up his shoe laces. Denilson will also come more to the fore and will be a useful cover but one day he will need regular football and whose place would he take?

The back troubles. Sagna looks positive and him and Eboue scampering down the right flank would have most left backs shitting breeze blocks if Arsenal choose to exploit the width more. Toure had a poor season by his standards last time out and he needs to be more assertive and dominant, especially at dead ball situations where we have proven poor recently. Clichy started to impress last season but I would like to see him improve his tackling. For reasons best known to Arsene Wenger William Gallas has been made captain. Certainly among the Arsenal support I talk to he has been over critical at times about the young players. He has been quick to say the older players must do more but instead of talking he should have been leading by example. Now he has the chance he needs to show he is as good at playing the game as he is talking the game. Senderos still worries at the back and I feel this is his last chance to make it. But what he needs is the assurance he will be playing every game and not worry that each mistake will be punished by a place on the bench. It took Tony Adams a couple of years to be comfortable at the back, let's hope the Swiss can make the grade.

I can't see Lehmann playing every game. The new Polish keeper has been making the right noises and Almunia impressed last year when he came in. The German is a lot of fun and fans love his attitude but I think his value this season may be more off the pitch than on it. We need experience and passion and Jens has bucket loads of both.

We may not have grabbed the headlines with summer signings but it is worth remembering players like van Persie, Adebayor, Walcott, Diaby and Gallas have come in recently and all have been struck by injury. We have yet to see them over a whole season and when we add Bendtner, Eduardo and Sagna then I'm going to have to diagree with the misery pundits. The future could be very bright and the future begins on Sunday...


Coming fixtures

Persiraja Banda Aceh v Persita Tangerang
PSDS Deli Serdang v Pelita Jaya Purwakarta
Semen Padang v Persib Bandung
Persija Jakarta v PSS Sleman

Persibom v Persijap Jepara
Persma Manado v Persis Solo
Persimin Minhasa v Persiter Ternate
Sidoarjo v Persipura Jayapura
PSIM Yogya v Persiwa Wamena

Decisions decisons. I'll be at Lebuk Bulus to see Persija host PSS then after I'd love to see Sidoarjo host Persipura live but it clashes with the Arsenal game and, well, sorry but it has to be the Arse! Hope you understand?!


Midweek round up

Group 1

PSMS Medan v Persema Malang 3-0 7,500
PSSB Bireuen v Persik Kediri 1-2 6,000
PSIS Semarang v North Jakarta 1-0 10,000
Persela Lamongan v Sriwijaya 2-2 12,000
Persita v Persija Jakarta 0-3 10,000
PJ Purwakarta v Semen Padang 0-0 5,000

1. PSMS 19 11 4 4 26-10 37
2. Persib 17 11 3 3 29-13 36
3. Sriwijaya 19 10 6 3 28-15 36
4. Persik 19 11 1 7 33-27 34

15 - Gonzalez (Persik)

Persija bounced back in the perfect way after the pisspoor performance at Purwakarta by beating near neighbours Persita comfortably. In the first half of the season PSMS rattled in on average a goal a game which was enough to see them in the Top 4. Since the break they have scored 9 in two but as ever with the North Sumatrans much will depend on their travels.

Group 2

PKT Bontang v Persebaya Surabaya 2-1 9,000
Persiba Balikpapin v Persigi Bali 0-0 9,000
Persijap Jepara v PSIM Yogya 2-1 12,000
Persis Solo v Sidoarjo 1-1 20,000
PSM Makassar v Persekabpas 1-0 20,000
Perseman Manokwari v Arema 0-0 13,000

1. PSM 19 11 3 5 23-14 36
2. Persiba 19 9 5 5 25-16 32
3. Persijap 19 8 6 5 20-16 30
4. Persiter 17 8 5 4 18-11 29

Same old for Persebaya as they continue to draw blanks on their travels. 11 games have seen them accumulate 0 points on the road. PSM struggled to beat bottom club Persekabpas with only a 6th minute goal from Sakibou dividing the teams

Top scorer:
13 - Solassa (Persipura)


Forget it Arsenal

Arsenal won't win shit this season. It must be true, everyone Tom, Dick and Emmanuel have been saying it all summer so it must be true. Oh the variety of opinions we have in football today.

Arsenal won't win shit and you know why? 'Cos they sold a couple of aging speed merchants who have lost their pace!

Arsenal won't win shit 'cos they have sold their star names and Eduardo just ain't as sexy as Torres.

Arsenal won't win shit this season 'cos Spurs have spent big money on some big fish in a Sarf Lahnodon pond while we spent small money on a prolific international who no one has heard of.

Arsenal won't win shit this season every every two bob pundit and journo has written them off and the masses have believed them. Here we are in the information age and what's the point when every source sings from the same page? This is supposed to be football, a game of opinions! But where's the analysis? The investigation? Forget all that, too much like hard work. Better regurgitate the same old shit and get paid anyway.


Whose tube?

The English season kicks off tomorrow and as far as Indonesia is concerned there will be a lot less people following the spats and action. Free to air TV have been priced out of showing matches and there is confusion as to which cable providers will be showing the main providers ESPN and Star Sports. My own cable company as of yesterday had no idea whether I could watch the games with them while the word on the street is no, only the new Malaysian company who have exclusive rights.

It's all very messy. If my company is told they can not show the games then I need to make alternative arrangements with the exclusive provider which I guess is the idea. Take away the football and cable TV is a very unattractive proposition here. So unattractive that many middle class Indonesians I know don't even bother. Till now they have acquired their interest in Chelseas and Liverpools from the free showings but what of this coming season? Will they be interested enough to go to the expense of getting cable installed or will they lose interest in the English game and settle for the Italian or German one? When I arrived here there was a fine balance between interest in England and Italy. The balance has tipped the way of the English game but many people still kept an eye on Italy. Now what? Will AC Milan and Juventus dominate the talk or will the English game keep it's high profile despite the lack of exposure?

All this has of course come about because of the latest TV deal back in the UK. Broadcasters round the world have had to up the ante to keep fans upto date on their newly adopted teams and heroes. Will the Premiership worry if Indonesians can't watch their games free? Probably not. Clubs want to sell shirts and if people can't afford to pay for a TV subscription then they are unlikely to be looking at forking out 80 USD for a shirt. But this is Indonesia and that 80USD shirt can be ripped off and sold for a tenner and people can hijack cable providers at a fraction of the price.

As far as cable TV goes Indonesia is I'm pretty sure an undeveloped market. While Singapore and Malaysia have large penetration they also have large numbers of local subscribers. It's not like that here. Most expats have some form of cable but then there are much less foreigners here long term. Are there enough Indonesians who have the finances and desire to go cable just for the football? Are we at the eve of a British style cable boom that came with BSkyB buying up the Permiership rights in 1992, or have we witnessed the boom and interest in the English league will steadily wane?

Football is horribly addictive. Will this new post 2002 generation stick with the game they have taken up and spend the money of cable TV or will they take the cheaper option and follow Italian football? Indonesia is the largest market in South East Asia for many products and football is just one of them. It's a market that has been consistently overlooked as clubs have chased the Thai baht or Japanese yen and have been scared off by the perceptions of the country. By not having English football live in TV then there is a risk that just as a recent generation have grown up with Lampard and Rooney, another generation will miss out on Walcott and Bale.

Many, many questions...

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