Friday, March 04, 2011


Oh What A Circus!

Ok say Pele and Cantona hit the Jalan Besar Stadium yesterday. I rolled up at the registration desk and given a sticker which I was told to display in a prominent place...but not that prominent place. Regretfully I stuck it on my beergut and still can't get the bugger off.

I was then escorted upstairs, in case I didn't know the way. I pointed out politely that I was supposed to meet someone from the Singapore FA media office but this spotty faced youth told me there was no such thing. Cool...I had been living in an alternative universe for several years and my conversations with the good folk there had all been in my mind!

Next I was told that I couldn't visit the media office, once I had explained there really is one and it wasn't just an invention of a deranged mind, but I couldn't visit because of security. I found it difficult to believe any irate journos wanting to attack them nice folk but hey?

So I was escorted upstairs in the lift and left to my own devices. Which of course meant visiting the media office.

Then the duo arrived and golly, wasn't everyone excited. People had perviously been languidly sprawled in their chairs with the serenity of a buddha, suddenly were up and down photocopying their every step. And I mean every step. The walked, people took photos. They made to sit down, every breath was captured by someone on film.

I was in the second row. People in the front row, people sat on the floor were up and down like the knickers of a 4 Floors hooker hoping to catch the slightest grimace or grin from the pair.

But this was all a prelude. It was announced they would be presented with shirts and the photographers were up and at the table taking yet more pictures, this time of grown men holding football shirts. Hundreds and hundreds of pictures from every conceivable angle. Eric Cantona had once described the media as seagulls, jumping on any sardine thrown their way and so it was yesterday. If I was a kid at school I could understand the excitement.

My one on one with the great ones was cancelled as everyone was running out of time so I made to go to the press box upstairs but getting out the lift I was blocked by burly minders saying no media. OK, fine. I went to the ground floor hoping to get through that way but again I, and many others, were shunted outside as the pair would be walking past any minute now.

Thing is, I didn't give a toss. I wanted to get to the press box and prepare for the game ahead but it seems i was in a minority. I ended up walking round to the swimming pool and buying a ticket, despairing of ever reaching the press area.

The game of course was a corker but the rest of the world will never know that. Most of the media had long gone.

Excerpts of the press conference can be found on Jakarta Casual TV, match report on this very site and images from the game on Asian Football Pictures. I did get one picture of Cantona in the press conference but he looked very bored and anyway a jack in the box in front of me jumped up and ruined the focus.

So did you missed the 5 ssamba girls pitch side?
the dancers? saw them...
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