Sunday, March 06, 2016


Hools & Ultras Play Thier Role In Singapore Revival

Last week saw more than 3,500 fans turn out to see Home United draw 1-1 in the SLeague and in the words of Aussie rock band Ratcat track 'That Ain't Bad'. After years of falling attendances it is really good to see fans turning out for games again. The support has always been there, it's just sod all was being done to tap into it.

SAFFC fans at an AFC Champions League play off tie 
Much has been made of Jermaine Pennant's arrival at Tampines Rovers and the FAS deal with the local MRT operator and while they obviously have played their role in raising the profile of the local league the role of the fans themselves should not be overlooked.

When I first started going there was a really stale atmosphere on the terraces with a handful of people trying to kick up an atmosphere without really knowing why they were even out so late on a school night. It was a good few years before I tasted a real atmosphere, at Woodlands v SAFFC one night, but that was soon apparently clamped down by the powers that be.

In fact things got so feisty that night the PA asked visiting SAFFC fans to stay behind after the game so the home support could be dispersed!

The last few years though have seen fans at some clubs taking the initiative and trying to recreate their own atmosphere and not just some club sanctioned BS like this video shows.

Hougang United have been at the forefront at this attempt to make attending a Singapore football match a bit more like attending a football match and not band practise at the local junior high school. Branding themselves the Hougang Hools they have aped some Ultra style and have produced a range of scarves and banners they take to each game

Unfortunately while everyone in Singapore seems to like football they also like a bit of NIMBYism and when some flares were set off at a recent Hougang game out came the suits at Jalan Besar warning such antics would not be tolerated in the SLeague. You can envision the hypocrisy can't you...some desk jockey issuing nonsense regulations before returning home and watching Juventus or Napoli with their fire fulled fanatics.

Along with the Hougang Hools we have the Geylang Ultrasw ho have been doing their bit for the team from the east.

It is perhaps ironic that in a nation that sees following a winning team as a status symbol it is two of the less usccessful clubs that have attracted a measure of passionate support. Tampines? They really are a throwback if the home game with Hougang United was anything to go by. Successful yes but the Stags support was proper old school. And I mean old old man thrashing a drum and a lady of indeterminate years yelling, altogether now, 'defend, defend'.

Hougang may have lost the game 4-1 but they won on the terraces!

Rather than punishing the Hougang fans, the FAS should be encouraging them and their ilk. These are the people who will bring a bit of colour and passion to the game and they will encourage their mates. And the FAS know they need that...why the sudden interest in club sides from the Philippines in the Singapore Cup in recent years? A clue, it ain't because the PAL flights from Manila are full!

I know it is Singapore and I know it is a squeaky clean place. Hougang Hools ain't hools and HGeylang Ultras ain't ultras in the European sense. All they wanna do is get behind their team and that is surely all everyone in football wants to see? Perhaps the other SLeague clubs should be making similar efforts...

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